Court of Appeal to decide on right to anonymity of mentally ill man

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Stephen Knafler QC and Roger Pezzani have, this week, been representing a mental patient in the fight to keep his identity secret.

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The appeal comes after Mr Justice Cranston ordered that the man, who has been convicted of two counts of murder, can be publicly named.

Stephen argued that because the man, referred to as ‘X’, was transferred from prison to Broadmoor under the 1983 Mental Health Act, he should receive the anonymity granted to any mental health patient despite the fact that he has committed two “particularly violent and notorious offences”:

“The primary duty in cases involving mental patients is the care of the mental patient. The broad principle of open justice will yield to the primary duty owed to the patient. It is not an absolute duty, but is sufficiently important to outweigh the open justice principle.”

Stephen added that “The concern is that the mental patient would suffer intrusion from the media, and probably worse from the public.”

The appeal is being heard by Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lord Justice Floyd. The judgment has been reserved for a later date.

This case has been reported in the Times, the Daily Mail and the Hillingdon Times.

Stephen and Roger were instructed by Omiros Nicholas of Guile Nicholas.

Stephen Knafler QC and Roger Pezzani are both members of the Garden Court Chambers Mental Health Team.

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