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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

Gardaí issue warning over anonymity of children before court in wake of Ana Kriegel verdict

Someone found guilty of breaching the law surrounding the anonymity of children in criminal cases can receive up to three years in jail.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Sam Boal/

AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA has issued a statement this afternoon to “remind members of the public” in relation to the anonymity of children in court proceedings and the sharing of images of children who’ve appeared before the Criminal Courts.

It comes in the wake of the verdict in the Ana Kriegel trial, where a jury yesterday found two teenage boys – known as Boy A and Boy B – guilty of her murder in May 2018. Boy A was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

The two boys are now due to be sentenced next month. 

Members of the public were excluded from attending the trial due to restrictions in place on identifying the children involved.

Under the Children’s Act 2001 (amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2006), no report can be published or included in a broadcast which reveals the name, address or school of any child concerned in the proceedings.

News reports also cannot include any particulars likely to lead to the identification of any child concerned. 

No photographs of young defendants can be published, or images that would lead to them being identified – like that of a family member, for example. 

The legislation applies to matters published or included in a broadcast or other form of public communication, including social media posts. 

In the statement today, gardaí said that anyone who is in contravention of the legislation and found guilty of an offence can be liable for to a fine of £1,500 or a prison term of up to 12 months, or both.

If the breach is considered more serious, on conviction on indictment a person could face a fine of up to €10,000 and/or up to three years in prison. 

In adult cases in which a defendant cannot be named (like a sexual assault case), the anonymity can be lifted if an application is made to and granted by the judge after conviction.

However in cases with a defendant who is a child – like the Ana Kriegel trial – the restriction on identifying them remains after conviction, sentencing and even after they turn 18.

With reporting from Garreth MacNamee and Michelle Hennessy

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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