Appealing conviction: Thomas Hutton Sinclair

THE editor of the Llanelli Herald has appeared at Swansea Crown Court to appeal a previous conviction he was found guilty of  earlier in the year.

As editor of the Ceredigion Herald Thomas Hutton Sinclair was found guilty of putting the victim of a sexual offence at risk of identification. As a result he was ordered to pay £3,650 in fines and compensation.

District Judge David Parsons said at the time that the breach of the law giving victims anonymity for life had “enormous” potential to deter other victims from coming forward.

He said: “The protection of victims of sexual offences is a matter of considerable concern.

“This court must be mindful of the real psychological harm to the victim, confirmed in her victim impact statement.

“This offence has enormous potential to undermine the confidence of victims reporting sexual offences.”

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 victims have a right to anonymity for life, meaning any information likely to lead to their identification in a news story is a breach of the law.

Sinclair, of Hamilton Terrace, Milford Haven, had been charged with the offence under the Sexual Offences Act 1992.

Sinclair went to appeal on the judgement and appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Friday (Nov 3) The case was adjourned until January 17th 2018.

Earlier in the year Assistant Editor Jon Coles had also been warned that he faced arrest over failure to appear at Sinclair’s court appeal. Coles had contacted the court and said he did not want to give evidence, listing his reasons as “autism, depression and a dislike for cities and travelling.”

Jon Coles contacted Llanelli Online to state that he had in fact not refused to attend court. He told Llanelli Online:  ‘In light of my disability, arrangements have been made so that I may give evidence by video link, if required.’

In October 2016 Sinclair was fined £500 after his paper named a youth in a court report.

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