May 2004

Judge in sex case ‘name them’ shock

A judge who wanted to name three schoolgirl victims of a sex-offender was today branded “prehistoric.”

Judge Christopher Ball QC said he wanted to name the teenagers “so other men in the vicinity are alert to the possible dangers of engaging in any form of social activity with these girls”.

He made the comments after a former fireman admitted having unlawful sex with a 14-year-old and indecently assaulting two 15-year-olds on November 7 last year. The 43-year-old was not jailed.

Nicholas Caley, of Rayne Road, Braintree, was give a three-year rehabilitiation order and a two-year punishment order. He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Judge Ball told Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday: “Even if they are their own worst enemies, they have to be protected from themselves and with regret, I make an order not to name them.”

Elizabeth Frank, of the internationally-renowned Children’s Legal Centre, which is based at Essex University, today said she was “shocked” at Judge Ball’s comments.

“It is such a prehistoric attitude.These are clearly children in need to have ended up in this situation and I hope they are being provided with some support.”

The judge told the defendant after the case: “It’s apparent that these three young girls instigated this episode. They were drunk. They were provocative in engaging you in sexually titillating talk, advancing to sexual activity which was completely consensual on their side, and indicative of a degree of sexual precociousness and promiscuity.”