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English Sun edition kept out of Scotland

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By Rod Edgar
Annan and Eskdale
English Sun edition kept out of Scotland

CHANGES to newspaper reporting laws in Scotland saw the English edition of a national newspaper pulled from shelves in Annan last week.

In perhaps the first test for the new law introduced on September 1, last Thursday and Friday’s editions of The Sun naming the accused in the death of an Aberdeenshire schoolboy were prevented from crossing over the border to Scotland.
A spokesman for The Sun said: “We endeavour quite strongly that every newsagents in Scotland gets a Scottish edition of the newspaper.
“But what we did last week was said to our printers, ‘Please make an extra-special effort to make sure that the English edition doesn’t find its way into a Scottish newsagents because of the reporting restrictions’.”
Prior to September 1, Scottish law prohibited the identification of children aged under 16 who were involved in court proceedings, whether as a victim, witness or accused.
However, the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 came into force on September 1 2015 which increased the restriction age limit in Scotland to anyone
under 18.
Glasgow Caledonian University law lecturer Brian Pillans says naming the accused in the Aberdeen case would only have incurred a £5000 fine.
But he said: “There is the ethics involved there, apart from anything else. You’re making an individual who’s still at a young stage in their life notorious amongst their own community.”
He added: “The purpose behind the legislation is so that people who are caught up in
criminal activity at a formative stage in their life are not tarred with that reputation for the rest of their life, and are allowed, where possible, to be rehabilitated and re-enter society without the stigma attached to them that would come with being a criminal.”

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