How the Sheffield Star got reporting restrictions lifted to name teenage killer Emar Wiley
Teenage drug dealer and convicted murderer Emar Wiley can now be named publicly thanks to a successful application from The Star to lift reporting restrictions placed upon him because of his age.
As Wiley is under 18, he was automatically given anonymity in court by law. But The Star argued the serious nature of his crimes meant he did not deserve the privilege of anonymity and it was in the public interest to name him. Due to the high-profile nature of the case, the identity of the killer was already known to many from his neighbourhood and further afield.
We also felt that naming him would bring justice to the family and friends of his victim, 21-year-old father Lewis Bagshaw. Full disclosure of his identity would also show justice has been done and is being seen to be done.
The judge in the case, The Honourable Mr Justice Nicklin, said Wiley was operating a “significant drugs operation” in Southey Green at the age of just 16. The 17-year-old also pleaded guilty to GBH at the beginning of the trial for the assault on Daniel Cutts, Bagshaw’s father. On that basis we argued Wiley was already a hardened criminal in an adult world, not a naive youngster.
The prosecution and defence barristers, as well as the police, wanted to keep Wiley’s identity a secret in the interest of his welfare and community tensions. But Justice Nicklin concluded: “risks to Mr Wiley’s safety are speculative and not supported by credible evidence”.
As Wiley will turn 18 in December, he could be identified then as he will officially be an adult. Mr Justice Nicklin said it was “difficult to identify any” additional harm he may suffer from his identification being brought forward by just a few months.
We also argued the public interest outweighed any concerns for Wiley and the significant time gap before his release would not impact on his rehabilitation when he leaves prison.
In making his decision, Mr Justice Nicklin weighed up “the competing considerations of Mr Wiley’s welfare and open justice”. He said the argument came down “decisively in favour” of naming Wiley.