In response to the Mercury's decision to publish photographs of serial child sex attacker Ajay Jetha, Leicestershire Police has issued the following statement:
8 APRIL 2016 | BY Leicester Mercury FOR Leicester Mercury
"We are extremely disappointed that the Leicester Mercury newspaper decided yesterday (Thursday 7 April) to publish a series of photographs, in its paper and online, of a man who committed a very grave crime against a young boy in the city last October.
The attack on the boy, rightly described in court as "horrific", has caused very deep and on-going trauma to the child, and to his parents.
Having arrested and charged the offender, we did everything we could to safeguard the boy and his family in an attempt to minimise any further distress. This included urging all media outlets not to publish or broadcast the details of the attack on him. All media outlets, including the Mercury, agreed to that request, for which the family were – and remain – very grateful.
The family also made it very plain to officers that they would be extremely distressed if any media outlet published photographs of the man who attacked their son. We relayed that request to media outlets but regrettably the Mercury chose to publish pictures it sourced from the offender’s social media footprint.
Yesterday, having seen the Mercury’s coverage, the Chief Constable wrote a letter to the Editor in which he set out his disappointment that the paper had seemingly ignored the family’s request. To date, the Editor has not published our letter.
Every year we release, often through the media, scores of photographs of people who are convicted of serious offences. We do so in accordance with clear guidelines, and can only do so if the release of such photographs is legitimate, proportionate and necessary.
In reaching a decision, we must also – quite rightly – take account of the wishes of the victim and consider the impact the release of a photograph could have on them – in this case, a young boy.
Due to the exceptional circumstances of this case, and the strength of the victim and family’s feelings, we took the decision not to release photographs of the offender and relayed the family’s request, and our decision, to local journalists.
We all have a social responsibility, and that includes supporting victims of crime. We find it extremely disappointing that the city’s newspaper, which has a core role to play in our community, chose to publish these photographs despite being told of the enormous distress their actions would cause to the young boy and to his family.”