Two paedophiles have won lifelong anonymity from being named after telling courts they might kill themselves if the public knew their crimes.
In 2022, a man was spared jail at Antrim Crown Court after admitting 22 offences involving possessing, distributing, and making indecent child images.
His identity was initially revealed following a legal challenge from local democracy reporter Tanya Fowles, but the judge then reversed his ruling and granted lifetime anonymity.
The decision was described as 'unprecedented' while Tanya warned of a 'deluge' of bids for anonymity by convicted paedophiles after the judgment.
Now a second paedophile, who was jailed for 16 months, has received an order to protect their identity from another court in Northern Ireland after threatening self-harm.
A lifelong anonymity order places bans on reporting any information that could lead people to expose their lives after leaving prison.
When arguing for the anonymity order to be overturned, Tanya said the defendant initially expressed concerned about the impact on his family, which does not quantify an identity ban.
She also noted there are schemes in prison designed to prevent self-harm for at-risk prisoners.
Armaghi reports that the man, in his 30s, attempted to communicate sexually with two female children between November 2021 and January 2022, but was, in fact, speaking with Yorkshire and Humberside officers acting as decoys.
It was reported that conversations were 'sexual in nature' and included him sending indecent images and asking for them.
The man will only have to serve six months in custody before being released on licence. However, his identity will still remain anonymous.
The judge said the sentence was 'proportionate and commensurate' and that the man sent a 'naked picture of himself and inviting (the decoys) to send naked pictures of themselves to him'.
Tanya told HTFP the new case follows the precedent set in Newry Crown Court.
She said: 'Now we see a further paedophile living under the radar cloaked for life by court-ordered anonymity, setting such offenders at an enhanced status to others coming through the court system.
'Apart from being totally disproportionate in both instances, there are further ramifications for public safety as a whole.
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