Derbyshire police chief admits it was a “mistake” to try and stop media from naming rapist

Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon.

Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon.

Derbyshire Constabulary’s police chief has admitted it was a mistake by the force to try and ban the media from revealing the identity of a Polish rapist living in Shirebrook.

A judge ruled that the publication of the identity of a Polish sex offender living in Shirebrook be permitted despite police concerns about rising tensions in the town sparked by an influx of Eastern European residents.

District Judge Andrew Davison confirmed Marcin Lucasz Jaworski’s details and previous rape conviction can be reported without a ban during Derbyshire Constabulary’s application to place him on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

Judge Davison told a Chesterfield magistrates’ court civil hearing on Friday, April 22, that a fundamental principle is open justice which is a hallmark of the law and the media plays a vital role in the upholding of that principle on behalf of the public.

And Derbyshire Constabulary Chief Constable Mick Creedon has since stated that the force’s lawyers should not have applied for the media to be banned from revealing that it was seeking to add Mr Jaworski to the Sex Offenders’ Register.

He added that the request was well intentioned and reflected concerns about recent community tensions.

Chief Con Creedon said: “The media coverage of the recent hearing reflects a mistake made by the Derbyshire Constabulary.

“The reasons for the application were well intentioned and reflected our concerns about some recent local community tensions, but the media was right to challenge this and the court was right to reject the application.

“He has no right to secrecy.

“Whilst we were concerned that a community protest might drive him underground, he should not have been afforded any protection other than that given to any other offender placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.”

Police Sgt Mark Church’s original statement to the court in an effort to ban publication had argued that about ten per cent of Shirebrook’s population is Eastern European and the largest percentage of that group is Polish and this has put “social strains” on the town’s facilities.

A Public Places Order and a Public Spaces Protection Order also had to be imposed to stop street drinking causing tensions, according to police.

Sgt Church added tensions reached a peak in 2015 and the police Safer Neighbourhood Team had to be strengthened after two incidents involving Polish males and alleged assaults including a stabbing.

Residents’ group Shirebrook Together has held protests, according to Sgt Church, and one revealed a deep-seated mistrust of foreign nationals.

Sgt Church stated that he feared another trigger incident could easily reverse all the good work that has been achieved.

He argued Mr Jaworksi, 20, of Eland Road, Langwith Junction, Shirebrook, who has a rape conviction from October, 2014, from Poland, and also has a previous notice for street drinking, is vulnerable and he lived with others who could have been put at risk. Sgt Church also stated that he was concerned Mr Jaworski may leave the area if identified.

Sgt Church, who revealed social media has previously been used to identify a local man accused of a sex offence, stated he was confident police could monitor Jaworski without wider public awareness.

However, the Derbyshire Times challenged the proposed restriction on the grounds publication is in the public interest and in the interests of public safety and potential unrest should not be allowed to outweigh these greater concerns. The newspaper argued any reporting restriction would also affect its intention to investigate why a foreign national, convicted in Poland in 2014 of rape, was allowed residential status.

District Judge Davison stressed that proceedings must be held in public and reporting should not be prevented by the court and that there was no indication of a risk to Mr Jaworski’s safety.

He added: “Unless there are exceptional circumstances the court must not exclude the press or the public from the court or withhold information or restrict the rights of the media to report court proceedings including details of this defendant.”

He also added: “I am not satisfied that such a restriction can in any way be justified in the facts presented by Derbyshire Constabulary in this case.”

Solicitor Caroline Sellars, representing Derbyshire Constabulary, told the court that police have known about Mr Jaworski’s conviction since February 9.

The police application to place Mr Jaworski on the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years was further adjourned until May 5 due to Mr Jaworski’s absence from court.

Police have since confirmed that Mr Jaworski has moved out of Derbyshire but his new address is known to Derbyshire Constabulary.

A police spokesman said the appropriate police force and agencies covering Mr Jaworski’s new address will be alerted but Derbyshire Constabulary’s application to place Mr Jaworski on the Sex Offenders’ Register will be pursued.

Derbyshire Constabulary declined to comment regarding any potential deportation proceedings for a foreign national with a previous conviction for rape.