Former Sun editor David Dinsmore convicted after publishing photo of Adam Johnson victim
David Dinsmore, former editor of The Sun, has been convicted of breaching the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act for publishing a pixelated photo of a girl who was sexually abused by footballer Adam Johnson.
The controversial decision to publish the image, culled from the victim's Facebook page, was taken last year at the time of Johnson’s arrest and prompted Durham Constabulary to launch a prosecution against the editor.
Privacy law stipulates that the press must not publish details which may lead to the identification of crime victims but Judge Howard Liddle found that people who had seen the girl’s Facebook profile may recognise the image despite an attempt to pixelate her face.
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Dinsmore was ordered to pay £1,300 costs and a further £1,000 in compensation to the victim after the judge agreed with his defence that he was unaware that to do so counted as an offence.
Riddle said: “It is right and it is indeed clear that there are no facial features identifiable from the photo, the hair colour has been disguised, the hair length has been changed, and the background to the photograph has been altered and indeed there have been other changes relating to, for example, clothing.
“Having heard from Mr Dinsmore I am satisfied that he took and the staff on the newspaper took steps that they thought complied with the law.”
The decision comes just days after Johnson was found guilty of sexual activity with a child, then aged just 15, a crime which carries a sentence of between five and 10 years in jail.
Dinsmore was promoted to chief operating officer of Sun publisher News UK in September 2015.