It was only after an appeal against a section 39 order - made under the Childrens and Young Persons Act 1933 (which gives the court discretionary power to grant anonymity over juvenile defendants or witnesses) - that the harrowing facts behind an Old Bailey trial came to light. Reporters covering the trial of 18 year old Manisha Ruttan who stood accused of the manslaughter of her baby boy, were astonished when the judge placed a gagging order over the proceedings. Given that Ruttan was no longer a juvenile and that her baby son was dead and therefore would be afforded no protection by the trial details or identity of him or his mother being kept secret, it was an order that should not rightly have been made. Following an appeal against it by the South London Press, the judge lifted it and a sorry tale of violence and child abandonment came to light.
Ruttan had fled to the UK from Mauritius following a dispute between her boyfirend and her family. He had been stabbed to death after torching her father's car after the father turned down the boyfriend's request to marry Ruttan. Having arrived in the UK, Manisha Ruttan gave birth to a baby boy whom she abandoned in a plastic bag on a south London rooftop. He died. She faces deportation after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
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