Glasgow & West Scotland

Rapist Stephen Fagan's anonymity bid not 'open justice'

A rapist's bid to hide his identity ahead of a planned return to Scotland was rejected by judges who said his case should not avoid open justice.

Stephen Fagan, 47, injected the woman with heroin and raped her in front of her eight-year-old son at her home in South Shields, near Newcastle, in 2006.

He was jailed for 14 years but released on licence in September 2012.

Fagan said his family would be at risk if his return was reported. The judges' written ruling emerged on Monday.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Fagan's bid for anonymity and said the family of anyone who committed a serious sexual - or violent - offence might face a "hostile reaction".

'Target of hostility'

One appeal judge, Lord Justice Aikens, said there was "nothing in the position of Stephen Fagan" which could justify any derogation from the general principle of open justice.

Appeal judges had ruled against Fagan, who comes from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, last month - but the reasons behind their decision were not published until Monday.

The dispute over the publication of his name developed earlier this year after he began publicly-funded legal action in an attempt to win the right to live in Scotland following his release from prison on licence.

Fagan, who wants to re-settle in Airdrie, said members of his family might become a "target of hostility" if his return was reported.

His lawyers argued that there was a need to "prevent the risk of violence".

In June, a High Court judge ruled that Fagan could be named - but he imposed a temporary reporting ban until the case had been analysed by the Court of Appeal.

Appeal judges then also ruled that Fagan could be named - at the end of a hearing in London in September - and lifted the reporting ban.

The thinking behind their decision was explained in the written ruling published on Monday.

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