THE identities of two youths charged with a murder in Oxford were revealed on two BBC news broadcasts, a court heard.

A judge today referred the case for further investigation after the incident breached a reporting restriction protecting the names of the accused 15 and 17-year olds.

A representative of the media organisation apologised for the error and said that court reporting training would be given to staff at South Today.

Outlining the case at Oxford Crown Court today Judge Ian Pringle QC said the names of two defendants charged with a murder in Wood Farm were protected by a court order – known as a Section 45 reporting restriction – because of their youth.

It means they cannot be named or identified until they reach the age of 18 or a judge lifts the order.

The 15-year-old boy from Banbury and a 17-year-old boy from Milton Keynes, who both cannot be named, are charged with killing Robin Williamson in the Wood Farm area of Oxford on October 27 last year.

They are set to stand trial for that allegation on January 18 next year.

The youths appeared at the same court for a preliminary hearing of their case on Friday, and it was the reporting of that hearing which breached the restrictions put in place by the court.

In a news bulletin from the BBC at both 6.30pm and 10.30pm the defendants were fully named and their ages were given as well as where they were from.

Judge Pringle said it was a ‘clear breach’ of the reporting restriction.

Deciding if the matter was a case of contempt of court he said breaching a Section 45 order was a ‘summary offence punishable by a fine.’ He said as a result he would report the matter but it would not be treated as contempt.

He added that had he been treating the case as a contempt of court matter he would consider the case ‘fully purged’ and added: “I would probably take no further action.”

Representatives from the BBC were also at court for the hearing, including BBC South Today editor Richard Spalding, head of journalism Declan Wilson, and legal director Nick Wilcox (pictured outside court).

Defending the organisation, Ben Gallop said the BBC accepted the breach and ‘recognised the importance of reporting restrictions.’

He said: “The BBC is proud of the rigorous training and standards it holds its journalists to and as a result this is a matter of great regret.”

He said that staff at BBC South Today would ‘undertake refresher training for court reporting’ and that a review would be held for training that is already undertaken at the BBC.

The matter was reported by the judge and the trial of the alleged murder will go ahead in January as originally agreed.