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Judge rules to keep young father's story secret

YOU can read the tantalizing tale but not its ending, a British judge has ruled.

A media blackout was imposed Wednesday on reporting new details in the case of a 13-year-old boy who reportedly became father.

Headlines around the world last week screamed "Father at 13," describing how the boy fathered a healthy newborn girl with his 15-year-old girlfriend - a story that sparked debate over Britain's high teen pregnancy rate.

Then the plot thickened.

Two other boys claimed they could also be the father, prompting 13-year-old Alfie to submit to a paternity test that is pending.

But under Wednesday's ruling, imposed by High Court Justice Florence Baron, journalists are prohibited from reporting any new details of the case - including any information that could prove or disprove Alfie's paternity.

Following a court hearing in private, a statement was read to reporters explaining the judge's reasons for making the order.

It said part of the reason was the young ages of the mother and father, and that "the private and family life of the mother and her baby has been disrupted to such an extent that the judge was concerned about the mother and baby being unable to live a normal family life." The judge was also reportedly concerned about the privacy of Alfie and the other potential fathers.

Reporting restrictions are increasingly common in Britain where judges can impose blanket bans on publishing details of cases.

In a past terror trial, a judge tried to impose a ban on reporting one of the suspect's sentences until all his alleged coconspirators were tried. The restriction was aimed at not prejudicing jurors but was eventually challenged and lifted.

In a current terrorism case, a British judge has barred journalists from calling it a retrial.

Alfie's publicist, Max Clifford, said the situation was strange.

"No one is allowed to say anything new," he said.


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