Regionals lead nationals in naming teenage tearaways

Evening Chronicle: court challenged

The Bristol Evening Post and Newcastle Evening Chronicle named tearaway teenagers who were subject to Anti-Social Behaviour Orders after making successful court challenges.

The action by the two regional evenings paved the way for the national press to follow up the stories and highlight the problem of youth crime as it became a major issue for the Government.

Pictures of brothers Ben and Robert White, who were banned from the centre of Weston-super-Mare, were first published by the Bristol Evening Post. The Post had instructed media lawyer Tony Jaffa to write to magistrates asking them not to impose an order banning the press from naming Ben, 17, and Robert, 15. A similar request was made by the Weston and Somerset Mercury.

North Somerset Council, which was seeking to extend the ASBOs imposed on the brothers, supported the application by the newspapers.

Its solicitor, Iain Wightwick, said of the brothers: "They should be accountable for their own actions and be known by people into whose shops they go so there is pressure on them to behave."

For the Evening Chronicle, chief district reporter Andy Lloyd took up the court challenge that led to a gang of six teenagers who had been terrorising Wallsend being identified.

Lloyd made his own application to North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court where the six were banned from a part of Wallsend and made subject to ASBOs at the request of the police and local council.

The six were the ringleaders of a gang involved in vandalism, drug taking, arson, drinking, stoning fire crews and police, trying to derail trains and harassing residents.

Lloyd told police before the case that he would be applying to have Section 39 Orders lifted and they briefed their barrister to do it on behalf of the police and press.

He also lodged a letter on behalf of the Evening Chronicle, requesting that in the event of any ASBOs being imposed, there should be no Section 39 Orders which ban the identification of the youths concerned.

It referred to previous cases and noted: "Although Section 39 Orders are standard practice when juveniles appear before adult courts, there has been clear guidance from the judiciary that there are exceptions.

"There are clear precedents which pave the way for this case.

"If the bench does decide to impose ASBOs, we believe that effective enforcement requires the people of the neighbourhoods affected to know the identity of these individuals."

The story was splashed by the Chronicle with mug shots of the offenders before being followed up by the nationals.

By Jon Slattery

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