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News - 29 May 2008
Basildon magistrate bans media from naming 'too young' Asbo
A Basildon, Essex magistrate has banned local media from naming a local teen found guilt of breaching his ASBO.
Only weeks after the 17-year old had been given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order for a sustained campaign of vandalism, racial abuse and violence, he was brought back to court. But the chairman of the bench of Basildon magistrates, Jennifer Kirton, placed an order stopping the press from reporting his identity because of his age - despite publicity surrounding his earlier appearance.
A Billericay District councillor has accused the magistrates of tipping the balance of justice in the favour of the criminal and preventing the public from seeing justice being done. Cllr Phil Turner said: "It is a disgrace. The whole idea of an ASBO is so people can help police keep these hooligans in check. ASBOs are designed to act as a deterrent. Naming and shaming these people is what gives the order a little bit of bite and the publicity surrounding them is important."
Local police had hoped the publicity surrounding the ASBO - for terrorising a community, including racially abusing a shop owner and spitting at a police community support officer - would "send out the message that we will clamp down robustly on anybody acting in such a manner in Billericay." Residents, who police had even urged to keep an eye on him, to ensure he did not breach his conditions, had been instrumental in catching the well-known vandal described as a ringleader.
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