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90 per cent back "name and shame" plan

Readers of the Ipswich Evening Star have overwhelmingly backed the paper’s campaign to name and shame local troublemakers.

A poll on the Evening Star’s website showed that 90 per cent of people think the youths in question, who admitted causing damage to a number of vehicles in Ipswich, should be named and shamed.

The Evening Star ran a front page which showed obscured photographs of the two youths leaving youth court.

The 16-year-old was sentenced to a three-month community-based action plan and the 17-year-old to four months’ detention, but because of their age, the paper cannot reveal their identities.

The Star had verbally requested a lifting of the ban on the identification and the request was formalised in writing.

But South East Suffolk magistrates deliberated for almost an hour before deciding the pair should not be named at their sentencing hearing.

When they returned their verdict, chairman of the bench Barry Manning said he did not feel it was in the interests of justice to reveal the boys’ identities.

And, referring to past landmark cases, the magistrates’ clerk warned them added punishment implied by “naming and shaming” would not be a good reason.

The paper said: “The odds were always stacked against The Evening Star in our application as magistrates’ guidelines force them to consider the welfare of the young criminal as the most important factor.

“The clinching argument seemed to be further guidelines which revealed the “name and shame” approach to be an inappropriate reason for lifting reporting restrictions.”

Section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 automatically protects the identity of anyone under 18 appearing in a youth court.

An amendment to the Act made in 1997 allows magistrates to lift restrictions when they feel it is in the public interest.

The Star recently fought a separate battle to name a youngster who punched a man. Read more about it here.

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