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Reporter praised for name ban challenge

A Lancashire Evening Telegraph reporter helped persuade magistrates to reject a council attempt to ban naming a 15-year-old, described as a ‘pied piper’ for leading other youngsters into crime.

Police and a housing association asked magistrates to impose an Anti Social Behaviour Order on the youngster – which would ban him from a large area of the town of Darwen were he was thought to have been responsible for dozens of crimes in the year since he had moved there.

Police had also asked that he should face a jail sentence if caught in possession, or under the influence of, alcohol or drugs on any road in the town.

But the local council asked the court to impose a Section 39 banning order because it was “not in the best interests” of the youth to be identified.

After phoning the newspaper’s assistant editor Nick Nunn for advice, reporter David Higgerson told magistrates that when Blackburn MP Jack Straw had overseen the introduction of ASBO’s as Home Secretary the intention had been that teenagers should be identified unless there were compelling reasons to the contrary.

He successfully argued that the exclusion order could not be properly policed if people in the neighbourhood where the youth was said to have “shattered” peace and tranquillity could not be told that it was in force.

Evening Telegraph editor Kevin Young said it was the newspaper’s policy to challenge such orders whenever they arose.

He said: “David has now shown great skill in successfully doing this twice.”

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