Sometimes, it has to be said, the law is a bit of an ass.
If you’ve ever read in a newspaper report that a teenager can’t be named “because of legal reasons” you will know where I am coming from. And if you find it frustrating, believe you me, so do us journalists.
The law protects juvenile defendants under 18 from being named in court and if they are convicted of serious crimes like murder, manslaughter and rape it is down to newspapers to ask a judge or magistrate if reporting restrictions can be lifted and we can name the little toerags.
Last month 15-year-old Joe Chapman was convicted of murdering Chris Poole in Hampden Park and the judge agreed we could name him.
Yet last week when a 17-year-old was convicted of the manslaughter of Hailsham dad Darren Croxton a different judge said no to naming his killer and the reasoning was that because the convicted killer would only be 20 when released from a young offenders’ institute, having his name and photograph splashed all over the papers might hinder his chances of being rehabilitated into society.
Well, that’s just tough in my book and many others too I would suspect.
He should’ve thought of that before he carried a knife and stuck it into someone.
The law needs changing so 17-year-old killers can be named publicly and it’s the likes of Joe Public that needs to campaign for it.
In the meantime we will keep asking the legal beaks to name juveniles when they are convicted of serious crimes so that not only is justice done, it is seen to be done.
I thought either my eyes were deceiving me or I had partaken in one too many glasses of lady petrol when I strolled past the Lamb in Old Town the other day and saw the Real Time bus information sign back working after being out of action for months.
Maybe the pen really is mightier than the sword. Let’s get together now and change the name of the Arndale Centre.