Lifetime anonymity for young criminals

Youth justice campaigners have called for a change in the law to give children accused of crimes anonymity for life, to prevent them and their family being stigmatised ‘in perpetuity’. The call for change comes after a national newspaper identified the suspect following the murder of Ann Maguire, a teacher at a secondary school in Leeds.

In a letter to The Times, the campaigners, who include leading figures from Howard League for Penal Reform, the Royal College of Physicians and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, back calls for a change in the law so that no child in trouble can be publicly named, with their anonymity to be protected beyond the age of 18.

They argue Mrs Maguire’s death on 28 April has thrown ‘the inadequacy of the law into sharp relief’. The campaigners note that as news reports can stay online, they may jeopardise an accused child’s chances of rehabilitation and future employment, while also putting individuals and their families at risk of vigilante action…

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