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Remove the right to anonymity of 16/17 year olds convicted of crimes

Comment 8th July 2010

Amend the law that currently provides special legal protection to all under 18s convicted of crimes so that it only applies to those under the age of 16.

By the age of 16, somebody is more than mature enough to face the full consequences of their actions.  The law should reflect this. 

The law as it stands means that the press are prevented from revealing the identity of a 16/17 year old convicted criminal unless the Judge presiding over the case specifically lifts their anonymity.  The result of this is that the media report that ‘A 16 year old, who can not be named for legal reasons has been convicted of …’.  This tarnishes the reputation of all 16 year olds, even though the vast majority would never dream of committing the crime that that individual 16 year old has been convicted of committing, as it gives the impression that:

(a) It could be any 16 year old who has done it, and

(b) There is a likelihood that any 16 year old might commit a similar crime. 

This is not the case.

As with any other age group, the vast majority of criminal offences are committed by a very small minority.  This small minority should be forced to take full responsibility for their actions. 

Why does this matter?

At present young criminals are being protected at the expense of the law abiding majority of their age group.  This has two hugely negative effects:

1) It allows criminals to avoid facing the full consequenses of their actions.

2) It indirectly punishes all other members of that age group even though they have done nothing wrong, as it unfairly stigmatises them.

This is obviously wrong and needs to ba addressed at the earliest possible opportunity.

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