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CPS issues fresh guidance on naming young rioters

16 August 2011

The CPS issued fresh guidance to prosecutors today on naming young people involved in last week’s riots.

Reporting restrictions are automatically imposed under section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, but can be lifted where it is in the ‘public interest’ to do so.

The CPS said today that prosecutors should argue that there was a “strong public interest” in favour of lifting restrictions in the case of “significant public disorder where the public will rightly need to be satisfied that offenders have been brought to justice and there is a need to deter others”.

Other circumstances where prosecutors should make similar arguments included “serious offences which have undermined the public’s confidence in the safety of their communities” and “hate crimes which can have a corrosive impact on the confidence of communities”.

The guidelines make it clear that the court should not use its discretion to lift restrictions without the parties being given an opportunity to make representations.

This includes the media: “It is entirely appropriate for the court to ask any reporter in court if they wish to say anything about the matter.”

However, any decision to lift restrictions should be necessary and proportionate and there must be a “pressing social need for it” under article 10 of the ECHR.

In all cases prosecutors should carefully consider the welfare of convicted young offenders and particular care should be taken with children who are “especially young”.

A CPS spokesman said: “We have issued guidance to prosecutors that states they should ask the court to lift the anonymity of a youth defendant when they believe it is required in the public interest that the youth be identified.

“Legislation permits the court to do so after conviction. These representations will be made on a case-by-case basis.”

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