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Boy, 15, wins curfew legal battle

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 05:39 AM
Original message
Boy, 15, wins curfew legal battle
Good for him. I think this was a clear decrease in individual liberty. I remember being shocked to find similar laws applied in Austin, Texas back in 1990 (and still do, for all I know). 'Innocent until proved guilty' matters in everyday life, as well as in court.

The teenager said the use of dispersal zones in Richmond, south-west London, breached his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Unaccompanied under-16s found in zones after 9pm can be held and escorted home, whether badly behaved or not.

The police and Richmond Council argued that it reduced anti-social behaviour.

The High Court ruled that the law did not give the police a power of arrest, and officers could not force someone to come with them.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4699095.stm
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non sociopath skin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 06:31 AM
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1. I really find myself in a dilemma over stuff like this, Muriel.
Like you, I am really unhappy with the Human Rights implications of this.

On the other hand, when I was a District Councillor, a huge amount of time was taken up with youths creating lives of absolute misery for residents of the main urban area of my patch, particularly the elderly. The police could do nothing because the kids were - technically - doing nothing illegal.

Then the rules changed and they began to find reasons for dispersal. Result? Peace perfect peace. And it's lasted.

The most charitable of the folk affected would want to know what you'd do instead. And if you couldn't tell them, they wouldn't vote for you.

The Skin
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 07:17 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. What do you mean by 'reasons for dispersal'?
If you mean that the youths actually had to do something anti-social, then I can see the point. But if the 'reason' is "you're under 16", then it's discriminatory and authoritarian.

Think of it this way: we tend to laugh at the argument for ID cards that says "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about", because we say that the state will try to crack down on any dissidents, even if they behave legally. But the law-abiding 15 year old gets cracked down on by this automatically.

We could also say that all mosques should be banned, because we know that hatred gets preached at some of them. It's the equivalent of banning all youths from the streets - some cause trouble, so we'll get rid of all of them.
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non sociopath skin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. One of the areas concerned was a narrow corner ...
... adjoining the rear and owner's flat of a local shop. The youths were congregating there and, while not physically harrassing the customers, were making unpleasant remarks, jostling each other so that they bumped into them etc.

It was decided (I'd have to check the actual legal stuff for you) that this constituted anti-social behaviour.

There was a similar crack-down on crowds gathering for underage drinking sessions on the edge of a public recreation ground.

The Skin
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