Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Hoodie ban for Asbo youth upheld

Lawyers said hoodies are a symbol of youthful rebellion

A judge was within his powers to ban an anti-social youth from wearing a hoodie, the High Court has ruled.

Jerome Barnes, 18, of Greenwich, south-east London, had argued that the order exceeded the powers of the Anti-social Behaviour Order (Asbo) against him.

Mr Barnes' lawyers argued that banning hooded sweatshirts was more an expression of distaste than a matter of compelling public safety.

But the High Court ruled the ban was justified and reduced public fear.

Public menace

Mr Barnes was given the Asbo along with other members of the Cherry Boyz gang that was gathering and abusing members of the public in the Greenwich and Bexley areas of London.

Wearing a hoodie is not criminal or anti-social
Jonathan Lennon, barrister

Greenwich Magistrates' Court district Judge Riddell said he was imposing the condition banning hoodies to aid identification and to stop Mr Barnes and his associates from menacing the public.

But Mr Barnes' lawyer, Jonathan Lennon, told the High Court that hoodies were signs of youthful rebellion not unlike Doc Marten boots in the 1970s or leather biker jackets in the 1950s and 60s.

He said it was beyond the role of government or the courts to dictate what people should wear.

"No Asbo can address the appearance of young people and the way they dress.

"If the State said we all have to dress in pin-striped suits, then I expect this court would have something to say about it. Wearing a hoodie is not criminal or anti-social."

But Lord Justice Latham said the district judge had found that Mr Barnes was wearing a hoodie with the intention of causing fear and reducing the risk of being recognised.

He said the hoodie condition was "appropriate and necessary" and dismissed the application to have the condition overturned.

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