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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Asbo gang lose human rights fight
The leaflet distributed around Brent
This leaflet was distributed around Brent
A judge has ruled in favour of a north London council which sent out thousands of leaflets naming a gang given anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos).

The group of seven, aged between 15 and 28, were given the orders in September banning them from parts of Neasden.

But the gang and their parents mounted the unsuccessful High Court challenge against Brent Council claiming their right to privacy had been infringed.

Human rights group Liberty said the judgement has left the law confused.

The young people in this case had been involved in serious and persistent bad behaviour
Lord Justice Kennedy

Lord Justice Kennedy said these orders were unlikely to be effective unless the names and photographs of the subjects were included.

Speaking after the hearing, leader of Brent Council, Councillor Ann John said: "I am delighted that the court endorsed the action we have taken to protect our residents from anti-social behaviour.

"The young people in this case had been involved in serious and persistent bad behaviour, which was often of a dangerous and threatening and violent nature and the residents affected were terrified in their own homes."

Between them the gang had been convicted of more than 100 offences, including theft, street robbery and possessing drugs and knives.

Fall in crime

The orders banned the group from Chalkhill after it was said they were responsible for a "two-year reign of terror".

Residents in the exclusion zone were sent details of the gang which included names, addresses and photographs and details of the orders.

Official figures show that crime has fallen by 25% in the exclusion zone since the Asbos were issued.

Insp Nicola Dale, from the ASBO Unit at Brent Borough Police, said: "We are very pleased with the judgement.

One of the boy's sister has been bullied and there have been threats against one of the boy's family.
Liberty's Barry Hugill
"Publicity is an effective tool in making the public aware of the existence of an Asbo, not only to reassure them, but also in an effort to assist us if there is a breach of the conditions of the order."

But Barry Hugill, from Liberty which helped bring the case against Brent, said: "We helped bring this case because of the principle fear of vigilantism.

"One of the boy's sister has been bullied and there have been threats against one of the boy's family.

"We recently had a case in Essex of a serial burglar who successfully stopped police using a poster of him because of how it would affect his daughter.

"We used the same principle with the boys from Brent.

"We accept the court's decision but we feel it leaves the law confused and so, to be honest, we are not entirely sure what the implications of this judgment are."




SEE ALSO:
Gang banned from estate
19 Sep 03  |  London


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