Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 13:30 UK

Jon Venables trial would not be held in secret

Police handout in 1993 of Jon Venables
Jon Venables was detained for eight years for the murder of James Bulger

Jon Venables will not be tried in secret if he is charged with the alleged offences for which he was sent back to prison, Jack Straw has said.

The justice secretary also said there was "no possibility" of having a trial without a jury.

Venables and Robert Thompson were convicted of murdering toddler James Bulger on Merseyside in 1993.

They were released in 2001. Venables has been recalled after allegedly committing "serious offences".

Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Radio 5 live, Mr Straw said the police were still "actively investigating" allegations against Venables and said any decision to prosecute him would be taken by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Straw said he had not been able to reveal more details about the case because of concerns from police and prosecutors that this would hamper the investigation.

"What we were worried about was to give information simply about the fact that a criminal investigation was in hand, could have led to an undermining of that investigation."

'Right to know'

In a statement to the House of Commons earlier this month, Mr Straw said that it was not in the interests of justice to reveal why Venables had been recalled to prison.

James's mother Denise Fergus had called for the reason for the recall to be made public, saying as his mother she had "a right to know".

Venables and Thompson abducted two-year-old James in a shopping centre in Bootle and killed him on a railway line on 13 February 1993.

The pair, who were both 10 years old at the time of the murder, were convicted in November 1993 and released on licence with new, secret identities in 2001.

An order banning the publication of details which could reveal where they are remains in place.



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Ex-judge backs Venables anonymity
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