Thursday, October 15, 2009

He Isn’t A Child – Name Him!

Like many readers will have been, Clameur de Haro was appalled to read in last night’s Jersey Evening [sic] Post of the litany of crimes committed by the 16-year old miscreant with a history of violence whom the Youth Court on Tuesday sentenced to a restorative sojourn of 9 months at La Moye – although with any time already served, and with no doubt sympathetic assessments from probation officers and social workers bending over backwards to be non-judgmental, he will probably be back on the streets a lot sooner than that.
The youth’s crimes included participating in a vicious gang assault which left the victim with serious injuries, assaulting a police officer, vandalism in Coronation Park, being drunk and disorderly, racist insults to a member of the public, attempted assault on a police officer (again), theft of his grandmother’s keys and car, and violently resisting arrest (again).
And yet, because he is only 16, he cannot be named, because he is regarded judicially as a child.
How ridiculous. We invest children far younger than he with the rights and attributes of adults. Back in August, for example, CdeH blogged about Brook Jersey’s practice of not involving parents in the distribution of emergency contraception and contraceptive advice to “…..some as young as 12”. In what way does this criminal deserve the protection of anonymity on the grounds of childhood?
Jersey’s legislature has recently approved the establishment of a sex offenders’ register. Quite right too, although Clameur de Haro has reservations about the potential for mistake and misidentification, with all the horrendous consequences, and also about the ability of administrative departments to keep the data confidential, if confidential it is to be. But eventually, and hopefully with due safeguards if so, it may be in the public domain, irrespective of the dangers to paediatricians whom the dim may be unable to distinguish from paedophiles.
CdeH however would far rather be aware of the potential danger posed to himself, his neighbours, and his possessions, by the presence in the vicinity of a thug like the one sentenced on Tuesday. Said thug’s potential future employers might appreciate the knowledge too.
If he’s 16, then he’s old enough to have a motorcycle licence. Old enough to get married. Old enough to leave school and get a job. Old enough to join the Forces. Old enough (Heaven help us) to vote.
He’s not a child. Name him.
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