12-year-old Manx girl is spared return to island jail

The 12-year-old girl at the centre of the child-jailing furore on the Isle of Man admitted in court yesterday to seven assaults and five cases of criminal damage, but escaped further imprisonment after her lawyer pleaded for understanding.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was brought to the juvenile court in Douglas by two prison officers. She sat in court, with her long blonde hair in a pony tail, next to her case worker, rushing to chat and hug her aunt and mother during breaks in the proceedings

She was given a conditional discharge yesterday and was returned to the island's children's home were she is under 24-hour supervision from two social workers. The island's social services are expected to try and find a secure establishment on the mainland where she can receive counselling.

The disclosure that the girl spent seven days in a juvenile annexe at the island's only prison has caused outrage. Under Manx law, children as young as 10 can be jailed at Victoria Road prison in Douglas.

The mother of the 12-year-old, who is subject to a care order, said in court that it was "disgraceful" her daughter had been locked in the prison and said she was "messed up".

Her daughter admitted to a series of offences mostly against staff at the children's home between March and June. They included kicking a worker in the mouth and shins causing bleeding and bruising, and kicking another person in the stomach.

There were also several incidents of assaulting staff, in which she spat, swore and hit out, as they tried to control her.

Her case worker, Rose Banell, said the girl had been in care for almost two years and there had been two failed attempts to place her with foster parents.

Her advocate, Terence McDonald, argued: "This is a child who we all accept has difficulties and having a [criminal] record is not going to help her go into the world."

He added: "This is a chapter that is going to live with her for the rest of her life."

Chairman of the Bench, Malcolm Hartley, said that although the offences were "severe", in view of "circumstances" he had decided to give her a discharge on the condition she did not reoffend again in the next 12 months. He told her: "We want you to have a long and happy life but it requires your co-operation."

Outside court, Mr McDonald said: "I feel recent events have moved the authorities to think very hard about funding alternative accommodation for these children other than sending them to prison."

In another case, the court chairman reprimanded police for charging a 15-year-old boy with drinking a bottle of lager in public. Mr Hartley said the boy, who had no previous related offences and was not drunk, should have been cautioned.

The case follows criticism of the the Isle of Man police for taking a gung-ho attitude to bringing charges, particularly against juveniles. Unlike in Britain, the Manx police decide whether to bring a charge.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas