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Underage defendants lose right to anonymity


Juvenile defendants appearing in courts charged with offences relating to riots and looting will no longer have the right to anonymity after new guidance was issued to prosecutors.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) acted after the Home Secretary, Theresa May, said underage youths should be named wherever possible to convince the public a tough approach was being taken to the disorder.

Prosecutors were also told to ask courts to lift reporting restrictions that usually apply to defendants under the age of 18 if they are convicted for offences that took place during the rioting and if it is in the public interest to do so. Although the guidance says it would be "wholly wrong to exercise the power as an additional punishment or for 'naming and shaming' ", it adds that there is a strong public interest in exposing convicted youths involved in serious offences.

The guidance provides for youths to be named only after conviction and will not apply retrospectively.