Letter: Justice for young offenders

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I HAVE been greatly troubled since the case of James Bulger was tried at Preston Crown Court last year, and was heartened to read the first instalment of 'Re-examining the evidence' (Review, 6 February).

The obscene way in which we deal with children who commit violent crimes should be changed. All cases involving children should be tried in a Youth Court. Magistrates are specially trained to do this work, and have vast experience of all types of cases. All children deserve the benefit of their experience. Judges sitting in the Crown Court rarely encounter children, and when they do, must find the task difficult.

The low-key approach in the Youth Court could be used with advantage. The sentencing powers are limited, but there is the power to commit to the Crown Court for sentencing.

The Special Youth Court could be convened in the defendant's locality to deal with only those exceptional cases. A judge could sit with the magistrates where his wisdom would be welcomed, and justice would fairly be seen to be done.

J M Eddy JP

North Shields, Tyne and Wear

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