Straw applauds Echo victory in naming tearaway

The Liverpool Echo has won a court battle to name a 13-year-old tearaway in a victory that was welcomed by the Home Secretary.

Jack Straw told the paper: "The Echo has won an important case here. Secret justice is no justice at all."

Daniel Franey was made subject to an anti-social behaviour order after he waged a four-year reign of terror in the Kensington area of Liverpool, smashing windows, throwing bottles, swearing, using racist abuse and making threats to kill.

Echo chief reporter Paul Kennedy successfully argued that a section 39 order banning the identification of Franey should not be imposed by Liverpool magistrates despite a plea for anonymity from his solicitor.

Kennedy told the court that anti-social behaviour orders had been approved by Parliament as part of a tougher approach to dealing with persistent juvenile offenders.

For such orders to be effective, it was important that people in a neighbourhood being terrorised by a young tearaway knew who that person was and the restrictions placed upon them. If the local community did not know the existence and terms of an order it would not know whether the order was being complied with, he argued.

Cases cited by Kennedy, who read from a brief prepared by Post & Echo managing editor Chris Walker, included one involving the Shropshire Star and a 15-year-old boy.

Deputy district judge Andrew Shaw said that although he had taken into account Franey’s age, it was in the public interest to name him.

Echo editor Mark Dickinson said: "We hope our success will lead to magistrates elsewhere in the country taking the view that granting an anti-social behaviour order and naming the offender should go hand in hand."

By Jon Slattery

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