Curfew ‘violated Asbo teenager’s human rights’

0
Have your say

A CURFEW given to a teenage tearaway which banned him from leaving his house at night has come under fire from a sheriff who questioned whether the order violated his human rights.

Jamie Marshall was hit with an antisocial behaviour order banning him from stealing cars, using offensive and abusive language, and “forming part of a disorderly crowd”.

Under the order, Marshall was also banned from leaving his Dalkeith home between 9pm and 7am for three years, but he was later accused of breaching the prohibition six times during last year.

Marshall was due to plead guilty to three of these breaches until a sheriff raised concerns about the fairness of the ban under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The same sheriff then allowed Marshall to withdraw the guilty plea in order to launch a legal challenge against the daily curfew under convention laws.

But after the cost of the fresh court bid spiralled to more than £2000, his solicitor was forced to withdraw from the case as legal aid would only cover up to £550 in costs.

Now Sheriff Nigel Morrison, QC, has thrown out the prosecution after ruling that the youth “cannot receive a
fair trial” under human rights laws “because the accused could not receive legal 
assistance”.

The move was branded a “joke” by neighbours of Marshall who accused him of “working the system” and asked: “What about our human rights?”

The Crown Office said they were giving “careful consideration” over launching an appeal against the ruling.

In his ruling, Sheriff Morrison said that the case was “clearly exceptional” and ordered that the procurator fiscal withdraw the charges against him for allegedly breaking the curfew.

Marshall admitted three of the breaches of his Asbo
curfew in November last year but the sheriff who dealt with the prosecution raised concerns that the order may be in violation of his human rights. Marshall withdrew his guilty pleas in February.

Marshall, who lives with his parents in Shadepark Gardens, was 18 when he handed the Asbo last May.

He was accused by residents of a campaign of vandalism and intimidation over a number of years, with residents claiming that he “deserves to be in jail”.

Neighbours reacted furiously after learning that Marshall had escaped punishment.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a joke. What about other people’s human rights? He’s no angel, I’ll tell you that. He deserves to be in the jail.

“He’s working the system, that’s all. He was always causing trouble.”

Another neighbour said: “He’s a bad lot who I want nothing to do with. He doesn’t seem to think about human rights when he’s out causing bother”.

A Crown Office spokeswoman: “The Crown will give careful consideration as to whether to appeal the decision of the court.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman confirmed the antisocial behaviour order against Marshall remained the same despite the sheriff’s ruling. He said: “According to
our records, the Asbo granted on May 4, 2011 is still in effect.”