UK Criminal Bar Association Chairman Calls For “Child Friendly” Courts

LAWFUEL – The Times reports that a leading barrister and part-time judge believes ASBOs should be scrapped because they could lead to severe injustice.

Sally O’Neill, QC, who takes over this week as chairman of the 4,000-strong Criminal Bar Association, also urges a radical review of the way teenagers and children are dealt with in the criminal justice system.

The traditional criminal courts, such as the Old Bailey, should not be used for young offenders – however abhorrent their offence, she said.

Instead, she called for new “child friendly” courts, possibly with a jury.

Ms O’Neill, 53, who defended Roy Whiting, the man convicted of abducting and murdering Sarah Payne, told The Times that ASBOs were a civil order that could lead to someone getting a criminal record. Increasing numbers of people were being jailed because they had breached an ASBO, a “preventative” measure, even though they had never been judged to have committed any criminal offence.