HC Deb 08 December 1949 vol 470 cc2072-3
33. Mr. Austin

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give consideration to the extension of the conditions of anonymity obtaining in matters of juvenile delinquency to all other trials involving children under the age of 16 years; and, in particular, if he will forbid the taking of photographs, so that needless distress to the accused and relatives may be avoided.

Mr. Ede

The Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, prohibits the publication of pictures or particulars calculated to lead to the identification of any child or young person concerned in proceedings in a juvenile court. The extension of this prohibition to cover juveniles who appear in an adult court would require legislation and as at present advised I am not satisfied that legislation for this purpose would be justified.

Mr. Austin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in a case a fortnight ago of a child aged 12 who was acquitted on a charge of murder, and whose photograph was published in the newspapers, widespread distress was caused throughout the country, and is it not reasonable, therefore, to ask for some modified operation of the grim apparatus and machinery of the criminal law in regard to further child cases of this nature?

Mr. Ede

That, of course, was a peculiar case in that the juvenile court magistrates decided that the name should be released. That is a discretion that rests with them and I do not think it should be interfered with.