Belfast Telegraph

Derry teenager brings case to UK Supreme Court over publishing of CCTV images

Supreme Court justices have been asked to give their views on whether police should publish CCTV images of children suspected of being involved in riots or causing criminal damage.

Lawyers representing a teenager arrested following sectarian disorder in Londonderry four years ago claim that the publication of such "naming and shaming" images, in newspapers and police leaflets, could be a human rights breach.

A panel of justices is analysing argument from legal teams representing the teenager and the Police Service of Northern Ireland at a Supreme Court hearing in London.

The teenager asked the UK's highest court to consider the issue after the Northern Ireland High Court ruled that police had not interfered with his right to private life, which is enshrined in human rights legislation.

Justices said the teenager could not be identified in media reports.

They were told that his image had been published in the Derry News and on a BBC website.

Mary Higgins QC, for the teenager - who was 13 at the time of the disorder - said children were given "special protection by the law" because they were the "most vulnerable" members of society.

"(He) invites this court to find that except where absolutely necessary to prevent serious harm, and then as a last resort, the image of a juvenile should never be published by the police in the press as a means of identifying them because this names, shames and stigmatises them," she told justices.

"(He) invites the court to find that the correct balance was not struck between the public interest in law enforcement and the protection of (his) rights."

Police bosses dispute the teenager's claim.

They say images were captured for the purpose of identifying people involved in criminal activity.

And they say they were not disseminated for any purpose other than the legitimate policing purpose of the prevention and detection of crime.

The hearing continues.

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