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Young offenders

Anne Arnold reports on the latest cases challenging magistrates’ decisions to commit young offenders to the Crown Court

21 March 2003

The grave crime procedure in youth courts is continuing to provide work for the High Court. On 23 January 2003, applications to quash decisions committing three young defendants charged with robbery and attempted robbery to the Crown Court came before Stanley Burnton J (R (C and D) v Sheffield Youth Court and the DPP and R (N) v Sheffield Youth Court and the DPP [2003] EWHC 35 (Admin)). Counsel for the Crown submitted that the decisions in R (D) v Manchester City Youth Court [2001] EWHC 860 (Admin), R (W) v Thetford Youth Justices [2002] EWHC 1252 (Admin) and R (W) v Southampton Youth Court [2002] EWHC 1640 (Admin) (see (2001) 145 SJ 1132, 7 December, and (2002) 146 SJ 852, 27 September) conflicted with and were made in ignorance of the earlier decisions in R v Liverpool Youth Court, ex p Cushion (case no CO/474/98, unrep, 7 May, 1998) and R v Devizes Youth Court, ex p A (2000) 164 JP 330. He said the earlier decisions should be followed in so far as they dealt with two issues:
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