Arsonist to stay with Kirklees

Kirklees Council, forced to pay for the supervision of a 13 year
old convicted of arson after his mother moved into the area, has
failed in a high court bid to wash its hands of him.

The boy, who was referred to in court as AW, received a
three-year supervision order after pleading guilty to arson in
August last year. When sentenced at Preston crown court in March,
the judge ruled he should be supervised by Kirklees’ young
offending team.

But last week Lord Justice Latham, sitting in the high court in
London, rejected Kirklees’ arguments that AW was not its
responsibility because he lived in Blackburn, Lancashire, at the
time of the offence.

His mother and family moved away from Blackburn to Huddersfield,
West Yorkshire, the day after the boy had been arrested for assault
in May last year, the court heard.

Meanwhile, he remained in Blackburn having been remanded in
secure accommodation provided by Darwen Borough Council.

Kirklees’ barrister argued that AW could not acquire residence
in the Kirklees area just because his mother had moved there. But
Lord Justice Latham said the decision that Kirklees should
administer the three-year supervision order was part of the
sentencing process.

The high court does not have the power to overturn a crown court
sentence in a judicial review challenge, said the judge. But he
added that councils in the same situation as Kirklees should be
invited by judges to make representations before orders of this
kind were made.

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