High Court says curfew was lawful

A teenager with learning difficulties has failed to convince the
High Court that a curfew imposed on him as part of an antisocial
behaviour order was unlawful.

In the test case last week, judges ruled that the curfew, which
confined Ashley Lonergan, 19, to four addresses between 11.30pm and
6am was lawful.

Lonergan, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
received the punishment as part of a two-year Asbo on 18 August
last year.

His lawyers said magistrates had gone beyond their lawful powers
by imposing the “draconian” restrictions on his freedom of

Lord Justice Kay rejected the argument that the curfew amounted
to a “penalty,” going beyond the purpose of Asbos, which are to
protect the public from antisocial behaviour.

But he urged magistrates to “consider carefully” before imposing
curfews that could amount to “a very considerable restriction of

The judgement comes ahead of the Youth Justice Board’s
publication of guidance on antisocial behaviour for youth offending
teams. Published on 31 March, it will provide advice on reducing
the risk of young people becoming involved in antisocial behaviour
and highlight how YOTs should be consulted.

The cost of obtaining Asbos has fallen since their introduction
from between £4,000 to £5,000 on average in 2002 to
£2,500, according to a Home Office study. Three-quarters of
practitioners said the effort in applying for Asbos was “justified”
by the results, and two-thirds felt there would be savings


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