Legal blow for girl held in police cell

A 15-year-old girl who was held in a police cell for two nights
after Gateshead Council failed to provide her with suitable secure
accommodation has lost her legal fight against the authority.

Lawyers representing the girl, arrested on suspicion of wounding,
claimed the council, which had told police the nearest available
secure accommodation was 110 miles away in Hull, had acted
unlawfully by failing to place her within 48 hours.

Turning down an application for judicial review, Mr Justice
Calvert-Smith said the case was now “entirely academic” from the
girl’s point of view, but indicated he would not oppose
applications for reviews of cases of a similar nature in future.

Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform,
condemned the practice of detaining children in police cells.

“No child should be spending the night in police custody,
particularly not a young girl. That is putting her at risk,” she

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