Judge refuses to place youth at risk from gang violence in secure accommodation

Council social service bosses have failed to persuade a High Court judge to place a 17-year-old youth at risk because of his involvement in gang activity in secure accommodation.

Social workers involved with the teenager said placement in secure accommodation would be in his best interests because he was in danger and might be killed.

But Mr Justice MacDonald has concluded he does not have the power to place the teenager in secure accommodation.

He said the teenager was “demonstrably at grave risk of serious, and possibly fatal harm”.

But the judge said the teenager was not in the care of the council and his mother objected to him being placed in secure accommodation.

He said the law did not allow a judge to place a child in such a position in secure accommodation.

The judge said if he made such an order he would be authorising the teenager’s removal from his mother’s care without her consent.

Mr Justice MacDonald has outlined his decision in a written ruling published following a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Lancaster in May.

He said the teenager could not be identified in media reports of the case and he has not named the council involved.

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