High Court ruling curbs police ASBO powers

16 February 2006

Police powers to tackle street disturbances under the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 were curbed yesterday when the High Court ruled that specific reasons must be given for their use.

Sarah Ann Sierney, 20, successfully appealed against her conviction for defying an order to disperse from the Shiregreen area of Sheffield on the ground that no reasons were given.

Pete Weatherby, representing Miss Sierny, argued the dispersal order put in place in the run up to Bonfire Night 2004 was inadequate because no specific details were given as to why it was necessary.

Lady Justice Hallett – sitting at London’s High Court with Mr Justice Nelson – said although police had consulted fully with the city council in the boisterous build-up to Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night, the order failed to specify the general nature of the incidents that made it necessary. She added the authorisation was too vague and had “no effect”.

Sarah Sierney was represented by Garden Court North Chambers’ Pete Weatherby (instructed by Grayson Willis Bennett Solicitors).

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