From today’s papers, news that Britain’s youngest drink-driver attacked a lawyer and threw a jug of water at magistrates yesterday as she was sentenced for her second offence of driving while drunk.
Leanne Black, 14, screamed obscenities and kicked over a chair before lunging at the prosecutor and punching her in the back.
As the three magistrates who had sentenced her to four months in a young offender institution tried to flee, the teenager picked up a two-litre jug of water and hurled it at them.
The reality I suspect is that the law is close to giving up on a rising social problem that it is quite unable to contain. Let's be honest for a moment, if the crumbling criminal justic system can't protect you from a 12 year-old drunk driver, there's very little hope further up the growing food chain of organised crime.
Ironically, I showed the front page of the Thanet Times to a meeting of police officers this morning but sadly I can't repeat their comments on the story.
Back in Thanet, however, we have a significant front-page challenge in the shape of young Jason Mobey, from Cliftonville. Although a juvenile can have his picture published when he is given an ASBO, breaching the order means that he can’t be pictured, unless of course the court believes that it is in the public interest to do so. In Jason’s case they did and the law will be changing in a month to remove this ridiculous irregularity which hides the identity of feral youngsters from the public.
Juveniles like Jason and Leanne present a different kind of terrorist threat to the public but one that is more immediate and visceral than the risk of being bombed on a bus. They are everywhere it seems and the law still appears to be broadly unsuccessful in controlling their anti-social and violent behaviour with ASBOs. Giving the lad a 24-hour attendance order and a twelve month parenting order to his mother are hardly likely, I would suggest, to have any effect in removing this sad and disturbed local problem permanently from the streets of Cliftonville. I suspect that we’ll be hearing from him again in the not so distant future. Tell me I’m wrong.