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No plan for a blanket ban on naming young criminals

I am writing to highlight some important facts your front-page story failed to include ("New proposal to let young killers remain anonymous", The Herald, February 8).

The Victims and Witnesses Bill is seeking to raise reporting restrictions on court cases involving witnesses or accused who are considered children from the ages of 16 to 18. This is to ensure consistency with a number of EU directives. However, this does not mean there will be a blanket ban on under-18s remaining anonymous. The Bill ensures sheriffs and judges will continue to have the final say on this, as is currently the case. If they believe it is in the public interest to name the accused, as we have seen in high-profile cases in recent years, they will still have the power to do so.

The Victims and Witnesses Bill contains many positive proposals, such as making criminals pay their victims for the damage they've done and we are happy to listen to views from the public as it progresses through the parliamentary process.

Kenny MacAskill MSP,

Justice Secretary,

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.

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