Judicial Review to Decide the Future of ASBOs

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CONTROVERSIAL Anti-Social Behaviour Orders will be put under the spotlight later this year, after a judge at the High Court in Belfast yesterday granted leave for a judicial review in the way in which the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) introduced the orders. Peter Neill, 37, of Hazelbank Road, Coleraine, won the right to mount a legal challenge to ASBOs but a full hearing will not take place until September 12. Until then, it will be up to the magistrates to decide whether to impose thems. Mr Neill was the first adult in the province to be targeted by the Order, although he has never received one. Detectives claim he was involved in drugs, making threats, disorderly behaviour and possessing an offensive weapon. He denies the allegations. At a hearing last week, his solicitor called on the Secretary of State to suspend the Orders immediately, arguing that under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the NIO was obliged to consider the impact of each new or existing policy on equality of opportunity. This, alleged the solicitor, the Office failed to do when ASBOs were introduced and therefore it had not complied with its own approved equality scheme. …