Radio Sandwell Local News

Grooming: Judge bans men from approaching teenage girls

2014-10-28 13:17:55

A High Court judge has banned five men from approaching girls in public places after Birmingham social workers and police raised concerns about the welfare of a vulnerable teenager who is in local authority care.

Mr Justice Keehan has granted short-term injunctions against the men following the launch of civil court litigation by social services bosses.

The judge, who has heard evidence at family court hearings in Birmingham, made orders after being told how the teenage girl who was the focus of concern had been found at a hotel with different men at different times.

Police are investigating and have made arrests.

The judge has ruled that the youngster cannot be identified in media reports.

The injunctions bar the men from contacting, approaching or following the vulnerable teenager and from approaching "any female under 18", with whom they are not personally associated, in public places.

One of the men complained that his arrest had been unfair, when he appeared at the latest court hearing yesterday. He said people thought "that is what Asians are doing" because of "what goes in the news".

Mr Justice Keehan is due to hear more evidence at a trial in London next month before deciding whether injunctions need to be long-term.

He has ruled that the men cannot be identified at this stage of the litigation. But hearings have been held in public and he has indicated that he might reveal identities if long-term injunctions are imposed.

Five men appeared at the hearing yesterday. Lawyers said orders had also been made against others.

A barrister representing Birmingham City Council outlined some evidence and said police inquiries were on-going.

Lorna Meyer QC said the vulnerable teenage girl had been found at a hotel room with one of the men at around 1.30pm early in October. He had been arrested before being released on bail pending further investigations. He had said he believed the girl to be 19 and was not aware that she was in local authority care.

The man told the judge that he had "done nothing wrong", said the girl had asked for his "help" and said "because of what goes in the news" people thought "that is what Asians are doing".

Initially the man told Mr Justice Keehan that he would agree to abide by a long-term injunction. But he changed his mind after the judge said he therefore aimed to name the man in a public ruling.

The man then said he would not agree to abide by a long-injunction, adding: "I don’t want to agree to it then. Why should I be in the papers?"

Miss Meyer said in August the girl had been found at a hotel with three other men at around 9.30pm. She said the girl had been "missing" from her accommodation at the time.

Two of those three men appeared before the judge. They said they had "done nothing". One said he did not want the injunction "on my record for no reason".

Miss Meyer said two other men had been found in a car - in which the vulnerable teenage girl had previously been a passenger - a t around 3am one morning.

Mr Justice Keehan said he would analyse detailed evidence at a trial in London on November 17 before deciding whether to make injunctions long term.

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