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MAGISTRATES WRONG TO JAIL YOUTH OVER POLL TAX, JUDGE RULES

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A youth was wrongly jailed for failing to pay his poll tax without being given a proper chance to pay off his debt,...
A youth was wrongly jailed for failing to pay his poll tax without being given a proper chance to pay off his debt, the High Court ruled yesterday, the Guardian reports (p7).

The test case could lead to many under-21s imprisoned in similar circumstances seeking damages, says the paper.

The youth was sentenced in January to 28 days youth custody by magistrates in Newcastle-Under Lyme for defaulting on a £709 bill. Mr Justice Laws set aside the conviction, saying the magistrates failed to take into account the section of the Criminal Justice Act aimed at ensuring prison is a last resort.
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