Judge bans five men from approaching girls

Injunctions served in Birmingham case involving vulnerable teenager in care who was found in a hotel with different men
  • The Guardian, Tuesday 28 October 2014 09.55 GMT
High court London
At least five men were banned from approaching girls under 18. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian
A high court judge has ordered a number of men not to approach girls in public places after social workers and police raised concerns about the welfare of a vulnerable teenager in local authority care.
Mr Justice Keehan has granted short-term injunctions against at least five men following the launch of civil court litigation by social services in Birmingham which has responsibility for the girl.
The judge, who has heard evidence at a family court in the city, made the orders after being told how the girl had been found at a hotel with different men at different times.
Police, who have made arrests, are also investigating and the judge has ruled that the child cannot be identified.
Most of the men dispute the need for injunctions – which bar them from contacting, approaching or following the girl and from approaching “any female under 18”, with whom they are not personally associated, in public places – and deny wrongdoing.
One of the men complained that his arrest had been unfair when he appeared in court on Monday.
Keehan is scheduled 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. 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 on Monday. 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 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 Keehan he would agree to a long-term injunction. But he changed his mind after the judge said he aimed to name him in a public ruling. The man said: “I don’t want to agree to it then. Why should I be in the papers?”
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”.
Meyer said two other men had been found in a car – in which the girl had previously been a passenger – at around 3am one morning.
Keehan said he would analyse detailed evidence at a trial in London on 17 November before deciding whether to make injunctions long-term.

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