Landmark ruling victory for work to tackle gangs

Lancashire police officer

Lancashire police officer

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Top judges have refused to lift an injunction imposed on a man linked to a gang in Preston.

In a test case ruling, London’s Civil Appeal Court backed Lancashire Police in their fight to stamp out drugs-related gang violence, by refusing an attempt by Joshua James Murray, 20, to lift an interim gang injunction he received, for suspected involvement in gang activity.

We are pleased with the decision made by the Court of Appeal

The hearing was told warfare between the ‘Deepdale Gangsters’ and bitter rivals, the ‘Avenham Gang’, has terrorised the city.

A series of vicious clashes culminated in the murder of Jon-Jo Highton, 18, in August last year.

Among those hit with anti-gang violence injunctions last September was Murray.

Despite his denials of links to the Deepdale Gangsters, Murray was given a night-time curfew, and banned from parts of Deepdale, from being in a car with more than two men, and from carrying more than one mobile phone.

The court heard Jon-Jo was himself one of seven alleged members of the Deepdale Gangsters against whom police had sought court orders, just four days before he was killed.

Police also said Murray was a member of the gang and had participated in three violent incidents between June 2013 and May last year, including a robbery and an attack on a rival, during which Murray was pistol-whipped and suffered a broken arm.

He denied any gang links and said he only knew dad-of-one Jon-Jo and others because he had grown up with them.

Challenging the injunction, his counsel, James Stark, said there was not enough evidence Murray was involved with the gang, but Lord Justice McCombe said the order was “amply justified”.

Sitting with Lord Justice Elias, he dismissed Murray’s complaints about the legislation, which was granted under the Policing and Crime Act 2009.

Today Sgt Scott Archer of Lancashire police said: “We are pleased with the decision made by the Court of Appeal.

“Civil injunctions like this are just one of the ways that we are tackling gang-related violence and making our community a safer place to live.”

Six men were jailed for their roles in Jon-Jo’s murder in June.