A suspected gangster boss who was the first person to be jailed for breaching a gang injunction has launched an appeal against the order – claiming it violates his HUMAN RIGHTS.
Gavin James, 26, said to be a kingpin of Birmingham’s notorious ‘Johnson Crew’ was slapped with the restriction for his own protection after he was shot FIVE times with a machine gun in December 2011.
The strict anti-social behaviour injunction (ASBI) prevents him associating with known gang members and even restricts his contact with his own mother.
But James last week launched an Appeal Court bid to have the order overturned, claiming it was incompatible with EU Human Rights laws.
Barristers for James, from Hodge Hill, Birmingham, said that Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights preserved his entitlement to enjoy private and family life.
Ramby de Mello said his client was not a gang member, and was just “friends with a number of people who are in these gangs“ through growing up.
He added that a conventional ASBO should have been imposed and said the terms of the injunction were “disproportionate”.
Judges imposed the order in October last year which also prevents James entering certain parts of the city and forces him to attend employment courses to quit his alleged gang lifestyle.
James was jailed at Birmingham County Court just two months later in December after breaching the two-year order – the first sentence of its kind passed in the UK.
Barristers for Birmingham City Council said that the order was lawful and should not be overturned.
Jonathan Manning, for the council, told the court the local authority applied for the injunction in response to increasing concerns about public safety.
Lawyers representing Home Secretary Theresa May also took part in the case which is viewed as having central importance to the ASBI regime.
The Appeal Court judges, Lord Justice Maurice Kay, Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Lord Justice Jackson, reserved their decision on the case to a later date.
An ASBI is similar to an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO), as it allows courts to restrict the movements and actions of an individual.
But whereas ASBOs last for a minimum of two years, an ASBI can be imposed for as little as six months and relate specifically to social housing-related problems.
Supt Richard Moore, of West Midlands Police, said at the time of the ruling: “This injunction complements the wide range of enforcement, diversionary and preventative measures we already employ.
“Our priority is to protect the community but at the same time we want to support gang members to exit a lifestyle which causes harm.”
The Johnson Crew is one of Birmingham’s most feared gangs – famed for its long-running feud with rivals the Burger Bar Boys.
For over 20 years years both gangs have been caught up in drug related turf wars resulting in gang land style executions, drive by shootings and armed robberies.
Johnson Crew members were the intended target of a New Year’s Eve shooting in 2003 which left teenage pals Letitia Shakespeare and Charlene Ellis dead.
They were gunned down outside a hair salon in the Aston area of the city, where the Burger Bar Boys are known to operate.