Campaigners have called for the government to abandon its use of child spies, whether a court rules against them or not.
The Home Office has been criticised for allowing children to be used as informants against drug dealers, terrorists and sexual predators.
UK charity Just For Kids Law brought their case to the Royal Courts of Justice to examine whether the use of child spies by police and other agencies caused mental and emotional harm. The organisation says the lack of safeguards involved breaches young people’s human rights.
Acting for the charity, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC flagged up the case of a 17-year-old girl recruited to spy on the man selling her for sex.
She said: “A justification put forward is that some children are involved in or in close proximity to serious crimes which they could as a covert source help police to investigate and prosecute.
“That justification also demonstrates the acute need for stringent safeguards: keeping a child close to serious crimes may serve a compelling public interest, but it would appear to be antithetical to the child’s own interests.”