Teenager cleared of lying to police about Yousef Makki stabbing named

A teenager cleared of allegations that he lied to police about the fatal stabbing of a grammar school pupil can be named after losing a bid to keep his anonymity.

Adam Chowdhary, 18, went on trial last year, identified only as "Boy B", alongside Joshua Molnar after the death of their friend Yousef Makki in Hale Barns, Cheshire, on March 2 2019.

Yousef, a 17-year-old who had won a scholarship to the prestigious Manchester Grammar School, was knifed in the heart by Molnar, now 18, during a fight.

Molnar was cleared of murder and manslaughter following a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court in July, telling the jury he acted in self-defence after Yousef pulled a knife on him.

Joshua Molnar leaving court after being acquitted of murder and manslaughter. Credit: PA

He admitted possession of a knife and perverting the course of justice by initially lying to police about what had happened, and was given 16 months in custody.

Chowdhary, then 17, was acquitted of perverting the course of justice.

He was given a four-month detention order after admitting possession of a flick knife.

Chowdhary's anonymity was due to automatically expire when he turned 18 on January 24, but he asked the High Court to protect his identity until he finishes his education in November 2021.

At a hearing in London last month, his barrister Adam Wolanski QC said Chowdhary is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and that the publication of his identity would be "catastrophic for him".

But, dismissing his application, Mrs Justice Steyn ruled that "the curtailment of the claimant's and his family's right to respect for their private and family life is, in my judgment, clearly justified by the compelling public interest in open justice".

The judge said Chowdhary should not be named until any appeal is determined, as it would "effectively destroy his right to appeal", and gave his lawyers until 4pm yesterday to file an appeal.

As no appeal was filed, Chowdhary's temporary anonymity lapsed, allowing him to be named.

In her ruling, Mrs Justice Steyn said: "The most significant aggravating feature was that (Chowdhary) bought the knife with which Yousef was killed."

She said possession of a knife "is a serious offence and there is a strong public interest in knowing the identity of those who commit serious offences".

Mrs Justice Steyn found that "the prospect of being named in court, with the accompanying disgrace, is a powerful deterrent" to others.

She added: "There is an important public interest in understanding the prevalence of knife crime. Such understanding depends, at least in part, on knowing who is committing such crimes."