That was not thought a fair description of two 16-year-old boys who "wrote sexual and racist graffiti on prayer books and bent an ancient St John the Baptist cross causing £3,000 worth of damage" after being invited to have a look around the cathedral in Blackburn. On sentencing them the chairman of the bench said: "This court is disgusted by the mindless destruction you have caused. Normal people would consider you absolute scum."
But that was too much for the Clerk of the Court who stood up and said she objected to the description of them. Consequently Austin Malloy has been removed from his post as chairman of the bench while he is investigated by the Judicial Office of Communications even though the bench was in agreement suggesting that they at least are normal people.
However one looks at it this is not acceptable behaviour, the more so given the desecration involved. If similar acts of vandalism had taken place in a mosque rather than in a Christian place of worship the consequences would have been grave. Do we care so little for our Christian heritage that such behaviour is regarded by some as trivial?