WERE you expecting to see a monster?

But what would a monster look like? Were you expecting a dead-eyed gaze? Disfigurement? Something just that bit ‘off’?

You would, if so, have been disappointed.

On Friday, Judge Lord Matthews made the decision to name the 16-year-old killer of Alesha MacPhail following an appeal by a group of Scottish newspapers.

Moments after the law lord made his decision, the name was published online and by broadcast media in pre-prepared pieces just waiting for that decision to be made.

And there we had his photograph.

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Of course, those living on the Isle of Bute knew who he was, the press knew who he was, but the vast majority of the public did not.

In such a high profile case filled with appalling details I imagine many people have had to skim read over, such was their revulsion, curiosity is naturally strong.

Who would do such a thing? What, a child did it? What kind of child would do this?

And there he was. Just an ordinary kid - wearing a tartan suit or jumping off a pier or posing for a selfie.

One newspaper described him as “handsome, in a modern, metrosexual way, with luxuriant, swept-over hair and a milky complexion.”

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What they mean is he’s a skinny, pale teenager with big hair. An ordinary looking kid, which somehow makes his crime seem all the more jarring because it normalises things.

We all know teenage boys who like to look after their hair. It brings something distant and horrific home.

But was there public interest in naming the Aaron Campbell? I’m not convinced.

The age of anonymity was raised from 16 to 18 in 2015 to bring Scotland into line with the UK and the rest of Europe.

It has been challenged previously, with regards Daniel Stroud, the killer of Aberdeen schoolboy Bailey Gwynne. A judge refused to lift the ban on naming Stroud but he has since turned 18 and his identity revealed.

Campbell’s identity would have been made public in 15 months when he, too, turns 18.

The courts agree on the age of 18 as a bid to protect children caught up in the criminal justice system.

Our justice system works on the basis of rehabilitation. A crime as a young person shouldn’t be enough to blight that child for the rest of their life by being on public record.

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Of course, when the crime is as heinous as the murder of Alesha, that’s an argument that does not stand up.

Representing Scots media organisations urging Lord Matthews to lift the ban, Anthony Graham QC said Campbell’s defence had included accusing a young woman of the murder, a young woman who had no such right to anonymity and whose name and photograph was smeared all over the press.

That defence smacks of tit-for-tat and revenge is never an appropriate motivation.

Yet the desire to name Campbell does smack of seeking revenge. And let’s face it, it’s hard to care when faced with the rapist and killer of a little girl. Why should he be able to commit such a heinous, unspeakable crime and still be afforded the protection of his age?

Campbell is not the only teenager whose rights under duress have been causing debate. ISIS bride Shamima Begum, 19, was this week stripped of her British citizenship.

A poll of Evening Times readers showed 90 per cent agreed with the Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s move. But if the state can strip a British-born national of their citizenship because they have foreign-born parents, doesn’t this lead to a two-tier citizenship and a two-tier justice system.

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What does justice mean if we can strip British citizens of their citizenship and we fail to take the route of trial and justice instead?

This move, like the naming of Campbell, smacks of revenge, not justice.

Ms Begum’s family want to bring her newborn son to Britain. Mr Javid said in the House of Commons: “It is absolutely paramount in all cases that we take into account the welfare of minors.”

Ms Begum was a minor when she was radicalised. Campbell is a minor. Their cases raise difficult, complex moral questions in exceptional but not unheard of circumstances.

Does the principle of protecting children only have meaning depending on what those children have done? It is these hard, hard cases that test the moral core of our justice system.

There are no easy answers. But these discussions and any answers should not be motivated by a desire for revenge.

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