20 Aug 2011


Different courts seem to have taken a different approach.
Compare the following two cases.

Are the courts being consistent? Judges and magistrates have sentencing guidelines to work to. However, they are often described as "guidelines not tramlines".

David Atto, 18, pleaded guilty to the theft of two Burberry T-shirts, worth perhaps £60. He told the police he had found them on the pavement.(found them?)
 He pleaded guilty, had no relevant previous convictions, and was sentenced to a day in custody.
Then there was Nicolas Robinson, 23, of Borough, south-east London, who was jailed for six months for burglary. He took a £3.50 case of water from Lidl supermarket. He also pleaded guilty and had no relevant previous convictions.
The disparity in sentence for these two offences of dishonesty committed during the riots is stark.

It is obvious that many of these sentences will be appealed, many of these sentences will be overturned.

With this in mind the magistrates should show some consistency, because if many of these rulings are overruled, then the perpetrators will think they had a win.

Surely this is not the outcome anyone wants, queues of appeals before the courts.

Magistrates are only human and naturally they are caught up with the feelings that we all have.

However cool heads are called for, truth in sentencing is what is required not gut reactions, otherwise we will get the wrong result.

Some of the youth feel already that society ignores them, surely we should not give them any more ammunition.
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