I suppose upon some reflection that I have commented here when it has seemed apposite on sentences being too weak rather than the reverse. Today I find myself in the opposite corner. Curfew is a useful sentence because it is a deprivation of liberty and can be applied immediately upon a finding of guilt without the need to have a pre sentence report. For those reasons it is essential that the bench takes on an inquisitorial role to ensure that the punishment fits the crime and the offender fits the punishment. At least that is the way in which I personally approached such a disposal. For a bench to impose a curfew on a grandmother of previous good character who deprived the DHSS of £12,500, a relatively small amount for an offence in such circumstances, is a disgrace. The report does not state under which section of the law she was charged. If defence lawyer did not immediately appeal against sentence she ought to be ashamed as should the bench for the imposition of a sentence which was totally unsuitable in the circumstances.
Earlier this year on 18th October I posted on the change in regulation which had previously allowed police officers under misconduct investigation to resign and avoid such investigation. Not surprisingly I was pleased. Well; today I`m not. In short this new legislation in some circumstances allows officers to retire while under investigation. The College of Policing appears not to have this new information on its website.
It would be interesting to know statistics of police chiefs charged with misconduct.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH:- While lovers of liberty in all lands have urged the necessity of freedom of speech none put the case more pointedly than Voltaire when he wrote, “I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to say it.” Perhaps that sentence exemplifies the difference between those of a libertarian bent from all others whether of the Left or the Right. In 2009 The far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was allowed entry to the UK after appealing successfully a ban imposed some months previously by the Home Office. His visit passed without incident. Currently there is growing opposition to a proposed visit by Franklin Graham an American evangelist preacher on the grounds that he is likely to provoke a possible reaction from Muslims, gay people and others whom Graham has castigated in speeches in the USA. The rise of a British Muslim population of 3 million has simultaneously led to increasing criticism of conservative Christianity and its adherents` proselytising. Cases of people...
For very many years the governments; Labour, Coalition and Tory have been less than expansive about the number of illegal immigrants in this country including those who arrived legally and overstayed. Indeed that evasiveness was no doubt a factor in the arguments on immigration prior to the Referendum. The Right criticised the Left for its attempts to play down the problem and the Left accused the Right of little short of racism and bigotry. There is one certainty and that is government still does not know the numbers of foreigners living here. From time to time we read in the media of those illegals having children in the UK and using that as an argument under Human Rights that their stay in this country be legitimised. Since June 23rd last year various measures have been put in place to determine the nationalities of people who fall into certain groups which have contact with state authority. All defendants in court must now state their nationality. Surprising no one the legal profession has been blowing its top into a so called breach...
There is much to be said for the opinion that justice for all but the rich is no longer the certainty that it was a couple of generations ago. But then a little reported event happens along and all that can be said is that there is still a flickering flame within the system of which we should be proud. "A Muslim suspected of involvement in "terrorism-related activity", who complained that Home Office movement constraints prevented him from visiting McDonald's and treating one of his children to a Happy Meal, has failed to persuade a High Court judge to relax restrictions." The report makes no mention of how his appeal was funded but I would hazard a guess that he was legally represented under legal aid. I wonder where else he could have pursued his appeal on such grounds at state expense. The brief report is available here.
On 25th July 2013, shortly before my previous host site was taken down, I commented on the numbers of serving police officers in England and Wales and the ratios of how the various ranks were proportioned. 4.86 constables/sergeant 3.26 sergeants/inspector 3.49 inspectors/chief inspector 2.2 chief inspectors/superintendent 2.24 superintendents/chief superintendent 1.82 chief superintendents/ACPO rank
On 8th August 2015 I posted as follows:-
Although I am cautious when reading of a latest form of crime statistics which appears to indicate that the trend is up, down or sideways there is more than a little fascination in the structure of those in blue employed (in reducing numbers) to keep the peace. According to current figures there are:-
1.68 chief superintendents for every ACPO ranked officer
9 inspectors and chief inspectors for every superintendent
3.3 sergeants for every inspector
5.2 constables for every sergeant
Figures for 2013 were:- 4.86 constables for every sergeant
Today December 1st the prison population is 86,859. Prison capacity is 87,411. That equates to the fact that prisons are at 99.37% of their capacity. It probably is not unconnected to the fact that suspending custody seems to be a preferred option when at all justified and at times without that justification. My last sitting was in March 2015. According to the Sentencing Council "the percentage of cases sentenced to a wholly or partially suspended sentence decreased sharply, from 6.0% in 2013–14 to 0.5% in 2015–16. This decrease coincided with the abolition of suspended sentences in the Magistrates’ Court for offences committed on or after 1 September 2014". I therefore have no first hand knowledge of the current situation. But I do read court reports. Caught driving whilst disqualified this person was given custody suspended. Why he was not banned for an increased period but subject only to six penalty points only those present in court would know. A registered sex offender who re-offended in what one assumes in a...
I have never served on a jury so my knowledge and opinions could be termed hearsay to some extent. Lord Justice Singh certainly is an expert although from his exalted position he too has no practical experience of what it`s like behind closed doors sitting with eleven people he`s never met and trying to decide what would probably be a life changing decision for an individual.
I`ve posted here more than a few times on problems with juries. Two such posts were 14th April 2015 and 13th February 2017. L.J. Singh is following very very slowly in well made footsteps as is the snail paced progression on the legal topic so common when a government and senior judiciary are walking on eggshells. He suggests eg that jurors should be presented with written information on presenting themselves for the forthcoming trial; my my, what a superb suggestion........no, more than that; what a brilliant suggestion that could only come from one so steeped in the law as a Court of Appeal Judge. Judges are just too afraid to grasp the...
Written parliamentary answers cost over £150.00. It is almost impossible to credit but recently a London Tory MP asked the purpose of supplying drinking water to witnesses at magistrates` courts. No! I couldn`t believe it at first. The proof of the pudding is copied below.
"So far there haven't been any prosecutions for FGM, so would you argue that the law about FGM should be done away with, too?" That question was put to me in comments made by a commenter to yesterday`s blogpost. It set me thinking. Should the law or should legislation be enacted by parliament to, using the easily understood colloquialism, make a statement? Take the example of early day motions which are motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons for which no day has been fixed. As there is no specific time allocated to EDMs very few are debated. However many attract a great deal of public interest and media coverage. EDMs are used to put on record the views of individual MPs or to draw attention to specific events or campaigns. Topics covered by EDMs vary widely.By attracting the signatures of other MPs they can be used to demonstrate the level of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view. MPs, especially those new to parliament, besides putting their cause in the public domain can put themselves...