Magistrates reject riot criticisms
Monday 29 August 2011
Magistrates have rejected accusations from the leader of Britain's prison governors that there has been a "feeding frenzy" in sentencing after the recent riots.
Eoin McLennan-Murray, president of the Prison Governors Association (PGA), claimed that magistrates had lost all sense of proportion.
"It's like when you've got sharks and there's blood in the water and it's a feeding frenzy," he told The Independent on Sunday.
"There's a sentencing frenzy and we seem to have lost all sight of proportionality.
"It's appealing to the populist mentality, and that's not the best basis on which to sentence people. The norms of sentencing are being ignored."
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr McLennan-Murray said there had been a seven-fold increase in the use of remand.
He said this was putting pressure on prison places, adding: "This kind of speedy across-the-board justice probably means a number of people are dealt with unfairly."
But Magistrates' Association chairman John Thornhill said the claims were "unreasonable and unfounded".
He told Today it was "just not the case" that normal sentencing was being ignored.
"The sentencing guidelines are very clear. Let's remember that these are serious offences. In most cases people are charged with burglary and in some cases aggravated burglary," he said.
"In a very short period of time far more people - a seven-fold number - were arrested for seven-fold the amount of serious offences. So it would be expected we would have seven-fold sentencing."
He added the criticism of magistrates was "totally misdirected" because "the vast majority of sentences have been imposed by the professional judiciary, not by the lay magistrates".
Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
The 13 obscure UK laws you didn’t know you were breaking
Teenager dies after suspected ice bucket challenge goes horribly wrong
Car tax disc changes: Make sure you know the new rules from 1 October or risk £1,000 fine
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 36-year-old skeleton of dead baby found inside Indian woman
- 3 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 4 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- 5 The 13 obscure UK laws you didn’t know you were breaking
- < Previous
- Next >