Magistrates toughen up after police and MPs attack leniency sentencing

Magistrates appeared to be taking a stricter stance when sentencing rioters yesterday, following pressure from police chiefs and politicians who accused them of having been too lenient.

Almost all the defendants who faced charges at courts across England were told they would remain behind bars until their next appearance, in some cases at crown court.

It was in contrast to a day earlier where magistrates tended to bail all but the most serious offenders, handing out home curfews and electronic tags rather than further time in prison.

At Camberwell Green magistrates' court yesterday, a college student, who had no previous convictions, was jailed for six months for stealing a £3.50 case of bottled water. Nicolas Robinson, 23, of Borough, south-east London, stole the goods as he passed a Lidl supermarket in Brixton on Sunday night. He threw away the water when he saw police but was arrested and admitted the theft.

District Judge Alan Baldwin told him: "The burglary of commercial premises in circumstances such as this where substantial and wholesale public disorder has taken place is in effect what is commonly called looting."

District Judge Alan Berg launched an extraordinary attack on one defendant in Manchester magistrates' court.

He told the rioter: "People like you, who have all the benefits of this country which others, in other countries, would pray for – you bring shame and disgrace upon the country as a whole, and upon yourselves and your families. You do nothing constructive, all you do is destructive."

David Cameron told MPs in a statement that anyone charged with violent offences should not be bailed back on to the streets. He added that Parliament would act if courts needed new sentencing powers. The Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh had earlier said he and other senior officers were "disappointed" by sentences given to rioters, which they felt were too lenient.

Despite fears that keeping so many accused rioters behind bars would put undue strain on police cells, the Ministry of Justice insisted it had enough places for those held. By last night, 1,009 people had been arrested and 464 charged over the London riots, with more expected throughout the night and into today. Yesterday, only a handful were bailed. They included an unemployed chef, David O'Neill, who was charged with affray and racially aggravated abuse during riots in Sutton, Surrey, on Wednesday. But the 22-year-old, who the court heard was due to meet representatives from the Prince's Trust in his bid to win a grant to open a restaurant, claimed he needed to return to his council flat to fix his broken fridge for fear he would be evicted.

Meanwhile, the two people arrested in connection with the arson attack in on Reeves Furniture store in Croydon have been released. Police arrested a 15-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man last night on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. The teenager has been released on bail to a date to be fixed and the 25-year-old released with no further action being taken.

Another teenager to walk free from court was an 18-year-old Hackney student, David Attoh. He was caught on Monday with two Burberry T-shirts and admitted theft by finding, and was released with a £150 fine. A magistrate at Highbury Corner told him: "You have a bright future ahead of you, if you get into trouble again you are going to jeopardise that future."

David Walcott, 21, from Upper Norwood, south London, was alleged to have been among 150 youths seen hurling petrol bombs, fire extinguishers and stones at police during the riots in West Croydon on Monday night despite already being on bail for arson over a separate incident. He denied a charge of violent disorder and was remanded in custody until September.

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
News
news

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree is to be made into a series of films
film

Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree really is being made into a film

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
books

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London