Letter: Covert police tactics beyond legal control

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The Independent Online
Sir: When a burglar broke into our house, he was soon disturbed by my daughter, who arrived just after him. They saw each other just before he climbed back out of the kitchen window. Total damage about pounds 80 and a frightened and still nervous young woman. She later identified him from photographs at the police station and picked him out of an identity parade.

Not only did he claim his right to trial by jury, but he also got it postponed at the last minute because one of his witnesses was ill. The eventual trial started one day and finished the next; there was a unanimous verdict of guilty and, although this was not his first offence, a sentence of 10 hours of community service - after three visits to court by barristers, solicitors, police and witnesses.

The magistrates would have cost us far less and might have produced a more appropriate sentence.

GW STANNERS

Redditch, Worcestershire

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