Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New blog - Arsehole Justice

Hi *waves*. I'm pissed off about the rushed hearings and spate of disproportionate sentencing I've seen following the UK riots of last week. This has prompted me to start a new blog which I've titled "Arsehole Justice", where I feel more free to express the scorn and vitriol I'm feeling towards the ludicrous prosecutions and ridiculous judgements that have been passed down. Jurists have been acting out in ways that make some of these defendants seem like model citizens by comparison. It really is chilling. Look at this excerpt from the Guardian:

In sentencing four other convicted Manchester rioters, a crown court judge, Andrew Gilbart QC, made clear why he was disregarding sentencing guidelines when he said "the offences of the night of 9 August … takes them completely outside the usual context of criminality".

"The principal purpose is that the courts should show that outbursts of criminal behaviour like this will be and must be met with sentences longer than they would be if the offences had been committed in isolation," he said. "For those reasons, I consider that the sentencing guidelines for specific offences are of much less weight in the context of the current case, and can properly be departed from."

This is just such a ludicrous thing to say, and any qualified jurist, let alone a Crown Court judge, ought to know better. It makes a mockery of proportionality, which is an absolutely fundamental principle in British justice, indeed in any decent justice system. These knee-jerk responses to some genuinely terrible events are the real tragedy because they undermine the legitimacy of the courts and ignore their actual principal purpose, which first and foremost is to protect the innocent. As I've said over on Arsehole Justice, nothing takes an offence "completely outside the usual context of criminality." Nothing. There are sentencing guidelines that have evolved to meet the challenges of law enforcement and take into account both mitigating and aggravating factors. To dismiss these guidelines is to flush any notion of justice down the toilet. I happen to think that justice and the rule of law are important, and so I will not stand for it. If you feel the same way then perhaps you'd like to become a contributor. Let me know.

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