Friday, 22 January 2010

Sometimes, The Magistrates Do Get It Right…

Council chiefs are fuming after a fly-tipper who dumped an old carpet in a street avoided a custodial sentence.
You wanted him sent to jail for littering…?!? And a single example of littering at that..?

Get a sense of proportion, you idiots!
Rodney Fisher, 28, could have been jailed for up to 12 months or been fined £50,000, after being caught fly-tipping in Clacton.

But he was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 costs at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.
Magistrates gone rogue?

Or perhaps they were a little irritated at the desire to hound a man for a comparatively small offence, when central government won’t let them lock up persistent thieves and people who assault others at will.

Maybe they'd seen a succession of people that day who had been charged with draconian offences for the most trivial of reasons, and had had enough?

Maybe they themselves had been in receipt of the snottily-worded council warning for leaving the bin lid an inch out of true, and just snapped?

Whatever it was, they weren't having any. The council, needless to say, threw an almighty tantrum:
Tendring Council took Fisher to court, and said it was “bitterly disappointed and let down” by the sentence.

Lynda McWilliams, councillor responsible for the environment, said: “This council takes fly-tipping very seriously and has recently appointed an officer in an attempt to investigate and prosecute those who are blighting our district by illegally dumping waste wherever they choose.

“I feel a conditional discharge is a very light sentence for this serious offence and is much less than we would have hoped for.”
What would you have hoped for, Lynda-with-a-y? Boiling in oil? The slaughter of his firstborn?
Acting head of environmental services, Chris Kitcher, said: “I feel bitterly disappointed over the sentence and feel we have been badly let down.”

It is the second time the council has brought a prosecution for fly-tipping.

On the previous occasion, a conditional discharge was also given, meaning the defendant isn’t punished unless they commit another offence.
And that didn’t teach you a lesson?
Mr Kitcher added: “We are putting considerable resources into investigating and prosecuting such cases, but we do not appear to be backed up by the courts in terms of sentencing.”
Well, perhaps you should reconsider how you deploy your resources in future…

6 comments:

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

So far, so good, for the Magistrates. To complete the job, they should issue warrants for the arrest of these council cancers and jail them for contempt.

Mud in the Blood said...

I know what you mean here but actually the council are probably right to be a bit miffed at this.
Tendring District Council have a relaxed attitude to domestic rubbish collection, no wheelie bins, we have mixed recycling collection and plenty of waste sites for the dumping of large or bulky items. In addition, they will collect for a reasonable fee and it will be picked up when they say. If you can get it into a black bag they will pick it up as part of the normal waste collection and there is no silly two bag limits or such like.

The magistrates got it right I don't dispute. I think that the council are frustrated partly by the fact that most of the fly tipping in Tendring is produced by an itinerant summer visitor engaged in tarmac laying and garden works etc. and are consequently untouchable. Some times the lay-bys are so full that we can't park the cars to go coursing!

Mr Grumpy said...

Not really with you on this one, Julia. Seems to me if you're not going to hand out an even remotely deterrent sentence on the rare occasions when somebody actually gets caught, you may as well repeal the law and let us all dump our stuff wherever we like. Just remind me where you live...

MTG said...

You may wish to test your thesis against the same outcome in private proceedings for illegal tipping on your own front lawn, JuliaM.

Roue le Jour said...

I think the key word in that article is "lorry". It does suggest the defendant was breaking the law for commercial purposes, and thus a non-trivial penalty would be appropriate.

On the other hand, if you really want a squeaky clean borough, take people's rubbish away for "free", i.e. included in the substantial charge already levied.

JuliaM said...

"Not really with you on this one, Julia. Seems to me if you're not going to hand out an even remotely deterrent sentence on the rare occasions when somebody actually gets caught, you may as well repeal the law and let us all dump our stuff wherever we like. Just remind me where you live..."

Oh, I fully agree that he should have got a higher fine.

My concern is with the attitude of the council that he should have got a custodial sentence for a single carpet!

Good grief, when you can leave court with a community punishment for assault, that's a bit rich...

"On the other hand, if you really want a squeaky clean borough, take people's rubbish away for "free"..."

It does seem as though Tendring carry out their duties in this regard, from Mud in the Blood's comment.