Thursday, 25 August 2011

England, The Land Of No (Or Few) Consequences…

Two recent Southampton Court cases:
A drunken senior sales assistant was spared an immediate prison sentence after she had broken another woman’s arm and bit a doorman.
I fail to see why. Well, other than the usual ‘it was the drink wot done it!’ excuses.
Recorder Nicholas Atkinson QC, who heard Ms Morris was “immobilised” for six weeks as a result of the fracture, gave her a nine month suspended sentence coupled with orders to complete 200 hours unpaid work for the community and pay £350 costs.
Not quite sure what ‘work for the community’ would be suitable, mind you.

And then there’s this:
A yob who put dozens of lives in danger when he hurled a bike on to train tracks causing an explosion has been warned he is facing jail.
And yes, it’s the demon drink again:
David Jenkins, in mitigation, told how Thornton, of Tatwin Crescent, Thornhill, Southampton, had been drinking “a cocktail of beer, cider and other matters” all day. He added: “There isn’t a day that goes by when he does not drink. I don’t know if he has drunk this morning but it would not surprise me if he had.”
When are we going to stop regarding drink and drugs as mitigation?

9 comments:

Henry Crun said...

It's the old "diminished responsibility" defence.

If anything, crimes committed under the influence of drink or drugs should carry stiffer penalties.

Temperance 7 said...

"When are we going to stop regarding drink and drugs as mitigation? "

When we stop seeing drinking and drugging as an important, acceptable facet of life.

I worked at one place where every Monday morning I was told by several people that they had had a good weekend solely because they had 'got totally smashed/bladdered/pissed/stoned' and it was always told with a smirk as if this was what life was about and I must therefore admire their lack of control.

In time, I stopped asking but the evidence was they didn't stop having 'good' weekends.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the lenient penalties given out for drink related offences are part of the multi pronged attack to demonise alcohol. It's the Helegian Dialectic.

Captain Haddock said...

I'm sure that either Mr or Mrs Timney could find something for her to do, even one-handed ..

SBC said...

"When are we going to stop regarding drink and drugs as mitigation? "

Probably around the time we stop believing that it's safe to drive with even a small amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.

Or maybe about the time we finally realize that it isn't just the 'others' and that *you* can't handle your drink- you just *think* you can.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a lifetime's addiction to booze away from being anti-alcohol. I'd relax all the licensing laws and slash the obscene levels of duty.

But we as a society need to finally wake up to the fact that alcohol is an addictive MIND ALTERING narcotic-no different than any other.

There is no such thing as 'responsible drinking' just responsible drinkers!

John Pickworth said...

I think the courts and their servants need to see alcohol and drugs as aggravating factors rather than mitigating ones.

The question should be: "Would this person have done this deed if sober?" If no, then they should be punished not only for the crime but also for the fact that their prior actions contributed it. A kind double crime if you will.

Overnight, you'd see defence teams changing their tunes to "Oh no your Worship, my client hadn't touched a drop. He merely spilled a glass of wine upon his shirt and accepts he was fully responsible for his crime".

English Viking said...

I'm always amazed by this defence, and it must be a deliberate ploy to bring in more booze restrictions.

'Your Honour, I'm afraid my client cannot be held responsible for GBH and assaulting a Police Officer, as he was drunk and disorderly at the time.'

Insane.

JuliaM said...

"If anything, crimes committed under the influence of drink or drugs should carry stiffer penalties."

Agreed.

"When we stop seeing drinking and drugging as an important, acceptable facet of life. "

There are still far, far more people who don't than who do. Luckily.

"I'm sure that either Mr or Mrs Timney could find something for her to do, even one-handed .."

:D

JuliaM said...

"But we as a society need to finally wake up to the fact that alcohol is an addictive MIND ALTERING narcotic-no different than any other."

Agreed. Apart from the crucial difference that you can buy it legally.

"The question should be: "Would this person have done this deed if sober?" If no, then they should be punished not only for the crime but also for the fact that their prior actions contributed it. A kind double crime if you will."

Now, that, I do like the sound of.

"I'm always amazed by this defence, and it must be a deliberate ploy to bring in more booze restrictions."

I'd hope they aren't that long-sighted, but I suspect they are.