gets in a tizz about the new ‘Judge Dredd’ style regime of harsh sentencing iDave has apparently brought in:
When Tory MPs warn of threats to civil liberties, you know things have got quite bad: James Clappison, a senior member of the Commons home affairs committee, warned of "rushed justice" following this paper's revelation that the police had devised an on-the-hoof policy of refusing bail to anyone arrested on a riot-related offence.
Oh noes! The courts might start getting tougher! They might be like they used to be, when there were consequences!
This prisoner processing strategy (it is four pages long, but boils down to "don't let them out") was plain, but as yet undisclosed, on 10 August, in Westminster magistrates' court: I went along to see the first cases being processed overnight.
Shame you'll lose beauty sleep, but hey, it's a tough job!
Journalists weren't allowed in the youth court, so these defendants were a little older than you might imagine, picturing a classic rioter.
It'd be interesting to get a numerical breakdown of the riot demographic, wouldn't it? I suspect most of those caught so far have fallen into this category, rather than the 'classic rioter' one...
The first was a paranoid schizophrenic called Martin Burton, who had been caught stealing a mirror from a domestic property (there was a question mark over whether or not the resident was known to him); when his own residence was searched, he had an Oyster card not registered to him, and couldn't explain how he came about it. He was refused bail. He had nothing to do with the riots; it was just bad luck that he happened to be arrested on 7 August.
Just bad luck? Well, no. He's a thief.
…it is now an undisputed tenet of criminal justice: paranoid schizophrenics should, generally, not be in prison. And that being the case, should they be remanded in custody over the possession of an Oyster card not registered to them and the theft of a mirror? Would he have been remanded in custody in a different atmosphere?
No, probably not. But should he be left alone to try to manage his condition as best he can, with little or no support? That seems to be a far more important question to ask.
The second case was sadder still. It featured Michael Alvin Watson, whose face was undulated with tumours. His body and feet were in the same condition. "But I won't ask him to remove his clothes," his counsel sensitively declared. His alleged crime – to which he pleaded not guilty – was riot-related: he was accused of poking his hand through a broken window and stealing cigarettes of "unknown value", but there was no suggestion he'd broken the window, or been part of the crowd that had looted the shop.
Well, technically, he WAS 'part of the crowd that looted the shop'! You can't draw a distinction because he did it long after everyone else!
His tumours were undiagnosed. He was in the middle of a course of drugs to gird his strength, at the end of which doctors would be able to do more exploratory work. He was homeless. I'm not sure what the medical term is: the layman's term is "completely fucked". He was refused bail.
Well, here, I'd normally say that at least he'll get his medical treatment in jail, but that was before this
This is what it looks like when processes are changed in a panic: not just a bunch of arrogant scofflaws, astonished to find society finally standing up to them; but also a luckless brigade, dealt yet more terrible luck, serving more time on remand than they would ever normally be sentenced to on conviction.
A 'luckless brigade'. Of thieves and other thieves. I'm not convinced, Zoe. And neither are most of your commenters...
Most of the commenters do seem to be on the ball. How do people get paid to write such rubbish?
CERN are currently hard at work on a new generation of particle accelerators to see if they can probe down to the length scale where a violin small enough to convey how much of a shit I give about these wasters could possibly exist.
Is Zoe Williams saying that the real culprits weren't caught and dealt with?
In which case, I heartily agree. While the courts deal with a few riff-raff the real vermin has scurried away and is giggling in their gutters at how clever they are.
Or is the good angel Zoe saying that there are always excuses for bad behaviour. Er, yes, but then as the left has always proffered excuses (Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin and the rest of their favourite riff-raff) for atrocious actions then it is hardly surprising we hear this again.
And again, and again...
Not progressives - regressives.
David Gillies I think I love you :-) xxxx safe word = dicask !!!!
I'm not sure which is worse- her appalling sociopolitical stance or her appalling cliched, overlong and under thought out writing style.
"stick to his guns"? "phenomenal beauty"? Someone buy the girl a thesaurus, please. Oh my bad, maybe they have already- when do you last recall someone last using the word 'scofflaw'? Why not "malefactour" while we're at it...t'would be a higher word score if nothing else.
Our J00Lz could have written the entire piece in a paragraph...
Hey Zoe dearest, did your journalism professor not tell you that only (weak) writers (over-)use parentheses? A good sentence needs no brackets...except in the case of Tyburn.
Crucifixions would be good. Starting in Leeds and adorning lamposts right up to the palace gates.
Whilst somebody fetches the nails, let us imagine being cast adrift on the great Ocean of Hypocrisy. How difficult it would be to share a lifeboat with the dregs of economy class; ungrateful chavs not only expectant of the same water rations but doing unmentionables, like pilfering food and relieving themselves of gas when the wind was in the wrong direction.
We would fall back on our better sense of summary justice and not falter throwing the bally lot overboard. More cake, anyone?
A schizophrenic, judgey boy missed an oppotunity to fine one and send the other to the stockade.
"Most of the commenters do seem to be on the ball. How do people get paid to write such rubbish?"
Wish I knew!
"CERN are currently hard at work on a new generation of particle accelerators to see if they can probe down to the length scale where a violin small enough to convey how much of a shit I give about these wasters could possibly exist."
"In which case, I heartily agree. While the courts deal with a few riff-raff the real vermin has scurried away and is giggling in their gutters at how clever they are."
Inevitably, I'd say, in wide-scale disorder like this, where the police take a 'hands off and we'll sweep up later' stance...
"A schizophrenic, judgey boy missed an oppotunity to fine one and send the other to the stockade.
Anyone else sense a lot of "fake but true" in this article?
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