Saturday 29 October 2011

Just Pointless Paperwork..?

Phillip Belcher, 22, was found guilty at Southampton Crown Court of racially-aggravated assault against a worker at a home at Stoney Cross in the New Forest where he was resident at the time.
Now, I don’t think that care workers should just have to suffer abuse or violence in their line of work, but surely taking this man through the criminal justice system is a nonsense?

Especially if it’s not his first offence anyway, and it seems it isn’t:
The court also heard how Belcher, who was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, had attacked another care worker while he was in a residential centre in Newport, Wales.
We aren’t told what sort of ‘home’ this is, but clearly if he’s not considered able to fend for himself, how is he mentally competent to stand trial?
In sparing Belcher, who now lives in Wales, a jail term, judge Peter Henry warned him he was on his last chance. He was given a 12-month community order.
Why should a jail place be taken up by someone who is clearly ‘mad’ even if not in the legal sense?

Is it just so it’s recorded somewhere?


Captain Haddock said...

Its "ticks in boxes" time all round .. everyone's a winner ..

MTG said...

It may be a legacy of CPS 'target setting' these very proceedings.

I have attended meetings organised by CPS in Leeds and Huddersfield, simply because their advertising was selectively directed to the Asian community. In the course of those meetings it became clear that the CPS agenda was far more political than judicial.

I was never content with police making prosecution decisions but only fools trust CPS in the role.

Woman on a Raft said...

It isn't the first time this has happened - you've definitely covered it before in relation to a girl in similar circumstances.

There is an argument that at the borderline, the level of mental capacity for criminal responsibility is established and that there is enough control of personal actions and understanding of the situation to warrant a criminal case.

Goodness knows where that line should be drawn.

I think this is the facility: Ocknell Park deals with complex needs, so perhaps Belcher should have been in a different unit.

That link gives brief definitions of what they can cope with. The conditions are not all the same in terms of the mental capacity required to control behaviour. Some of those conditions it would be a complete waste of time to prosecute, while others - such as depression - should not be treated as a ticket to beat up other people.

MTG is correct about the CPS and its increasingly political stance.

JuliaM said...

"In the course of those meetings it became clear that the CPS agenda was far more political than judicial."

Not fit for purpose.

"Goodness knows where that line should be drawn. "

Oh, I agree it's a puzzle. But isn't that what we pay them the huge salaries to work out?