Ludicrously light sentencing

The justice system in the UK and abroad

Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Kevin R » 26 Feb 2014, 15:06

I see in the news today that the ludicrous four year sentence of the thug Lewis Gill is to be re-examined and possibly sent to appeal.

With a single punch to the head, 20 year old Gill caused the death of 40 year old Andrew Young who was merely remonstrating peacefully with Gill's friend about the dangers of riding a bicycle on the pavement outside a Tesco store in Bournemouth.last year. The sentence given was four years, but it looks as if he would have been out in two. Gill had already been on a suspended sentence for robbery.

The genius behind this penal inspiration? Why.. one Mr Justice Keith Cutler, a lay-canon at Salisbury cathedral. A man who probably never samples the horrors of thug Britain in his daily peripetations, or even has an inkling of what it signifies in the outer world beyond the sequestered precincts of ecclessia and aboreal suburb.
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Gavin » 25 Apr 2014, 10:27

London woman Susan Savage banned from keeping equines for only three years after subjecting horse to neglect and cruelty.
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Paul » 30 Apr 2014, 00:04

In October 2011, I suffered an attempted (though they did gain access) burglary at my work premises.

It was quite unique - compared to the several other burglaries I've suffered over the last 25 years (and more), and the vehicle thefts, vehicle crime and general vandalism over the same period. The unique factor was that the Police got involved.

At around 2am one Saturday morning my home telephone rang. In these days of mobile (cell) phones, this is unusual, especially at that hour. I was just asleep but was awakened. By the time I made my way blearily to the phone, it just rang off. Typical. The call display read 'Private' - meaning a withheld number. In itself this is far from unusual (dozens of spam calls per week), but at that hour even Indian call centres don't tend to ring with meaningless offers, in my experience. The Police also withhold their number. I began to feel faintly uneasy. Of course, one cannot dial back a withheld number.

As I was dazedly wondering what to do, the phone rang again. It was my Mother. I knew then, with a sinking feeling, what was coming next. The Police have my Mother as a second contact number for work so that is what had happened. I just felt the faint twinges of support in that at least the Police were doing a thorough job - all to no avail of course, being after the event. The likelihood of further pursuit is negligible, I am afraid to say - that I thought - as do most British people now.

So the Police had phoned to report that a burglary had taken place at the premises. By this time I was already fast awakening and plotting such simple things as - shoes, car keys, flashlight......... Weapon? Goodness me No. But what if? These are the times I rue no longer having a big German Shepherd Dog.

Mother rang off and as I was fumbling about, adrenaline beginning to flow, the phone rang again. It was the Police control room again. Good job I have to say. I quickly established to the Police operator that I was aware of the situation and was on my way. She then explained that the Police had made three arrests and the detainees were off to custody as we speak. However, the premises had been breached but the Police on the ground had surrounded the building and called them out to be arrested. By threatening to send the (bogus) Police dog into the building (a common police ruse I'm told) I was later informed.

I was astonished, truly. Police actually there at the time of the crime? Arrests made? Case solved? Theft prevented? I was also highly elated, even though I realised there would be inevitable damage to premises. The operator explained that the two officers who made the arrests had now driven the culprits away to the Police station and unfortunately were not able to secure the premises or supply extra personnel to stand guard. That's completely understandable and we all know how stretched are the Police. I assured her I was on my way. It's only about a mile or just less. I reflected it was fortunate I hadn't been drinking. I do not regularly drink alcohol or in fact hardly at all. This is also fortunate.

I drove there. It is off a short street and near a narrow stream and parkland. It is pitch dark in the undergrowth beyond. Quiet at that time of morning and eerie. Cold too. Gosh, how much does one need a dog in these situations, just for ears and general senses towards alertness?

As I unlocked the front door, tentatively, I noticed a strange and eerie (!) glow inside. Just a beam of it, a strange and ethereal light, a blueish white. It made me hesitate in the doorway. It seemed to be just emanating from a bench on the right-hand wall and hitting the wall itself. I shifted position to try to work out where the reflection (for such it must be) was coming from. The beam never moved and it was just uncanny. The main light switch is to the right of the front door on the front gable wall and is a master switch that will flood the building with fluorescent lighting. I moved quite quickly indeed and hit that switch.

Everything seemed fine. There was nobody inside though it is a long building (80 feet) and I couldn't immediately see every nook and cranny, nor into the washroom or behind it. I closed the door behind me and advanced within. It turned out that the eerie glow was one of those little modern lights that cyclists have or one can get them with a head strap for all kinds of peering at things and exploration. They are these modern bulbs and filaments and emit a blueish-white light. I've forgotten what they are called.

A little curio for the UK is that cycling with these lamps alone is technically an offence - if it's dark. That's because they are not 'incandescent' bulbs, which the Road Traffic Act states they must be. I wonder how many Policemen know that - and would it be worth completing 43 forms to instigate a prosecution?

This little cycle lamp - in fact it was a head-strap variety - to which I immediately realised what a useful tool they are for burglars, was on top of the bench, still switched on and beaming against the wall, a pencil-thin beam of ghostly light. I went to turn it off and then realised not to touch it. I picked it up with the strap with a pair of pliers and set it aside. Then I discovered a single glove on the floor nearby. It wasn't a glove I recognised. I pliered that aside and put it with the lamp.

The burglars had broken in through a rear door or rather alongside it. The frame was damaged and pushed inwards but they had also peeled away the steel cladding alongside it and smashed through the framing behind that. Near the breach was a collection of tools and equipment, stacked up ready to be stolen. Several thousand pounds worth to replace. What a relief. I put everything back in place over the next 30 minutes. By this time it was past 3am and very cold.

I couldn't leave the premises in that condition. I couldn't begin repairs because there are residential houses within 50 yards and the noise would be prohibitive. There wasn't much I could do. I took the rather neat opportunity to do some much-needed tidying up and re-arranging and general minor tasks. Even a vacuum-cleaner sounds terribly loud however, at that time in the morning. I relied on a broom. As much as anything, the activity kept me warm, or warmer.

Around 5am the Police reappeared. It was the two officers who made the arrests. It turned out that a local resident had been out walking his dog around 1am and had heard the break-in, and then phoned the Police. To this day I have never found out who this person was, which is a shame.

Miraculously (though I should not be cynical) some Police happened to be close by. They responded to the call from Control. When they got there, one culprit outside tried to make away in the undergrowth but was apprehended. Two more were inside the building. The Police called through the breach and threatened to let the dog in. They had no dog they smilingly told me. I beamed at them. Fine work and how terribly exciting. I wish I had been there! The three culprits were now in custody in the station and were to be interviewed later in the morning. They were all young males, known to the Police and there were apparently other matters that they were to be spoken about as well.

I was asked to make a statement. I have to say it is laborious, for the Police. The statement ran to about six pages of A4 when really there isn't that much to say. The officer was writing furiously, and prompting me what to say. Police are as skilled as secretaries of old as much as they are at other more traditional police skills. Everything has to be perfect and every i and t dotted and crossed. Most of this attitude is silly and I'm sure the Police think so too, although silly is maybe not the word they would use. But then again, I'm not a legal expert and shouldn't be finding fault.

I was asked as to the cost of the damage. Well I'm not sure obviously and privately I considered the matter futile anyway. The damage would be repaired by myself. Apart from the cost I trust my work as much as anyone else and will obviously go the extra mile because it is in my interest to do so. But I have no faith it will come to anything. Why? That's how I feel. I've been let down before and I'm not blaming the Police there. You don't really expect redress these days - or any days in my experience. The people involved won't have any money anyway.

So material cost? A hundred pounds I said, a little hopefully. The officer scribbled it down without quibble. Who knows what the Police are thinking? But it was a fair figure. On paper I might make a small profit - not counting labour and all night spent out of bed, on cold duty, nor of any 'psychological trauma'. I feel stupid even saying the latter. This is life.

The Police were very polite and sympathetic. They asked what I did there and seemed interested. They admitted they never knew the place existed. It is a little tucked away, very pleasant without the criminal element. Officer number two seemed fascinated with the centre lathe. I should have set it running and talked him through the controls. Policemen these days are only young and won't be able to imagine these things exist.

I showed them the glove and the light and explained the circumstances. They were impressed and bagged the articles in their special bags. We exchanged goodwill and they left, saying that someone from Victim Support would be in touch in due time. At this point it was about 6am.

I waited until 9am was past and began repairs. I completed the job more or less on the stroke of midday. Just as I was about to leave, and I was very tired by now, another police officer arrived - a female. She was a Scene-of-Crime officer and had arrived for further evidence. She took some photographs of the obvious repair and of the general area was pleased to hear of the glove and lamp and promised finger-printing. I was both astonished and very pleased.

To my further astonishment I got a letter, about two weeks later, from HM Court Services which informed me that Mr X, Y and Z (but it stated their full names - unknown to me) had been convicted at the Magistrate's Court and ordered to each pay me £34 in compensation. One of them was jailed for other offences in addition, whilst the the other two received non-custodial sentences. Sigh. All the defendants were aged about 19 -22. I had to return a slip, upon which I would insert various details including a bank account number. Very efficient I thought. This is completely new territory for me. I eagerly despatched the slip in the postage-paid return envelope. This was now November 2011.

Nothing to my knowledge then happened for some time and I admit I half-forgot about it. About 3 bank statements later (3 months) I noticed a credit of £17 and wondered what it was. I then realised it was a BACS transfer from HMCS. One of the defendants has paid half his dues I surmised. Right then - but what about the others? I admit that time then passed in its usual swift fashion and has continued to pass until this week with no further deposits having occurred to my knowledge.

The other day I got a letter from HMCS. One of the defendants is currently in jail - again. The authorities have unearthed evidence that he still owes me just less than £34 - in fact £32.44. It turns out that he has apparently paid me (or HMCS) £1.56 some time ago. I haven't noticed this on a bank statement - yet. He has made an appeal through his (free) legal counsel to have the compensation order 'lodged' - which turns out to be a request that the order be taken into account when he comes before a court (again) for even more offences and instead of paying me, he serves a prison sentence in lieu of - concurrent to any other sentence he receives of course and so in effect he serves nothing! This is stated in the letter.

I have the opportunity to make comments and representations about this, to be received by HMCS before May 23rd. There is no mention of the other two defendants. One of them, so it seems hasn't paid me anything. This particular culprit mentioned in the letter has managed £1.56 in roughly two and a half years. Now he wants to be absolved of paying the rest.

As you can imagine........
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Charlie » 08 May 2014, 05:49

You can draw your own conclusions, but this sentence caught my eye this morning. It's from the "Skull Cracker"case:

Wheatley ... had been given 13 life sentences but was eligible for release after eight years.


Release after eight years? Was that to reward his 'good behaviour' while inside? After all, he did phone his Mum regularly...
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Gavin » 08 May 2014, 07:02

I believe 13 life sentences should have been 325 years. But actually a "life" sentence should mean life, otherwise it shouldn't be called that. Not only did they give him an absurdly light term but they let him escape.

I really hope there is a clean out of the criminal and legal profession in the future and a governmental department is dedicated to researching these cases retrospectively and people are brought to book. There will be so many to deal with though, among local councils, the CPS, magistrates, human rights lawyers...
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Andrea » 08 May 2014, 08:17

That's something I'll never understand about the UK - these ridiculous sentencing. If you want real justice - bring back the death penalty, not a cushy cell where you can select what you eat, etc. The only reason harsher sentencing (i.e. correct sentencing) was stopped was because of the rise in soft, liberal ideology. Has this reduced crime? Nope.
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Jonathan » 08 May 2014, 21:01

What I can't understand is the wholly fraudulent wording in judicial terms. What does it mean that a man serving a first sentence of one year is also serving a second sentence of one month 'concurrently'? It is perfectly obvious that he is serving nothing of the second sentence. Otherwise, why shouldn't he serve his first sentence in 12 parts concurrently and get out in one month? Why not in 365 parts? If I buy a new dishwasher for $1000, can I also buy a washing machine 'concurrently' with the same $1000? Argh.

Another term I've come across is 'taken into consideration'. This seems to mean that when a person is being sentenced for crime A, he will also confess to crimes B, C, and D, for which he will receive no sentence, or possibly receive one which will be served 'concurrently' with the first one (see above). Effectively, this means that crimes B, C, and D are ignored, but the term used to describe this is 'taken into consideration'.

I can wrap my mind around a wholly debased judiciary, but a wholly debased judicial language? How have people gotten used to these terms?
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Paul » 08 May 2014, 22:41

Jonathan wrote:What I can't understand is the wholly fraudulent wording in judicial terms. What does it mean that a man serving a first sentence of one year is also serving a second sentence of one month 'concurrently'? It is perfectly obvious that he is serving nothing of the second sentence. Otherwise, why shouldn't he serve his first sentence in 12 parts concurrently and get out in one month? Why not in 365 parts? If I buy a new dishwasher for $1000, can I also buy a washing machine 'concurrently' with the same $1000? Argh.

Another term I've come across is 'taken into consideration'. This seems to mean that when a person is being sentenced for crime A, he will also confess to crimes B, C, and D, for which he will receive no sentence, or possibly receive one which will be served 'concurrently' with the first one (see above). Effectively, this means that crimes B, C, and D are ignored, but the term used to describe this is 'taken into consideration'.

I can wrap my mind around a wholly debased judiciary, but a wholly debased judicial language? How have people gotten used to these terms?


Known as TIC's (tee-eye-sees) - taken into consideration. I'd forgotten about those, having not heard the term for some years. A couple of cops down the years (I played cricket with a few over the years - and their sons) have told me of thieves (meaning burglars as well as shop-lifters) having dozens, or in some cases hundreds of similar offences TIC'd at court. I don't think it's done with Offences against the Person or weaponry but property offences can be taken into consideration by the score. How depressing.

The main reason for it is a clearing-up of crime statistics by and for the Police. Eagerly encouraged or even demanded, inevitably, by the government of the day. All of them, of all stripes really. And of course, if the judicial system had punished every single offence by every person throughout, the prison system would likely have collapsed some decades ago - rather then be on the brink now (meaning the last 30 years or more). It's just all corruption really.

It comes to my mind that we may just well be a criminally inclined nation, or at least as many of us so as to make a sizeable percentage. A good chunk of them are our rulers and those who really should know better. We might be a nation of shopkeepers, but that's only half of us. The other half are shoplifters. The Duke of Wellington had a thing or two to say about it too.

I can never understand why some sentences are handed down concurrently when you do hear of other sentences served consecutively. I think judges hands are tied by certain regulations and they can't just do as they please.

I've been told that if someone gets say four sentences of three years, but served concurrently, they are recorded as having received 12 years in prison. But they only serve three - which means they only serve 18 months - which means they only serve maybe 15 months in prison (3 months on electronic tag and curfew at home) - six or more of which may be served in 'open' conditions. So they maybe only serve about nine months in a real jail. Any time they spend on remand before trial is discounted, including each and every day in the initial custody of the Police, beginning from the time of arrest. Those days with the Police still count (as discount) even if the accused is released on bail by the Police only to be later jailed by the court. It seems every single attempt is made to allow people to avoid time in jail.

This is the case when we see those sort of newspaper headlines that proclaim - '178 years worth of jail sentences were handed down to a gang of criminals'. When you read closer it may turn out that two chaps got ten years, one got five, two got six months and a load more were given 'community sentences'. But in total, their concurrent sentences were 178 years. That's not too far an exaggeration, if at all. I've seen dozens of such headlines over the years.

I am in much doubt that the fines system is enforced with too much rigour now. I can easily imagine people simply ignoring fines. Once upon a time, arrest warrants for non-payment were issued without too much delay and the Police would enforce them, even down to staking out a dwelling for hours awaiting the 'fugitive'. They would be swooped upon, arrested, brought to court the next day and often jailed, excuses notwithstanding. I can remember reading about that in the local press regularly. I have a mind that that was in the 1980s - in Thatcher's era. Now, there is no chance. The Police could not possibly be able or expected to deal with this.

The matter could linger on for years I should think. Eventually it could be written off, as in lieu of yet another concurrent sentence. I've heard of this happening among recidivist criminals. When they eventually get to a court accused of a 'serious' offence most of them inevitably have fines outstanding from previous courts and so-called minor offences (stealing your car for eg). These fines are routinely 'written off' by having a (concurrent) custodial sentence applied in respect of the fines. It's quite generous too I believe. An outstanding amount of fines for say £1000 can be 'written off' by maybe 14 days imprisonment - of which you would only serve half - except for the fact it isn't served anyway because it's concurrent.
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Kevin R » 10 Jun 2014, 18:48

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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Charlie » 12 Aug 2014, 16:48

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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Kevin R » 12 Aug 2014, 17:46




Apart from the ludicrous lack of any effective punitive measures, I'm wondering how a woman with eighteen previous convictions, (presumably many for assault), has even managed to remain employed, never mind obtaining the job in the first place. Such a litany would surely provoke doubts in any recruiting procedure carried out by her employer? Or is it that most offences were perpetrated whilst in juvenile passage, and not accessible to detection during said recruitment? This also suggests she never disclosed it to her employer. So either her mendacity kept it from any preliminary check, or she craftily kept it hidden from the workplace once employment had been secured. Either way, this compounds her dubious character, which surely she now cannot conceal from the world. Who would want such a volatile person on their staff?
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Paul » 12 Aug 2014, 23:21

It's all there:

'mental health services' - complicit to a degree, certainly to her next crime.

'cognitive analytical therapy' - see above.

'anger management programme' - weak, ineffectual punishment. Of greater benefit to the 'professionals' employed in that system.

'community work' - ditto the above to some degree. Maybe moderate benefits in some cases, though little in real terms to 'the community'.

Soviet Britain, a shadow of itself.

'struggled' to manage her temper since childhood - has but one real answer. Never any discipline, neither at home, nor at school, nor from the authorities at the first and every subsequent opportunity. Same story again here.
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Jonathan » 13 Aug 2014, 17:51

It's as if her temper is external to her in some way, not a part of her character which makes her dangerous. It's some sort of resistant parasite, and she's gone through three courses of antibiotics (read: anger management sessions) but regrettably it hasn't gone away - not her fault, certainly.
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Charlie » 29 Aug 2014, 17:21

I’ve just read the story, via the site’s Twitter feed, about this man’s early release.

Apart from his disgusting behaviour, which is described in the report, what does it say about the justice system in this country if it agreed to release him after “just nine months”?

It’s an absolute disgrace.
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Re: Ludicrously light sentencing

Postby Charlie » 26 Sep 2014, 20:45

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