Sunday, October 19, 2014

Déjà Vu Once More

In a response to press comment on a number of trolling cases, in which people avail themselves of the anonymity afforded by the Internet, the Government has waved its big stick and threatens to increase the maximum sentence for this obnoxious form of bullying to two years' imprisonment. The politicos have been rewarded with Sunday morning headlines, as they presumably wished, but what will this achieve - really?

A saddo sitting in his bedroom late at night is hardly going to make a reasoned decision to desist from abusing total strangers because in the vanishingly unlikely event of his being caught the maximum sentence has just shot up. The sentencing court will of course have to have regard to the Guidelines, which rarely if ever point to the maximum sentence for anything. Lazy and ill-trained journalists love to point to potential maximum sentences to sex up a headline, although we all know that these will not be imposed. As I have pointed out before the maximum penalty for a straightforward drink-drive is a fine of £5000, plus six months inside, plus an indefinite driving ban. I very much doubt that this has ever been imposed. but it keeps the journos happy.

Sorry, but this is yet another knee-jerk reaction. With an election in the offing there will be many more, equally ill-advised and equally useless.

17 comments:

  1. The reality is that no penalty, no matter how severe, will stop crime when the likelihood of being caught is so low. Too many offenders are never detected, or if caught there is too little evidence to secure conviction.

    We need to look more at how we detect and prove crime, then there will be a realistic deterrent. Magistrates (and Judges) can do nothing unless the offenders are put before them.

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  2. Look on the bright side: While pointless, and a waste of time, at least this knee-jerk reaction is not actively harmful.

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  3. Should trolls be prosecuted, when it is so simple to neutralize them, just deleting their - contributions-? In every italian town there is usually at least one nuttie abroad, forever wandering in the streets in the quest of a bone to pick with anyone who'll respond. I suppose the occasional rumpus makes them feel better, less passed by by ordinary life. They are fundamentally harmless. In my place there's one old man who keeps the sabbath his own way: he spends all Sundays and religious festivities walking up and down the centre town (where churches are one every 100 yds and he's sure to meet plenty of Mass goers) adorned sandwich man-like with posters inscribed with bitterly abusive slogans against priests and religion. He's otherwise quite quiet and well behaved. Noone really minds. It does take all sorts...

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    1. Mr. Toad in Toad Hall.

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  4. It's not all that "Knee-Jerk" either - it was in a Bill in he middle of 2014...

    It's not a "new" announcement.

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    1. Ah, but the lumpenproletariat, not to mention most journos, won't be aware of that, so announcing it twice (or even three times) at intervals will get you the desired headlines again, and possibly again. It must gladden a minsterial press officer's heart.

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  5. Rather than making new laws it might help if the current laws were enforced.
    Another pathetic step to criminalising everything rather than tackling the problem head on.
    A straight forward ban on being allowed internet access or ban owning a mobile phone might be more helpful.

    Does this sort of stuff ever need to bother the Crown Court??? I doubt.

    A totally political utterance with little substance

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  6. Can't wait for the first person to come into my police station demanding that her ex-best mate Chantelle gets two years in prison for calling her a slag on Facebook!
    Jaded

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  7. I get the very strong feeling that there are a lot of laws that are created to appease the media after some particular incident, but are then very rarely used or enforced.

    As an example, every single day, without fail, I see someone (almost always a van driver) using a mobile phone whilst driving. The penalty can be up to £1000 (£2500 for bus or truck drivers) and a years disqualification, yet this seems to have no impact at all on the number of people committing the offence.

    The reason seems simple, it just isn't enforced. A couple of weeks ago I was sat at a set of traffic lights, with a police car on the opposite side of the junction. Next to me was a van driver talking animatedly on a mobile and being completely ignored by the police. Quite clearly they couldn't be bothered to enforce this law, and most seem to know that the police don't enforce it, so continue to break it.

    There are many other laws that are treated similarly by the police - presumably because they take the view that they have better ways to spend their time than tackling some of these, relatively minor, offences.

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    1. 'The penalty can be up to £1000 (£2500 for bus or truck drivers) and a years disqualification, yet this seems to have no impact at all on the number of people committing the offence.'

      It's like road accidents. The 'it won't happen to me' syndrome.

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    2. I get the very strong feeling that there are a lot of laws that are created to appease the media after some particular incident, but are then very rarely used or enforced.

      You are quite right, a certain Mr Hume famously gave a speech at a party conference pointing out that sentences were irrelevant if the chances of being caught were tiny!

      [pedant]"...and a years disqualification..." actually I am pretty sure there is actually no upper limit disqualification for this (or other endorsable offences). [/pedant] but of course in all but the most exceptional cases its £100 and 3 pts. Even at court it is very much the exception to disqualify of fine, even with costs and surcharges those amounts.

      It would probably be a better deterrent if the police confiscated the phone 'as evidence'!

      The reason seems simple, it just isn't enforced. A couple of weeks ago I was sat at a set of traffic lights, with a police car on the opposite side of the junction. Next to me was a van driver talking animatedly on a mobile and being completely ignored by the police. Quite clearly they couldn't be bothered to enforce this law, and most seem to know that the police don't enforce it, so continue to break it.

      There are many other laws that are treated similarly by the police - presumably because they take the view that they have better ways to spend their time than tackling some of these, relatively minor, offences.

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  8. The Daily Mail is reporting that a 21-year-old man has been sent down (by a DJ) for four weeks for sending a three word anti-semitic remark to the Jewish MP Luciana Berger (and adjusting a photo of her to include a star of David which is presumably not of itself anti-semitic.)

    This seems to be massively excessive punishment for a three word tweet. The DJ upgraded the charge to "racially motivated" and took into account the fact that Nazi paraphernalia was found at the defendant's abode. It looks to me like this person was sent to jail for having the wrong political opinions, which is rather worrying to me because I also have the "wrong" political opinions.

    I am not suggesting that it is lawful to be offensive to someone, but a three word tweet is a highly transient communication, barely more than a verbal remark and I wouldn't have thought merited a custodial sentence or anything more than "bound over."

    Unless of course the victim being an MP, Jewish, or an attractive young woman somehow makes her special.

    The DM also reports that the MP has received the £80 victim surcharge!

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    1. As always, caution is required when reading the written word. We didn't hear the evidence and the DM isn't exactly noted for its fair and balanced reporting on any number of different subjects.

      A good example is the claim that the victim surcharge of £80.00 was given to the victim. Rubbish. It never, ever, goes to the actual victim. If it is felt that compensation is appropriate to the individual then a separate order for compensation would be made but the Victim Surcharge is simply a form of tax and is never given to the specific or actual victim.

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    2. So you've never heard of Jews being forced to wear Yellow Stars of David on their clothing to mark them out for discrimination then Nationalist? Ignorance can be added to your CV of stupidity then.

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    3. There is a considerable difference between annotating an image and forcing someone to wear something. Would annotating an image of the Pope with a crucifix be discrimination?

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  9. Don't get me started>>> the statute book is full of law that should not be there or rarely used.

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  10. Just shuddup goyim and pay your taxes,.

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