Saturday, March 21, 2015
That Ridiculous Surcharge Again.
(from Bystander N)
I have just been reading the full sentencing remarks of HHJ Pontius in the matter of R v Brusthom Ziamani, who had planned to cut off the head of a British soldier. As is usual from a judge they give a clear and precise explanation for the sentencing decision he came to.
He said “Formally expressed, therefore, I pass an extended sentence of twenty seven years, the custodial term of which is twenty two years, with a licence extension of five years” and his final sentence reads “If a Victim Surcharge is appropriate in this case the relevant order will be drawn up and served on the defendant in due course.” I noticed a card on the bench in my local crown court where I sat this week with just this wording.
In the magistrates’ courts we have to work out the surcharge and announce to the defendant what the amount is and then we deal with payment, or at least we set the terms, and then wonder if they will ever be met, even if the defendant has agreed them.
The crown court does not always seem to deal with this in detail but can someone tell me the point, in a case like this, of applying a charge of £120? Does anyone seriously think it will ever be paid or will it just be added to the vast number of fines, costs, compensations and surcharges that don’t happen as the court instructed?