Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Decision From The Top

Here is the judgment just handed down by a very strongly constituted Court of Appeal. The Court has taken a firm line on offences committed in the context of the recent riots, and those handed stiff terms of imprisonment will have to get on and do their time.

This will be gratifying to the senior Clerk who took a decision at a time of stress and fatigue:

Much the same applies to magistrates courts. Legal advisers to magistrates are indeed legal advisers. It was clearly appropriate for them to advise magistrates that the magistrates’ courts sentencing guidelines were not drafted with offences committed in the context of riot and public disorder in mind and that it was open to courts, if they thought appropriate in the individual cases, to impose sentences outside the range suggested by those guidelines. If any individual sentence was excessive, it would, of course, be subject to appeal to the Crown Court in the usual way.

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