August 25, 2010

Compare these two cases:

1. A woman walks away from court with a 15 month suspended sentence, order to complete a drug rehabilitation programme and fines totalling £450 after: not turning up for a court hearing, walking away from a court hearing, being issued with an arrest warrant, assaulting a police officer, having a drink and drug related problem and been found guilty of “outraging public decency”.

2. A man is sentenced to 4 weeks imprisonment and a two year restraining order after: pleading self-defence in defence of assaulting his girlfriend resulting in defying a magistrate because he refuses to complete a community service order and pay fines totalling £450.

Firstly, neither of these cases can be condoned but neither of these represent any threat to the general public but where is the justice?

What message of authority and deterrent does the first case send out? How many challenges to authority does the first case have?

The first case is a woman who urinated and performed a sex act on a war memorial in Blackpool, the second is ex-Happy Mondays dancer Bez (also known for winning Big Brother in 2005).

Because of issues with drink and/or drugs, the British justice system is still too supportive of reform and rehabilitation. When the bureaucratic cost of policing, courts, rehabilitation, etc. are added up for each of these cases, the country must be wasting millions of pounds on those that have no desire or intention to reform their behaviour.

As for Bez, a little intelligence may actually have helped his cause. If he intended to appeal against the judgement then defiance was probably not the best approach but why should his non-conformance end in a prison sentence when others escape so lightly?

Last updated: August 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm