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Fair sentence?

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R1Geezer | 21:51 Tue 16th Aug 2011 | News
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I bet these savages had no idea they'd get 4 years a piece for incitement. Good to see the courts being sensible for a change. Why does is take something like this to get the judges etc to start handing done something approaching punishment.


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Hmmm, spouting extremist garbage on a social networking forum is now punishable by 4 years in the clink. Some people around here maybe will need to practice some self moderation.
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you on facebook Gromit?
No, it is for people with no real friends.
What a stupid comment the above is. If you don't use it,don't knock it!
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I agree, I am not involved in any of the social networking sites either. Must be why neither of us where "incited" eh?
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I think postdog illustrates it perfectly!
what's that supposed to mean?
I think “...spouting extremist garbage on a social networking forum...” is not quite an appropriate description of the activities of these two, Gromit. I have not seen any indication that they were extremists (unless you consider anybody who behaves thus as “extreme”) and their actions were, as the indictment says, clearly designed with the aim of “...intentionally encouraging another to assist the commission of an indictable offence”. In fact, in another report I read, the two miscreants actually turned up at the rendezvous they had suggested only to find no takers to join them in their escapades. It is most unlikely the pair appeared at the Crown Court without representation and in view of their guilty pleas they were obviously advised that their activities were properly charged.

Your comparison with postings on AB is disingenuous. I cannot recall any of even the most rabid of our AB-ers inciting others to riot.

Geezer is quite right. It should not have taken the extreme violence we saw last week to restore some sanity to the criminal justice system. Such behaviour, albeit in smaller quantities, is rife in most cities and sizeable towns most nights of the week. It is precisely because young people have grown up to find that there are no consequences to their bad behaviour that it has escalated to the levels we saw.
Had their words on Facebook actually incited widespread rioting and looting then a custodial sentence might have been in order.
That only they turned up seems to show they were more sad than bad.
A lynch mob in gowns and wigs is not a pretty sight.
The important thing here is that sentence should be proportionate to the offence and consistant with other those given to other offenders in similar circumstances.

sentences should not be harsher just because a lot of people have got angry about what they've seen on TV.

Judges should not be the proxy for mob outrage.

In order to determine whether or not these are fair we should judge it by things like similar cases where perhaps football violence has been orchestrated.

Not by how angry we feel

We could compare it to this case:


Here the perpertrators got 4 and 5 year sentences - however they had organised a string of violent disorders in which at least one person was killed.

Judging on this I'd say that the above sentences were disproportionate in that this was on incident that didn't take place.

I'd say it wasn't out of the ball park though - something more like 2 years would be closer the mark in my opinion
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well by lucky coincidenece jake, that'll be exactly how long then do I'd imagine
Good sentences, let's hope these judges stick to their guns when trying murderers, thieves and phone hackers!!!!
It would appear that there are concerns ( by people in the trade , so to speak ) as to the valaidity , of some of these sentences being handed out .

Are the courts just going to be clogged up with appeals , that by the look at it will be succesful in a large number of these cases ?

A few quotes from the posted article above

'' Andrew Neilson, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "A four-year sentence would normally be associated with offences such as holding someone up at knife point, grievous bodily harm, sexual assault, and I'm not sure that the offence in question was really related to those types of offences."

He added that over-sentencing would see more appeals and that the courts and prisons would struggle to cope. ''

'' Leading criminal barrister John Cooper QC said he believed the sentences were "over the top" and were likely to be overturned by the Court of Appeal.

"What we need to remember here is that there's a protocol for sentencing, and there are rules and procedures in sentencing which make them effective and make them fair. ''
I think fundamentally there are two groups of people.

One group thinks that sentences should be proportionate to those for other similar offences and should be considered solely on the basis of the facts of the specific case.

The other group thinks that the public's anger about a high profile offence should be allowed to influence the sentencing decisions

I fall into the former group - it seems a lot of Tories seem to fall into the latter.
‘ll leave aside your sweeping generalisation about Tories and others , Jake. It’s not worthy of debate.

As far as your comparison with the Burnley football incident goes, I think the comparison does not hold much water. As I said in another question on this topic, I believe sentencers are working in the dark when sentencing the latest rioters and looters. There has not been anything like it in the UK for 30 years and even then (the Tottenham and Brixton riots) the trouble was far less widespread. I think judges and magistrates have taken the view that this was akin to a single incident but spread across a wide area of the country, with co-ordination and encouragement by the participants and opportunism by those not involved from the outset. By contrast the Burnley incident was far more contained and affected far fewer victims. Nonetheless the ringleaders in the Burnley incident received sentences comparable to those imposed on Messrs Blackshaw and Sutcliffe-Keenan so it could be argued that the latter two got off lightly in view of the far more serious events that were taking place and which they tried to aggravate.

It is an interesting debate regarding the influence (or otherwise) that public anger may have upon sentencing. I agree in principle that sentencing should be an objective exercise and that where possible similar offences of similar seriousness should be sentenced similarly. However, the deal between the public, the police and the CPS is that the latter two will take action against lawbreakers and in return the public relinquish their right to do so. So there has to be an element of public opinion evident among sentencers. The CPS only brings prosecutions which are “in the public interest”. Judges and magistrates must be aware that, in view of the deal the public is party to, they are acting “in loco” when handing down sentences and widespread public revulsion of such offences should be taken as aggravation. This is what I believe has happened here.

Despite Mr Cameron and others suggesting that sentencing guidelines can be ignored I believe to do so would certainly open the way for widespread appeals. Judges and Magistrates need to ensure they remain within the sentencing guidelines but they have considerable latitude. What needs to be borne in mind is the very serious aggravation that all these offences demonstrated when properly considering the circumstances in which most of them were committed.

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