Government orders prison for all rioters

See below, from

I’d already assumed because of the speed with which people were being sentenced in the riots cases that courts were dispensing with pre-sentencing reports – i.e. the reports that are prepared after conviction or a not guilty plea, to give some guidance on what sort of sentence would be appropriate, based on the offender’s personal circumstances. Apart from any other considerations, the probation service simply won’t have the resources to prepare them, with so many cases going through the courts. And there is a desire – not just from the Government, but I think it’s fair to say, from the public too, to see swift action on holding rioters/ looters to account.

Such reports are not always prepared, but it’s usual practice where a custodial sentence is being considered, or where an offender’s drug problems, etc, come to light during the hearing, to see whether a treatment programme would be a better disposal of the case.  What do people think? Do the circumstances warrant a departure from normal sentencing practices? Or does it mean that justice isn’t being done?




Magistrates in London have been ordered pass jail sentences on all those involved in last week’s ‘anarchy’ a court heard today (Mon).

Novello Noades, chair of the bench at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court, said the court had been used with a government ‘directive.’

Daniel Anderson, 25, was jailed for six months after admitting to hoarding two looted guitars, an amplifier, flatscreen TV and hair clippers that were stolen from Rock Bottom music store in Croydon.

Dismissing his solicitor’s request for probation to produce a pre-sentence report outlining his personal circumstances, chair of the bench Ms Noades said all those caught up in the disorder would be jailed.

‘Our directive for anyone involved in the rioting is a custodial sentence,’ she said.

‘That is the directive we have had – it is a very serious matter.’

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  • Quietzaple  On August 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Utterly foolish. Those who break the law should be treated according to law and custom.

    We took pride in not letting islamo-fascist nor IRA terrorism distract us from our open society to any significant extent.

    If Cameron and HMG give way to a few thousand hooligans and other jetsam and flotsam of our sad society he is still more feeble than I’d imagined.

    A merger between the conservatives and fascists is in process: similar to the falange in pre WW2 Spain.

  • Richard  On August 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Kerry –

    According to such a directive would be unlawful. If magistrates are interpreting it as being a set-in-stone directive that they must obey, well, perhaps they shouldn’t be. Maybe that comment is something that should be looked into quite seriously?

    • kerrymccarthy  On August 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks – it looks like the Judicial Office is saying that no such directive has been given… You’re right, if magistrates have been sentencing on such a basis, and it turns out that they shouldn’t have been, it’s going to open a whole can of worms and possibly rather a lot of cases going to appeal.

  • John Ruddy  On August 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    So on the one hand you have Cameron talking about solving the social problems etc but underneath it all is some Daily Mail knee-jerk reaction.

    Whats going to happen to these people when they come out? They will be homeless, alienated, marginalised and criminalised. We will have MORE crime, and MORE anti-social problems to come.

  • Invictus_88  On August 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    This country doesn’t have any fascists. Look to Eastern Europe, and you’ll see what fascist political activism really looks like.

    J. Ruddy:
    Given the apparent overcrowding of prisons, the government may have a tricky enough time getting them in, let alone dealing with the consequences when they come out.

    • Quietzaple  On August 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      We most assuredly do have oodles of facists: try the Telegraph blogs for a sample.

      • Invictus_88  On August 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm

        Simple conservatism is not, nor has it ever been, analogous with fascism. Fascists have no political platform in the UK, nor do they have a grass roots movement. As I said, try Eastern Europe. Noua Dreapta!

  • Harry.  On August 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Now DON’T you all start going soft, silly and PC on us! – These thugs and hooligans broke the law, PERIOD!! They do have to be punished effectively for ALL their crimes. They broke the Law because they thought that they would never be caught. Very stupid. They broke the law becuase they wanted the goods they looted. NOW they have to pay for them. There are NO persons in our country who can claim they are so destitute that they need to rob and pillage, loot and rape. We are NOT a Third World country in that regard. If people do not like our ways, then they should go elsewhere. If they refuse, then they should be made to go.

    • kerrymccarthy  On August 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      But they are entitled to due process of law… No-one is saying they shouldn’t be punished, no-one is saying that their crimes were in anyway excusable.

  • Jill (@JillHS23)  On August 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    But these cases are being rushed through at bereak neck speed and decsions made without first hearing all relevant evidence that would normally be done before sentencing is judged. Take the case of Wandsworth council serving a family an eviction notice before anyone in the family has been found guilty! Was he an innocent bystander as the family insist? There’s certainly evidence of a head injury and blood from that injury… or is he well known to the authorities and a presumed guilty made? Either way we are on very dangerous ground.

    Similarly the young mother sentenced to several months imprisonment for accepting a pair of shorts. Normally her previous clean record, job status, dependents, and other records would be taken into account, but apparently none of it counted for anything, and in comparison to other cases with similar convictions she could well appeal on the grounds of possible unfair bias?

    Why do I sense Cameron’s hands are all over this? Who else would manage to ensure such blanket sentencing without thinking through the full implications and ramifications? Step aside and wait for the appeals.. and the vast amount of ££ compensation people will be paid if successful…. and in the meantime it’s yes a knee jerk reaction typical of the incompetent inexperienced incumbents in government.

  • Quietzaple  On August 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Cameron’s mother was a JP: he knows the form and is fighting for his own neck from the third day of riots when he deigned to return home.

    No more self exculpatory series of PR poses could be imagined.

    He will always have balls in the air: and he’ll tell you so himself.

  • avseer  On August 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Frankly anyone who behaves like a thug and could have caused deaths on a grand scale by setting fires need a blanket slap down of grand proportions. The fact that there must be presentencing reports and this and that just underlines why our criminal justice system takes so bloody long and costs so bloody much. Is it not time we stopped with the ‘human rights’ nonsense that allows someone the right to endanger others lives? Where are the human rights of those that could have been killed? Of those killed it is disgraceful to behave in that manner in order to loot and destroy. It needs swift and unrelenting justice.

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