Sentencing – more clarification

The sentencing story that I blogged about earlier has made the lead story on both the Mail and the Guardian websites.

It looks as if rather than the Judicial Office issuing a directive that custodial sentences should be handed out in all cases, there has instead been a memo telling magistrates to ignore the usual sentencing guidelines. “HMCTS explained that a senior clerk had circulated instructions to court clerks that they should advise magistrates to consider disregarding normal sentencing guidelines.”  The chair of the Camberwell Green bench has said she was ‘mortified’ to have used the word ‘directive’ but it still seems clear that she thought she was under orders to imprison…. Did she understand the advice from the clerk, or not?

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  • Quietzaple  On August 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Unlikely we shall get to the truth of that surely? Perhaps a little solidarity between the Clerk and Chairman is to be expected.

  • Steven J. Oram  On August 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    ‘Advise’ probably amounts to a directive, in practice if not theory. So much of what happens in our political and social institutions, reveals on closer inspection – bereft of blinkered romanticism – an awful disjunction between what’s supposed to happen in theory, and how things actually work in practice. Rules and regulations, proper procedure – so much of the time it seems to amount to little more than appeasing theatre. Am I being too cynical?

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