The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Deliberate Misinformation

The Daily Express, which laughably describes itself as The World's Greatest Newspaper, has this to say:
The recommendation of the Sentencing Advisory Panel that many burglars should be spared jail terms and instead directed towards disorganised, feeble community sentences will boost the morale of housebreakers everywhere.
For burglary in a dwelling only unforced entry and unaggravated low value theft has a guideline starting point less than custody - that's something like a walk-in through an open door and a theft of items worth a few pounds. Anything else means custody, and the threshold for sending to the Crown Court is low. Three domestic burglaries make the offender subject to a minimum sentence. Here is the CPS summary of the sentencing regime.
What the Express wants people to think is that the sterotypical burglar (they use the archaic term 'housebreaker') who forces entry to a home and steals valuables will get a community penalty. He won't. Magistrates would probably refuse to touch the case and send it off to the Crown Court, where the burglar could expect a substantial sentence. Burglary is one of those offences that covers a very wide spectrum, from reaching in an open window to steal a bottle of milk, to a full-on night-time break-in with a substantial haul of valuables, and the range of sentences reflects this, as it should. I resent the drip-drip of deliberate Press distortion designed to feed the isn't-this-country-rubbish and the aren't-the-judiciary-a-useless-lot-of-old-duffers canards. But you don't buy the Express to find out the truth, do you?