Friday, 7 September 2012

Brave Criminal?

It was silly of Judge Peter Bowers to describe a burglar as brave, but lets not go too far in condeming him. Prison can be a training ground for criminals, and a community sentence may be better.

@TheHowardLeague: Chief Exec @Francescrook says "community sentences are better than #prison for turning people's lives around" http://t.co/dZMpUMqd

Judge Peter Bowers admitted he might be "pilloried" when he spared the burglar jail at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday. The case caused an outcry, with the bandwagon jumping, right wing dog whistle blowing Prime Minister
commenting that burglars were not brave but "cowards" and their crimes were "hateful". Though he admitted knowing nothing about this case.

Speaking in complete ignorance really isnt a good thing though his comments on being the victim of a burglary feeling violated will resonate with many people.

A spokesman said :"The Office for Judicial Complaints has received a number of complaints in relation to comments that His Honour Judge Bowers made in relation to a case in Teesside Crown Court on September 4 2012. "Those complaints will be considered under the Judicial Discipline Regulations in the usual way. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."

Judge Bowers' conduct will be investigated by the OJC and if complaints are upheld the case will be passed to the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor, who will consider if disciplinary action is needed. They have the power to advise, warn, reprimand or remove a judge for misconduct.

Handing 26-year-old Richard Rochford, from Redcar, a suspended 12-month term, the judge said: "I'm going to take a chance on you." The judge also claimed jail would not do much good in this case. After acknowledging the trauma burglary victims face, the judge explained he would not jail Rochford, who had quit drugs since the February break-ins. He must complete a two-year supervision order with drug rehabilitation and 200 hours' unpaid work, with a one-year driving ban.

David Cameron admitted he had not seen the details of the case, but added: "I am very clear that burglary is not bravery. "Burglary is cowardice. Burglary is a hateful crime. "People sometimes say it is not a violent crime, but actually if you have been burgled, you do feel it was violence. "I have a very clear view about this, which is burglary is a despicable and hateful crime. "I have been burgled twice. You feel completely violated. When someone has smashed their way into your house and stolen your possessions. "I am very clear that people who repeatedly burgle should be sent to prison."

One barrister who works at Teesside Crown Court expressed surprise at Judge Bowers' remarks. He tweeted: "I am amazed by this, if true, as he is one of the toughest sentencing judges in Teesside."

So lets not make the same mistake as Cameron and Bowers, let the justice system do its job before rushing to judgement.

Links www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/judge-who-said-burglary-showed-courage-to-face-investigation-into-comment-8112602.html

1 comment:

howard thomas said...

There are two sides of this to consider.
Firstly if this guy if guenuinely going to be off the drugs and leading a proper life then that is to be encouraged and there is an argument that keeping him out of prison would obviously assist. However there is also the need for punishment for the crimes he has committed.
The option won't have been open to him , but if the judge could have handed down the sentence as he has done, BUT, with the add on that should this character re offend then there would be an automatic 5 year term coming his way with no parole possibility, then I think all sides could be satisfied.
If he is 'cured'.then great, if not then society should be protected from his activities.

And if he got the 5 years then the next pre set sentence should be 10 years. That might focus the mind. Why should we all have to put up with people who will not change their offending?