Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is Six Weeks Really the Right Sentence?

Twenty three year old Gavin Reid was today jailed for six weeks after pleading not guilty to throwing an egg at Sayeeda Warsi.

With the usual caveat of admitting I was not in court to hear the proceedings, on the face of it, this is exactly the kind of short prison sentence which shouldn't happen. It uses up another prison place for a comparatively harmless crime, when surely there could have been other ways of punishing Mr Reid. For all I know he may have 'previous' but if not he may well emerge from prison in six weeks (or even three) as a hardened criminal or with a drug habit.

Surely there are alternatives to a six week jail sentence in cases like this?


UPDATE: The original version of this post had the sentence at six months. Apologies for the error. The fact that the sentence is six weeks actually makes the wider point of this post even more relevant.

31 comments:

Curbishlyauto said...

It wasn't just "throwing an egg" It was highly organised attack that involved threats, intimidation and offensive behaviour.

6 Months about right.

Cath said...

Assuming there isn't massively more to this than meets the eye, it's a shocking waste of money. What did the person who threw an egg at Mandy get?

andrew said...

Utterly ridiculous, even if he does have previous form. If he had punched her, or thrown an anvil at her then fair enough, but an egg!? The criminal justice system in this country is becoming farcical, last month Michael Steele, serving life for 3 murders was awarded 44 thousand pounds compensation because of suffering toothache, even after he apparently refused treatment! It is absolutely outrageous that tax payers money is wasted in this way.

andrew said...

Utterly ridiculous, even if he does have previous form. If he had punched her, or thrown an anvil at her then fair enough, but an egg!? The criminal justice system in this country is becoming farcical, last month Michael Steele, serving life for 3 murders was awarded 44 thousand pounds compensation because of suffering toothache, even after he apparently refused treatment! It is absolutely outrageous that tax payers money is wasted in this way.

JamesW said...

Six months for chucking an egg does seem pretty harsh. Perhaps it was a racially motivated egging? I'd have though pay her dry cleaning bill, and a bit more on top for being a twat, would suffice.

Pete said...

Given that yesterday two teenagers were given 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 years for killing a man in front of his three-year old granddaughter in a 'happy slapping' attack, this does seem a little bit harsh. To say the least.

Irene said...

Couldn't agree more.

This is exactly what Clarke has been banging on about.

George said...

A ridiculous sentence.

Assault someone and have the benefit of being short or religious and you go away from court a free man. Assuming the rozzers bother to investigate and the CPS take the brave decision to prosecute.

Take a gullible prat for a mill, get 4 years.

Argue/Discuss the bible's finer points, get a criminal record.

May has a got a long way to go.

Raedwald said...

Ah, but was this a racially motivated egg or just an ordinary anti political class one?

Racially motivated eggs, like homophobic ones, attract far more severe penalties than plain old anti-political ones.

John said...

I think you'll find it's six weeks but he shouldn't really be going inside for this sort of thing.

I'm still waiting for some ex MPs to get put inside.

paintings said...

Last night on Look East we were told about a couple of baggage handlers who'd been nicking stuff at Luton. In the flat belonging to one of them, the police found £28,000 in cash, as well as tons of other stuff. The sentences were 6 months and 3 months. That suggests theft is a very cost effective career.

SidSmith said...

BBC says six weeks, not six months

Lady Finchley said...

What an absolute travesty. Put somebody in the system for throwing an egg - this is just the kind of thing Ken Clarke was talking about. I am sure Baroness Warsi will be appalled.

The same applies to graffiti - by all means, make them clean up but to put these kids in the system is ridiculous.

Roger Thornhill said...

Remember, Iain, this was an attack on the chosen by a prole. Not permitted. It will be stamped on.

Knock a harmless grandfather looking after his 3 year old to the ground*? Who cares, eh? Just someone in the street, right?

Look at how many times someone clearly dysfunctional has made life hell for so many people and repeatedly does not get such a sentence or even taken in for treatment.

It is a disgrace.

Throwing eggs is a form of disapproval, intentionally meant to NOT hurt but just embarrass and inconvenience. Of course the people doing it need to be inconvenienced back, but six months in jail? Given what else goes on that is obscene.

I hope they appeal.




* anyone assaulting old people in such environments with all the risks of injury and death should be considered for manslaughter.

Tory Bear said...

hanging?

Unsworth said...

Iain

Think it was six weeks, actually:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23861247-man-guilty-of-throwing-eggs-at-tory-chairwoman-baroness-warsi.do

DaveA said...

The Daily Mail reported:

'The Baroness's group was confronted by a group of Muslim men. The Crown suggest the confrontation was planned and deliberate. The men shouted abuse calling her 'Cameron's b****', 'supporters of murderers' and 'unIslamic'.

'Two or three eggs were thrown at the Baroness. One was thrown a short distance and broke on her face.'

Mr Ratliff said the aim of the confrontation was to 'humiliate and ridicule' the Baroness.

Gavin Reid, 23, of Green Close, Luton, denies a charge under the Public Order Act, of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress."

If you look at the BBC video Wasi does not seem too distressed and continues debating Reid in the street.

I think that the 1986 Public Order Act has been over used and while their behaviour is ignorant, boorish and midly intimidating it does not warrant a custodial sentence.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1298462/Muslim-man-pelted-Tory-peer-Baroness-Warsi-eggs-unislamic.html

Dan Sullivan said...

But isn't the problem that we haven't developed sufficiently effective alternatives to locking people up. We do it too often in Ireland too for things like failure to pay fines, and the yanks (reading the economist this week) lock people up for what are breaches of regulations not real crimes. What are the alternatives that would have public support?

Lady Finchley said...

Even six weeks is ridiculous.

Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

"he may well emerge from prison in six weeks (or even three) as a hardened criminal or with a drug habit"

Iain, I'm curious - is *your* impulse control as non-existent as you think everyone else's must be?

Unsworth said...

@ Dangerouslysubversivedad

Been inside recently?

Hannibal said...

Perhaps the last line of the BBC report helps explain:

"Reid had already served the sentence during his time on remand since May but he remains in custody on other matters, the court heard.

Unsworth said...

And then the Prescott fracas should be remembered. What happened to the guy who egged Cameron? Was he strung up - or maybe out?

Gallimaufry said...

My sympathy is with the egg in this case.
Surely a stern warning not to do it again with a requirement to pay the dry cleaning bill should have sufficed.

Roger Thornhill said...

Throwing the egg seems the smallest part of it. Yobbish behaviour and attempts at intimidation seem to be in the mix. What an oaf.

I do not care if he was on remand for other matters - that is not the point.

I am fed up with concurrent sentencing and in the case of violent behaviour by a known violent person, time served on remand.

denverthen said...

I fully agree with your excellent point.

As to alternatives, might I suggest bringing back the pillory? A dozen really rotten eggs could then be supplied to the jury - one each - so that they can administer proportionate state retribution, assuming they know how to throw with reasonable accuracy (perhaps they could have a few practice goes at a subsititute, just to get the range. Sort of a stocks test dummy).

Naturally, in these health and safety-conscious times, the offender should be permitted the luxury of safety goggles, lest any of the ovoids' rancid contents get anywhere near his eyes.

Some will no doubt complain that this is more consideration than was afforded his victim. Well, that's why he gets six of the worst, isn't it.

longrun2 said...

Putting him in the stocks would be more appropriate (and cheaper).
What I, as a dinosaur, find shocking, is that no-one picked him up and threw him in the canal for a cowardly attack on a woman

Sobers said...

How many Tory ministers got egged in the 1980s by uppity students? And how many of those students got sent down for 6 weeks?

jailhouselawyer said...

Baroness Warsi said after the sentencing that she is all yoked up...

Jimmy said...

Good heavens the tories are bleeding hearts nowadays. I don't think entering public life entitles any old yob to assault you and there is a tendancy to laugh these things off (very often depending on the identity of the victim) which only encourages them. If you haven't learned that hitting people is wrong by the time you leave school then this is probably the only way you'll learn.

Boy on a bike said...

How about pelting him with bacon for a few minutes? (And I don't mean the sliced variety).