“The people who have criminal offences can expect no mercy,”…
… unless you are a BANKSTER!
– ‘Too tough sentences’ spark warning (Independent, August 17, 2011):
Jailing those involved in the riots for longer than they deserve risks undermining confidence in the justice system, lawyers and campaigners said today.
The warning that the rush to send out a tough message and to make an example of those involved in violence was leading to “some very bad sentences” came as members of the coalition Government appeared split over the issue.
Prime Minister David Cameron defended a court’s decision to jail two men who tried to incite riots on Facebook for four years, even though the riots they tried to plan never happened, but senior Liberal Democrats urged caution.
Human rights lawyers and criminal barristers also warned against a “knee-jerk response” by the courts over the violence and looting following “the public’s anger and the politicians’ rhetoric”.
But Mr Cameron said: “What happened on our streets was absolutely appalling behaviour and to send a very clear message that it’s wrong and won’t be tolerated is what the criminal justice system should be doing.
“They decided in that court to send a tough sentence, send a tough message and I think it’s very good that courts are able to do that.”
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes admitted there were “two strands of political opinion” in the coalition and so there were bound to be “different voices” on what response there should be to the riots.
“The people who have criminal offences can expect no mercy,” he told Sky News.