Anorak News | The Crime Bill

The Crime Bill

by | 14th, January 2005

‘“GUTEN TAG, Middle Englanders,” as Prince Harry might say in one of his typically gifted moments of high jest. “For you ze easy ride ist over.”

Hitting a photographer: Priceless

The news is that the Government’s Management of Offenders and Sentencing Bill calls for fines for such crimes as speeding and being drunk and disorderly to be means tested.

As the Telegraph reports, this new system – to be applied to adults in magistrates courts – means the level of fine will be directly linked to the guilty party’s ability to pay.

For instance, if dressing as a Nazi were a crime, someone like Hooray Harry would be charged around a million pounds for his sins while a typical stormtrooper would only be made to fork out a few Reichmarks.

To the Telegraph, this is “squeezing the rich until the pips squeak”.

It’s “class justice”. It’s “designed by bureaucrats to ensure that the bourgeoisie shall foot the bill for the lumpenproletariat”.

But don’t worry too much, Hal. In truth, sentencing will soon be less to so with any ability to pay a fine and more to do with timing.

As the Times reports (“Judges are told not to jail criminals if prisons are full”), get the timing right and a fine will be the worst thing you’ll get.

As part of this new Bill, judges will be expected to consider the state of prisons and the numbers in them before dispensing justice.

Predictably, to the Opposition’s mind this is tantamount to a crime in itself.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis thunders: “It is a disgraceful violation of the criminal justice system and will lead to thousands of criminals getting shorter sentences, or no sentences at all, because the Government has failed to provide enough prison places.”

Or get enough fines into the Treasury coffers to pay for them…’

Posted: 14th, January 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink