Thursday, 15 March 2007

Daniel Coffill

Read this - absolutely shocking. Not much more I can say on the matter other than to go here.

PC Sex Offender

Prison will be tough for PC James Hunter of Hartlepool.

videoed himself performing a sex act on the internet for a teenage girl, and then groped her in his car. He also had photos of children engaging in sexual intercourse.

Its quite sad that someone who was more than likely respected by his community, whos purpose is to bring justice to offenders of crimes like this has been caught up in this situation. Whilst I feel for him, I do feel that he deserves to be locked up.

He brings a bad name to Police Forces up and down the country (after all, people see no distinction between North Yorkshire Police, Thames Valley Police, or indeed Surrey Police - they just see it as "The Police").

Life in prison as a child sex offender and a police officer?? Doubt it will be easy.

Monday, 12 March 2007

The System

What is the Criminal Justice System? Well, lets follow what should happen.

James decides that he doesnt want to live his life normally, he wants to be a criminal. With this in mind, he sets off one day to go and rob some old dear of her pension money so that he can give this money to one of his many kids (all have different mothers too).

So he finds this dear old lady, Doris, bashes her over the head, and steals her handbag. Luckily there is CCTV and several kind witnesses.

Enter the police.

A nice police officer comes along and takes details of the crime, books it on and sets out to try and locate the offender (who luckily has been identified, just like in The Bill.

PC Jones finds James, and arrests him. He is then taken to the police station where he is met by a man in a suit called Paul, the duty solicitor.

On interview, Paul tells James to simply reply "no comment" to everything. At the end of the interview, PC Jones goes and sees the nice people in the CPS office. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the police who prosecute people, but magical little elf like people (there is nothing magical about them really, however, some do resemble elfs) known as the Crown Prosecution Service. They decide whether to proceed with a case or simply choose no further action.

Luckily for PC Jones, the CCTV evidence and witness statements seem a hit with the CPS and they choose to charge James with attempted murder as they believe that he set out to kill Doris (hang on ... this does have a point ... honest).

So now James has been charged, the next place he will appear is, court. Due to the offence for which he has been charged, he will get to appear in Crown Court. This is a big place where there is a middle aged man wearing a robe and wig looking very important. It is this man, the judge, who will sentance James. The jury will decide based on the evidence presented in court whether or not James is guilty. If the Jury find him guilty, which in this case they do, then the Judge will sentance him.

So the Judge sentances James to 10 years in prison. Immediatly he will be taken to a prison and serve a full 10 years there before being released.

There we have it, the Justice System in a Perfect World.

However, this is not a perfect world. Part 2 of "The System" coming soon.

Is Prison the Answer?

No doubt over the next few months, the same question will be asked.

This guy is 82 years old and is a veteran of World War II. He was given an ASBO over a 13 year long dispute over boundries.

Sadly, he has once again breached his ASBO and thus ended up being sentanced to 11 months in prison.

Yes, on previous occasions he has assaulted a police officer, and caused criminal damage (and has been sentanced for this previously) however, is a 11 month sentance really going to solve this dispute? We are letting sex offenders off a prison sentance due to lack of space, yet this person, who appears (I say appears as we do not know the full facts) to be of no risk to the public is sent to prison whereas someone who is of great risk to the public, and children, is allowed to remain in normal life.

Where is the balance?

Luckily for this chap, he vows that once his term is up, he is off out of this country.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Skipping Court

Hazard a guess at how many people decide that they can not be bothered to turn up to their court hearing each year? Im talking about Magistrates Court here, who deal with about 2 million cases each year.

Is it 10,000 people who dont turn up?
Is it 20,000 people?

It is infact, 150,000 people!

Lets look at the costs of this:

  • Court staff (ushers, clerks) who are being paid to do, well, not the case
  • Witnesses - they will have wasted time, at expense of the court system (expenses) to turn up for the case
  • Police - endless hours are put into the case files, not forgetting that they may have to turn up to court
One possible solution is to have "bail bonds". If your an offender and you want bail, then you have to pay. Just like occurs into the US, we can have bail bondsman (who will be called bonds persons - we dont want to cause problems with sexual discrimination etc).
If this happens, and you miss a case, then you will get to meet this lovely chappy.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

The Meaning of Life

What is the meaning of this blog?

Its purpose is to show people what it is like working in the criminal justice system, from arrest, to prison, the court process, the prison process.
Does the criminal justice system work, or is it one big joke?