Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Make the punishment fit the crime

I hope I never find myself in front of District Judge Daphne Wickham of the City of Westminster Magistrates Court.  Well of course I hope not to be in a magistrates court at all, but one can only hope that other judges are seen to be administering 'British justice' in a way that fits better with the desires of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado.

In their delightful comic opera, the star sang:

A more humane Mikado never
Did in Japan exist,
To nobody second,
I'm certainly reckoned
A true philanthropist.
It is my very humane endeavour
To make, to some extent,
Each evil liver
A running river
Of harmless merriment.

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time —
To let the punishment fit the crime —
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment!
Of innocent merriment! . . .

Let's examine the philanthropy in today's judgement in the case of Jonnie Marbles, (@JonnieMarbLes on Twitter), who nearly succeeded last week in putting a shaving foam 'pie' in the face of the 'innocent' Rupert Murdoch.   Of course Marbles was going to have some sort of punishment.

A few hours of community service would not have been surprising, perhaps with a short suspended sentence.  Some may argue that his service to the community began when he started to plan to attack Murdoch, and that the time he spent in custody should count towards it.  Murdoch is after all a man who is effectively above the law.  But no - three weeks in prison was the sentence.  And this judge is so arrogant and so determined to defend the 'establishment' that she was not prepared to offer bail pending an appeal, just in case another judge made the sentence more lenient. 

By comparison, Murdoch's wife (in her pink jacket) can be seen physically assaulting Marbles in the video of the event.  Her attack was unwarranted and viscious.  After all, policemen are paid to do that!  It is well established that they don't need help from by-standers.  When will she be in court for this assault?  Never.  Why not?

She clearly demonstrated her love for her husband('s money).

And what of other cases where Daphne Wickham has presided?  Well this is where I start to feel completely outraged.

Question 1:  If you push someone through a plate glass window, someone with his hands in his pockets who is not threat to anyone, how many weeks would you expect in prison?
Answer:  None . . . as long as you are a police officer and Daphne Wickham is the judge and the victim is black and obviously the sort of person who deserves to be stopped an searched in today's London.
(This was the 2010 case of Onyeka Obi who was stopped in London by PC Marcus Ballard, as he was on his way home from a birthday celebration.)

Question 2:  How many weeks in jail for bludgeoning a young lady with a truncheon because she is shouting at you?
Answer: None . . . as long as you are a 'highly trained and experienced officer' who in spite of having 7 seconds to weigh up the situation "mistook a carton of orange juice and a camera in Ms Fisher's hands as weapons when she approached from his 'blind-side' " . . . and as long as Daphne Wickham is the judge.
(This was the 2009 case of animal rights activist Nicola Fisher outside the Bank of England.  When we are driving we habitually make life-and-death decisions in 1 second or less, even though we are not (apparently) as well trained!)

Of course these two newspaper reports might or might not be accurate, but since neither comes from the stable of Murdoch's 'News International' it is always possible that they are true.

I'm just outraged by the disproportionate nature of British justice!  Surely the punishment has got to fit the crime, not the whim of a woman who's position of privilege and power seems to have inoculated her against real life.


Derby Sceptic said...

It has long been the case that in this country the punishment does not fit the crime.
Leave your wheelie bin lid open or the bin out on the wrong day and you can easily pay dearly and gain a criminal record.
Shoplifting, dangerous driving, drug offences - well just accept a caution and they say no more about it.
Murdoch's wife should be arrested - as Plasma Engineer so rightly says, the police force are there to address disorder and there was no reason for her to dispense her own version of justice.
I agree that a short spell of community service would have been more appropriate, reduced for any time spent in custody.
Finally, where was the security - taking shaving foam and paper/plastic plates into such an event should have raised at least a query.

Dobbin said...

Great post. Daphne Wickham sounds like the name of a PG Wodehouse character!

Shane said...

I think I might take a different position; this Marbles dickhead has violated a Parliamentary questioning; he has transgressed aforethought into the organs, however imperfect, of our democracy that are charged (however poorly they carry this out) with sorting out shitheads like Murdoch. What our jumped up little Marbles fuckwit has done is to make Murdoch a victim, make Wendi a heroine, make the offices of state look stupid (not hard, I'll warrant), but moreover, and completely unforgivably, taken it upon himself to say what *he* thinks the "British Public" are saying.
Well, no. Get stuffed, Jonnie, you spoilt little brat. This is not how we behave in the UK, and instead of mediating public displeasure at what the Murdochs have been involved in, you have disgraced yourself and made a mockery of something much more important than you will ever be. To the slammer with you and don't come crying.

That said, I completely agree with everything else that has been said about this particular judge. The officers of the state should be held to the same account as everyone else, regardless of race, sex, creed or wealth.