Comparing sentences

Comparing sentences

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Is there any consistency in sentencing? Can you compare sentences for different offences?

Is Trenton Oldfield’s offence (the boat race protest) ‘worth’ the same sentence as Barry Thew (wearing the t-shirt mocking the death of two police officers)?

Was Jordan Blackshaw (incitement to get involved in the 2011 riots on Facebook) really 16 times worse than Matthew Woods’ comments (about April Jones)?

The list

Below is a list of sentences which we aim to use in comparison with cases in the news to highlight that there is a serious problem with inconsistency in sentencing.

Mid community – Justin Lee Collins, harassment including verbal and physical bullying of his partner.

High Community – Phillip Laing, outraging public decency by urinating on a cenotaph when on a 7 hour binge

2 months – Matthew Woods, sending a grossly offensive message by a public communications network. He posted ‘sick jokes’ on his Facebook page concerning the missing 3-year-old April Jones. (Sentence discounted by ⅓ for pleading guilty. After a trial, 3 months)

6 months – Trenton Oldfield, causing a public nuisance by swimming in the river Thames, thereby disrupting the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.

Barry Thew, wearing a t-shirt mocking the deaths of two female police officers, hours after their murder, in the region in which they were killed. (Actual sentence 4 months with ⅓ discount for pleading guilty)

4 years – Edward Woolard, violent disorder. He threw an empty fire extinguisher from a 7-story building towards a crowd of people during the riots in London against the tuition fee increase. (Sentence discounted by ⅓ for pleading guilty)

6 years – Jordan Blackshaw, incitement to riot. During the 2011 summer riots, posted on Facebook encouragement to burgle, riot and commit criminal damage. No offences occurred as a direct result. (Sentence discounted by ⅓ for pleading guilty).

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Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)

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