LATEST ARTICLES

16 weeks’ custody for racist and abusive mother seven months’ pregnant

On 19 April 2017, expectant mother Elouise Sullivan aged 20 was given an immediate custodial sentence of 16 weeks following a guilty plea to (what we presume were) two Communications Act 2003 offences. What happened? Sullivan pleaded guilty to two offences of "sending offensive, indecent, obscene and menacing messages" - this appears to refer to an offence under s.127 of the...

Two jailed for halal turkey fraud

Introduction and Facts Many religions, including Islam, have dietary rules. Many muslims  adhere to rules that require meat to be halal, and there are various bodies that can certify that food as being halal. Between January 2013 and October 2014 a company called 'Dutch Bangla Ltd' supplied various businesses (mainly in the Leicestershire area) with what they said was halal lamb. However,...

Mark Sands jailed for threatening to kill his MP

Introduction and Facts  We have covered a fair amount of social media prosecutions (see here, et al), some on different sides of the line of what should probably be criminal in a modern society. Since the death of Jo Cox MP last year, the police (and society at large) have taken threats to MPs more seriously, for obvious and understandable reasons. Into this...

Sentencing for the elderly – Court of Appeal gives guidance

Introduction We have looked previously at the oldest people sent to prison, all of which were blown out of the park when Ralph Clarke, then aged 101, was convicted at the end of 2016 and was sentenced to 13 years. On 2nd March 2017 Mr Clarke's case, along with another (Peter Cooper - a 96 year old man who was sentenced...

Julie Higgins – Fake Doctor spared jail, to the irritation of the Judge …

Introduction On 27th March 2017 Julie Higgins appeared for sentence at Bournemouth Crown Court for offences of pretending to be a doctor. That sounds a pretty serious offence and the fact (more on that later) are pretty unpleasant. Probably serious enough for prison, you think? The Judge said "When I first read these papers I had every intention of sentencing her to...

Jonathan Walsh – paediatrician jailed for having indecent images of children

Introduction Any story of a doctor who is caught abusing the trust placed in him is bound to attract the attention of the public. And so Dr Jonathan Walsh, a paediatrician, was bound to get in the news when on 20th March 2017 he was jailed for indecent images offences.   Factual Background A search warrant was executed at Dr Walsh's address which...

Book review: ‘Deserved criminal sentences’ by Andreas von Hirsch

This short book brings together much of von Hirch's writings (and the writings of others) on desert theory – the concept that the punishment for a criminal offence should be proportionate to its seriousness. The theory found its popularity in the 1970s after decades of consequentialist, risk-based and rehabilitation-focussed sentencing. von Hirsch, one of the primary proponents of desert...

Adam Johnson loses renewed application to appeal conviction and sentence

Introduction and Background The case of Adam Johnson, the former Sunderland footballer, has generated a lot of interest (see here for some previous coverage and links). Sentenced to 6 years last year, he tried to appeal both his sentence and conviction, and was turned down in relation to both on the papers by the Single Judge. He renewed both applications to the...