Mr Reid wrote to all sentencers reminding them that the jails were full and other sentences available. Not of course that he was trying to influence them. Oh no.
Somebody must have been working hard behind the scenes since then. All the prison problems solved at a judicial stroke. Admittedly more crime problems for the rest of us, but what does that matter ?
Court of Appeal
Published February 16, 2007
Regina v Seed
Regina v Stark
Before Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Lord Chief Justice, Sir Igor Judge, President and Mr Justice David Clarke
Judgment February 13, 2007
When considering the length of a custodial sentence, judges should bear in mind the fact that, at present, the prison regime was likely to be more punitive because of prison overcrowding.
Particular care should be exercised before imposing a custodial sentence on a first offender since association with seasoned criminals might make reoffending more likely rather than deter it, particularly where the offender was young.
Enforcement of fines was now rigorous and effective and, where the offender had the means, a heavy fine could often be an adequate and appropriate punishment.
The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, so stated when: (i) Allowing an appeal by Trigger Seed against a prison sentence of six months imposed by Mrs Recorder Simler at Chelmsford Crown Court on January 8, 2007 following his plea of guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm. A seven-day prison sentence was substituted.
(ii) Allowing an appeal by Phillip Stark against a nine-month prison sentence imposed by Judge Cutler at Winchester Crown Court on December 8, 2006 following his pleas of guilty to bigamy and failing to surrender to bail. A three-month prison sentence was substituted.
I have no law training, but it looks as if a new legal principle has just emerged from Lord "Don't jail muggers if they're in a gang" Phillips' fertile brain. The punishment element of a prison sentence is positively correlated with the degree of prson overcrowding - via an obscure algorithm that cuts six months to seven days and nine months to three months.
I wonder what the victim of the wonderfully named Trigger Seed (what's his background ?) thinks of 7 days for ABH. If I assault Lord Phillips and cause ABH - an idea that seems unusually appealing for some reason - will I get 7 days ? And if a few of us do it in a gang, will we walk free, citing 'peer pressure' ?
Lord Phillips was educated at Bryanston and Cambridge, lives in Hampstead.