Sunday, April 24, 2005

More Criminal Justice

What do you get four years (you're eligible for release after two) for nowadays ?

Stabbing your husband to death, a neighbour to death, dropping heavy objects onto strangers from a motorway bridge, killing innocents by driving dangerously, shaking a baby to death, smuggling dope for paramilitaries, locking a child in a skip and burning him to death (reduced to three years on appeal), killing a woman rather unpleasantly with a golf umbrella. Nearly all acts which end in the deaths of innocents.

Or you could possess an unlicensed revolver. In a drawer at your mum's house.

A collector of World War II memorabilia has been jailed for four years after a pistol which he had hung on a wall turned out to be a prohibited weapon.
David Elwyn Richards, 35, of Rhos, near Wrexham, said he had not realised the pistol could be fired and was illegal.

Police found the military-issue revolver and an air rifle, which he was banned from owning due to a previous jail sentence, during a search.

Gosh - and an air-rifle ! Now the guy's obviously got some previous. We don't know what. But I don't get the impression he's a professional hit-man. The judge certainly didn't, reducing what we'd all been told was a mandatory five year sentence to - four years.

A couple of years ago you'd only get 18 months for driving round London with a loaded Brocock in the car. But since gangstas shot two young girls in Birmingham Blunkett's new laws have been passed. And what's easier - to go after gangsters in Brum and South London, or to hassle a collector ? A no-brainer really.

"The overall purpose of this specific legislation is to reduce the number of firearms in circulation," said Judge Rogers.

"It does not matter for what purpose someone has possession of a prohibited weapon.

"In the end, I have to remember that Parliament has indicated a five year minimum and I can only go below that in exceptional circumstances.

"I go as low as I can but I cannot go lower than four years."

Nothing like targeting the bad guys. Meanwhile ...

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