The week began in sparkling fashion with the huge own goal that Val and the Cleveland police scored – Val thought she was being clever trying to get a good citizen into trouble only for it to put her sons back in the limelight. Cleveland police came off looking like they have no sense of priorities.
Then we revealed our next public Operation – the Truss Bus. We found out today that despite it being a private vehicle it is able to drive in all the bus lanes in Norwich which is handy. We aim to do some creative things with the Truss Bus.
One of our readers had an interesting e-mail which I will publish here for your viewing.
This was her message..
Dear Nadeem Zahawi
I am a constituent of yours in Stratfrod upon Avon. Recently Anna Turley the MP for Redcar has submitted a Ten Minute Bill regarding the increase of sentencing for Animal cruelty. I believe it is due to be heard on Friday 24th February 2017.
As my MP I would like you to support this bill. Recently there have been some dreadful cases where animal abusers have been able to walk free from court with suspended sentences in particular the case of Baby and the Frankish brothers. The public are sick of seeing this and the feeble sentencing that occurs.
I would urge you to look at the facebook sites Operation Frankish and Pet Abuse UK which have the details of this and many other cases.
It is a well known many child abusers start with animals and the severity of sentence should reflect this.
I would be grateful if you could let me know if you are supporting this bill on my behalf.
And here was his reply…
Thank you for contacting me about sentencing for offences of animal cruelty.
I am pleased that we have a robust legal framework to tackle this vicious behaviour in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal.
The law, and the penalties for breaking it, were reviewed by the Parliamentary Select Committee for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2012. At that time the Committee did not recommend increasing the maximum sentencing available to the courts. However, I am pleased to say that the previous cap in the fine charges of animal abuse can attract was removed last year, and I can also tell you that the Ministry of Justice is now looking at whether there is a case for increasing the penalties further.
The courts must decide what the penalty should be for each individual case, taking into account its circumstances and the guidelines laid down by the Sentencing Council. A public consultation is now open into sentencing guidelines for these crimes, which will close on 11 August. You can find more details on the website of the Sentencing Council, http://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk under Consultations > Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines consultation.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.
Member of Parliament for Stratford on Avon
What do we take from that? The first thing I would say is that it is utterly pointless making the size of the fine uncapped.
It seems fairly obvious to me that the majority of these abusers are on the lower end of the social scale and therefore have no capital or resources. The brothers were fined around £300 but even had they been fined £30k what practical merit would that have? Without any resources or income they could not pay it and the Crown would settle for them paying a tiny amount from their benefits each month.
The only instance where uncapped fines might cause any pain would be if the person happened to have resources and a good income. But even in such a case where exactly does the money go that they pay in a fine? It goes back into the coffers of the Crown. Its not used for good or gifted back to a community, it gets swallowed up by the courts to keep the courts going so that they can issue yet more fines.
It is like a Ponzi scheme.
This part was slightly more promising though – “the Ministry of Justice is now looking at whether there is a case for increasing the penalties further”. An increased penalty need not stop at a financial penalty it can also mean custodial penalties.
This part was also quite interesting – “A public consultation is now open into sentencing guidelines for these crimes, which will close on 11 August”.
This consultation may be worth looking further into, if anyone has past experience of the process of such things then please elaborate in the comments section.