Imagine a world where you can beat the crap out of a young woman whilst screaming racial abuse at her and only get sentenced to six-month jail terms, suspended for 12 months. Or you can be on a jury and do a bit of research on the defendant and share the the research with the other jurors and end up with being sentenced to six months in prison and serve three months in jail and be on licence for the remainder of the term. Yet that’s the kind of world and legal system we have to deal with where contempt of court gets you a far higher sentence than actual bodily harm, which should carry a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment but in the case of the assailants of Rhea Page just ended with a suspended sentence.
A juror who researched a defendant’s past on the internet and shared the information with fellow jurors has been jailed for contempt of court.
University of Bedfordshire academic Dr Theodora Dallas, 34, told jurors a man on assault charges at Luton Crown Court had previously been accused of rape.
The trial in July 2011 was halted. Dallas, who is Greek, said her grasp of English was sometimes “not that good”.
Lord Judge said Dallas had “deliberately disobeyed” the trial judge’s instructions not to search the internet and added: “The damage to the administration of justice is obvious.”
He said: “Misuse of the internet by a juror is always a most serious irregularity and an effective custodial sentence is virtually inevitable.”
Her counsel Charles Parry had made a plea to the court to be merciful and impose a suspended sentence, but Lord Judge rejected this.
He said there was “no sufficient basis” for suspension “in this case an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate for the contempt which has been proved”.
Yes it was contempt of court, yes she disobeyed a judges instruction, but doesn’t it strike anyone as a bit over the top considering some of the more lenient sentences handed down to thieves, robbers,thugs, bullies, murderers and various other offenders to come before the courts that we’ve read about over the last 20 odd years?
It was pretty much the same with the case of Norman Scarth an 85 year old pensioner who was jailed for six months for recording court proceedings though eventually freed by the court of appeal who substituted one of 12 weeks which as he’d already served 12 weeks meant he was free to go.
Yes, people who breach the rules of a court should face a penalty, but when it’s compared to cases where people have died or been violently assaulted and given what amounts to a trivial slap on the wrist, then you have to view the situation where our judicial/legal system is seriously out of kilter.
Is this deliberate? Many of us now seem to think so where an apparently multi tiered justice system seem to give certain groups or certain actions a far different approach to others. Some of it is down to the Human Rights Act, others down to spurious “hate” laws over and above the normal law depending on your colour, religion or sexual preference.
It strikes me now, that the only way any of this can ever be put right now is a revolution, we need to remove the powers that be and completely rewrite the system to be fair, free and just for all.
Will it ever happen? I have my doubts, it just doesn’t seem to concern people enough other than a vague unease every so often often quashed by an “exciting” episode of Britain’s got mind bleach on ice.
I have a feeling that the inevitable revolution will actually be a power grab by the powers that be to remove the last of our freedoms and install rule by a powerful untouchable elite controlling a bunch of ignorant drones.
I hope I’m wrong.