It was good to see that a man who repeatedly kicked his girlfriend in the head has been jailed for four years by the Court of Appeal, which overturned his original suspended sentence:
[Matthias] Dawson was given a 12-month suspended sentence in August after admitting GBH with intent at Inner London Crown Court. The appeal against the sentence was brought by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC – the first time he has taken such action since taking office in May.
Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Minister, is right to be looking at reducing the number of people in prison. It is unclear how locking up large numbers of non-violent offenders (especially drug users) benefits society as a whole (though there are some non-violent crimes which deserve such sentences), especially given the high re-offending rates. For crimes such as violent assault though, prison should always be the outcome, as such people need to be locked up to protect others from them. It is unclear what the point of a suspended sentence is in this case. Nor was this an isolated incident. Three teenagers tortured an autistic boy for days and received only community orders and suspended sentences in October:
The gang used a mobile phone to film themselves carrying out depraved assaults on their 17-year-old victim. During a sickening spree of violence the three thugs kicked and stamped on his head, repeatedly punched him in the chest, beat him with a tennis racket and then threw him down a steep embankment.
The terrified teenager – who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism – was also pelted with dog mess, had his limbs scratched with sandpaper and was forced to drink vodka and gin until he passed out.
Mobile phone footage showed the yobs laughing and joking as they made him endure other abuse and, in a final humiliating assault, they applied adhesive tape to his genital area before ripping the tape off.
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Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs,Disability