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General Chat Thread, The Idiocy and Oddity of Judge's Sentencing in General; Strange that these two stories come up so close to each other, but the fact they did made me think. ...
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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    The Idiocy and Oddity of Judge's Sentencing

    Strange that these two stories come up so close to each other, but the fact they did made me think.

    Firstly, the two stories; you'll get the drift of them fairly quick, just look at the sentences.
    BBC News - Wrexham teacher jailed for downloading child porn
    BBC News - Handyman jailed for planting porn on boss's computer

    Now both, obviously, are appalling cases where the offenders have been found guilty by a jury of their peers and do deserve time. What confuses me is the disparity of the sentencing in relation to the crime.

    The first story, the man in question is himself the possessor of dubious morals, had thousands of images of all levels of severity, was in contact with children in a position of authority, and ticks every box on the check list of horror story.

    He gets 10 months.

    The second story is someone who does not possess said dubious morals personally, and is really only guilty of appalling judgement but is himself not a danger to children.

    He gets 12 years.



    ...

    That's not right, is it? Both cases deserve jail time as they are supporting an abhorrent market, but one did it not for gratification or personal need but for revenge, however twisted. The other, who was a genuine danger to children and had photos of pupils on his laptop as well (albeit innocent - but still!) only gets a fraction of the sentence.

    I don't know anything else about these cases other than what has been said in these articles and earlier articles on the issue, so feel free to inform me if there are extenuating circumstances, but I can't see how the latter crime is 15 times more severe than the former - if anything, the other way round? (Although ten months would still be too lenient at that point)


    Thoughts? Discussion? Probably flaming although please try not to?
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 23rd September 2010 at 04:52 PM. Reason: bad grammar, too late in the day

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    TwoZeroAlpha's Avatar
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    Just a thought, the handyman case may have had other factors like "gaining unauthorised access to a computer system" that had to be taken into account and added to the tariff.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoZeroAlpha View Post
    Just a thought, the handyman case may have had other factors like "gaining unauthorised access to a computer system" that had to be taken into account and added to the tariff.
    Perversion of justice was thrown in, certainly, but I'd have thought the other charge was more serious. Perhaps I'm just biased from working with children and having a daughter of my own. Still a massive difference though.

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    Not really, who is to say that the images of children was only for using to get someone else sacked? The fact that he possessed them at all is bad enough. Add to the fact that he nearly destroyed an innocent man (and familly) I can see why he has a longer sentance.

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Consider also that many paedophiles are generally considered to have mental health issues and compulsively seek out images such as those found in the first case. Conversely, the handyman in the second case was quite deliberate in his actions and knew exactly what he was doing.

    That said, I agree that the extremity of the difference definitely raises questions.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    I would switch the sentences round personally, give the handyman a short sentence and the teacher a longer one.

    In the Handyman's case the Judge even says "there was no evidence that Weiner was a paedophile" but then says "You will go to prison for a long time. The prison population is not renowned for being particularly fair or reasonable," "You will be suspected by many of being a paedophile ... you may find that you suffer, both in prison and on release, for the rest of your life." Which is code for you are going to Jail for a long time and you will be very badly treated, assulted, raped etc and don't expect it to get any better when you get out. All over 177 images that he was only using as a means to an end. It is basically the same as if he planted drugs on someone and prosecuting him as a major dealer because he had to have possession of a small amount of cocaine to place on his target.

    However if you are a teacher with 8147 images of the highest level of child porn for your own sexual gratification you get a slap on the wrist because of 'previous good standing' Dare I say there is a class based distinction going on here, if you are a Middle Class Educated Professional there is a presumption that you are just a good person who has gone a bit off the rails. If you are a Working Class Manual Worker (handyman) then you are a devious criminal who deserves to be locked up for as long as possible?
    Last edited by somabc; 23rd September 2010 at 10:55 PM.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    I'm trying not to make assumptions here but am going on what the jury of peers has stated as the truth, or most likely truth. I know this is far from infallible but it is the best we have to go on. That said...

    Quote Originally Posted by penfold View Post
    Not really, who is to say that the images of children was only for using to get someone else sacked? The fact that he possessed them at all is bad enough. Add to the fact that he nearly destroyed an innocent man (and familly) I can see why he has a longer sentance.
    I'm not defending him in any way here - what he did was beyond reproach and he does deserve the time. And whatever your reason, having such pictures is supporting the production of them, so the suffering caused is equal. In terms of "future threat", though, he poses no on-going threat to children himself. He needs punishing, but society doesn't need protecting from him to such a large degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    I would switch the sentences round personally, give the handyman a short sentence and the teacher a longer one.

    ...

    Dare I say there is a class based distinction going on here, if you are a Middle Class Educated Professional there is a presumption that you are just a good person who has gone a bit off the rails. If you are a Working Class Manual Worker (handyman) then you are a devious criminal who deserves to be locked up for as long as possible?
    I don't know if I'd switch so much as just raise the 10 month sentence, but as it stands, they are certainly the wrong way round.

    As to the class discrimination... who knows. But you don't get many judges from working class backgrounds, I suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    Consider also that many paedophiles are generally considered to have mental health issues and compulsively seek out images such as those found in the first case. Conversely, the handyman in the second case was quite deliberate in his actions and knew exactly what he was doing.

    That said, I agree that the extremity of the difference definitely raises questions.
    Unless the article has been updated since I read it, there wasn't any mention of any psychiatric issues, so if the judge has taken that into consideration when it wasn't considered by the court, that's... well, amateur I suppose.


    My issue here isn't really that the handy man got more, I suppose, but that the teacher got so little - he seems to be the absolutely classic case of getting into a dangerous position, goes through the checklist of behaviour for cases like this, and gets only 10 months, likely than 6 months inside practically. As I say, I only know what was in those articles, but that is just insulting to all those who suffered.

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    The fallout from the second case could easily cost the guy his life. Pretty much once accused your life is over.

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    CAM
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    The handyman deserves that time. Put yourself in the innocent guy's shoes, he was suddenly accused out of the blue of a heinous crime that ends people's lives. He and his entire family had more then just their careers in danger, imagine if tabloid reading vigilantes got to him first?

    The reason he has such a long sentence is he has put the life of an innocent and respectable man in danger. He has attempted to pervert the course of justice in the process, fuelled the market for child pornography by obtaining the images and all motivated by greed. There is no "I was abused myself as a child" or "I can't help but look at this stuff" it is entirely based on a lust for power and money. It's a message from the courts: Don't screw with us on such an important matter or you will get stung.

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    Prison is there for people who need to be removed from the public domain. I don't condone either act, and certainly don't agree with either of them.
    But locking that ex-teacher up for life would not help anyone, especially not him. He can no longer work with children, and will have a conviction for 10 years, and a stigma against him the rest of his life. With psychiatric help and the right motivation, the man will still be able to lead a life, just not the one he wanted. We all know people with problems, if we condemned them all the world would be more prisons than free people!

    How many of you have, or know someone who has taken part in an act of piracy, or bought drugs? Many of these acts fuel the same groups who he has been accused of enabling. This guy has crossed the first hurdle by admitting a problem and pleading guilty. He has himself shown no malicious intent, and is a danger to himself more than others.

    The second guy is a danger to society. Destroying another person and their family for the sake of a few pay grades is dispicable. It shows a complete lack of morality, and had he not been stopped when he did, what is to say he wouldn't have escalated to assault or murder?

    I do think the first case should have been a longer sentance, but do not think it deserved 12 years.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Another case today where he solicited children through social networking and abused them, he got 8.5 years still less than the handyman.

    BBC News - Facebook and Bebo child sex abuse postman jailed

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    He got a longer sentence because he could of ruined someone's life. An innocent man's life would have been over, I think that has to be taken into account.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatmas View Post
    He got a longer sentence because he could of ruined someone's life. An innocent man's life would have been over, I think that has to be taken into account.
    Yeah and pedophiles don't ruin someones life?

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Unless the article has been updated since I read it, there wasn't any mention of any psychiatric issues, so if the judge has taken that into consideration when it wasn't considered by the court, that's... well, amateur I suppose.
    BBC News isn't exactly renowned for thorough reporting. I'd be surprised if any paedophile was sentenced without having a psychiatric report prepared. I think we can probably agree that they all have something wrong in the head.



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