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“Violent protestors to be jailed within 24 hours.”

Oh dear. Populist silliness and #FakeLaw from a Justice Secretary who should know better, and a Home Secretary who just doesn’t.

Here’s why: [SHORT THREAD]
1. Not all people charged with offences arising out of protests will plead guilty. Some will elect trials in the magistrates’ court, which will take months to come round.

Some alleged offences will be tried in the Crown Court, where there is a trial backlog of at least a year.
2. Of those who plead guilty, a number will be young and have no previous convictions. Courts will be expected to obtain Pre-Sentence Reports from the Probation Service (or Youth Offending Team for under-18s) before sentencing. Due to current pressures, this will take time.
3. Serious offences will be committed for sentence to the Crown Court. This typically takes at least three weeks.
4. Courts are required by law to follow Sentencing Guidelines. The Guideline on the Imposition of Custodial Sentences and Community Orders sets out guidance for when courts may avoid an immediate custodial sentence, even for serious offences.

Government cannot influence this.
5. Most significantly, many magistrates’ courts are already failing to implement social distancing due to overcrowding. A “fast-track” system to force even more cases - and people - into these courts will present a serious health risk to court users.
6. So, in short:

🛑Not all violent protestors will be jailed.

🛑Those that are will in many if not most cases take much longer than 24 hours.

🛑A “fast track system” modelled on the response to the 2011 riots is impractical and dangerous given COVID-19’s impact on the courts.
7. I’ll welcome an update, but latest figures suggest that nationwide there have been 135 arrests out of 137,500 protestors.

Quite why this requires a response modelled on the 2011 riots, where there were 4,000 arrests, is something yet to be explained.…
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