This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Chronicles of Judge Tim Stead

Either I'm going mad, or I have just read a story about a judge who had a go at the police for taking into account someone's criminal record when charging them with an offence.

Briefly, two sisters - Paula and Lindsay - robbed someone. Paula's actions consisted of demanding money, snatching a handbag and then giving up when the victim's three-year-old child started crying. Lindsay's actions consisted of grabbing the handbag then punching the victim in the face. Paula had no prior convictions, Lindsay a string of theft-related 'previous'.

Commonsense, regardless of any Home Office guidelines, would suggest that Paula has carried out a non-violent attempt at theft which ceased when she realised she had upset a child. Lindsay, on the other hand, inflicted violence on the victim in front of said child. The police 'cautioned' Paula, which is effectively a formal warning which sits on your record and can be used against you if you do the same thing again. Lindsay, however, was charged to go to court, the theory being she's had plenty of chances and her actions were worse.

The judge, Tim Stead, in letting Lindsay off with a supervision order, said that if the police hadn't cautioned the other offender, he would have sent Lindsay to prison for two years, but it just didn't seem fair under the circumstances. I've re-read this several times, but it still says the same thing.

I had not realised that the police were supposed to treat every suspect the same, regardless of what they've done. Before cautioning or charging anyone in future, I will be sure to pick up the phone to Recorder Tim Stead and double-check that he won't be acquitting any murderers as a result.

Read on for some other great decisions by Recorder Tim Stead:
  • In 2002 he gave out a whopping 18 month detention and training order (which means 9 months prison, which means 4 months prison - see here) to a guy who clubbed someone with a pool cue resulting in the need for plastic surgery. Oh and a few hours community service to his accomplice.
  • In 2004 he refused to impose a heavy fine on a driver with an appalling driving record because "it would hit his girlfriend and their young baby". Instead, the driver was left free to hit anyone he pleased. (Bear in mind I'm not a fan of heavy sentencing for motoring offences, but this guy was already on bail for dangerous driving after a pursuit with the police.)
  • In 2005 he spared a guy growing a hydroponics factory from prison because he had a job. He did force him to do 120 hours community service, so that'll teach him.
  • In 2005, he fined a guy £750 and 100 hours of community service for GBH after he bit off someone's ear. The offender, a Mr Toogood was truly sorry, so the ear didn't really matter.
  • In another ear-biting case in 2007, this time with an offender who had previous done exactly the same thing before, he jailed the guy for 18 months (halve this for actual total served, if he was unlucky).
  • In 2006 Judge Tim Stead jailed some drug dealers for 5-7 years. A good sentence, but they had in fact been involved in an operation which earned £1.3million in drug deals, and a factory containing £25,000 of heroin. Is anyone else thinking there's a maximum sentence of life for Class A trafficking for a good reason?
  • In 2007 he jailed a robber who pulled a knife on a kid after putting him in a headlock, for the grand total of three years (again, halve it for time served). In his remarks he said the knife had been an "afterthought" and the offence has just started out as a theft attempt and only became a robbery because the victim maliciously tried to resist.
  • And yet, despite all of the above, a guy who made fake designer clothes was fined in excess of £100,000 with a three year jail term to serve if he failed to pay.
  • Interestingly, in another ear-slicing case in 2005, Recorder Tim Stead adjourned the case for sentencing. Probably a good move for the victim, because the recorder who took on the job jailed the offender for eight years. Which proves that Mr Stead's sentences are NOT the result of guidelines or policy.
Not to degenerate completely into The Sun newspaper, but when will somebody stop this guy? Journalists, lobbyists, feel free to investigate him.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.
In case you don't know the jargon, a Recorder, like Mr Tim Stead, is a kind of judge. Or should that be, kind of a judge.


Anonymous Inspector Gadget said...

Yes, but offenders like those mentioned are suffering as much as their victims. Don't you read "CJ Now" Bloggsy? Come on, you KNOW that treating these people harshly only adds to their problems. Have a heart, Mr Stead is trying to make society safer. Just because as a police officer you meet the victims doesn't mean you have the correct view on this OK?

29 January, 2008 18:53

Blogger Mousie said...

This sort of thing is bewildering to the rest of us; for you as officers it must be downright bloody infuriating.

It's enough to make a lesser woman bitter and cynical!

29 January, 2008 18:56

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"if the police hadn't cautioned the other offender, he would have sent Lindsay to prison for two years, but it just didn't seem fair under the circumstances"

I don't get it either. I can understand it being "not fair" if they'd done the same thing but they hadn't.

Your list suggests "stupid lefty crap" to me, Bloggs. I would hazard a guess that most of your listed people are from the underclass, and thus poor victims of circumstance, and the bloke who made fake gear (something very common) was an evil capitalist exploiting them.

It's not so much that it's infuriating. One can understand that. It's just that it makes no kind of sense whatsoever AFAICS !

29 January, 2008 19:27

Anonymous purpleavenger said...

Stead said

"one can end up facing the sort of peril that this defendant did face"

Peril , peril ?

When the Daily anguish and mirsun newspapers prattle on , point them in the direction of this numbnut

can you kill a recorder and get away with it ?

29 January, 2008 19:29

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

purpleavenger, see my last post re getting away with murder (not)

29 January, 2008 19:45

Anonymous nightjack said...

Is this the rascal?

29 January, 2008 21:18

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole world is mad, and even I can see that from my windowless padded cell.

29 January, 2008 21:18

Anonymous rosco said...

I have to say that sounds a pretty appalling misunderstanding to have about charging guidelines, as well as no appreciation of the severity of offences committed.

29 January, 2008 21:22

Anonymous pc pc said...

yeah nitejack i wondered that too

29 January, 2008 21:33

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

its only when you think there are few things in life that can siurprise or bewilder you, that something so bizzarre as this arrives!

What a C*ck! where did he study law ? Hendon?

29 January, 2008 22:53

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

I'm not surprised. It might be because I'm tired, but that actually made me feel a bit sick.

29 January, 2008 23:45

Anonymous notellin said...

This is precisely why we should remove sentencing criteria. This would make those members of the Judiciary who behave in such a manner stand out all the more.

I am also tempted to recommend someone bites his ear off and see how he feels, perhaps we could combine it with a mugging. If someone could arrange for one or more of his children to become heroin addicts that would also help and perhaps his car could be written of by a dangerous disqualified drunk driver with no insurance as well. To keep things in full ironic overload mode i would prefer said crimes to be committed by a feral youth under the age of 18 please.

Of course that's said in bad taste jest but i wonder how his world view would change. I am all for the judiciary being independent, in fact i consider it imperative to the success and stability of the UK, however when sentencing is concerned they really need to have some awareness of reality. Independent, impartial yes but not disconnected.

I doubt CPS will bother to appeal the sentence.

Although i am (sarcastically) pleased to hear that our lucky robber has been out of trouble for a a whole 2 months following her most recent spawning of yet another child destined to join the social scrap heap and a life of feral abandon to be spent preying on the decent.

We keep, catching them, locking them up, somehow forcing a charge from CPS, get them to court (after a dozen warrants) see them get convicted and then they walk. The most dangerous thing in for a Judge to do is to believe the shite the use to justify the sentencing criteria. When that happens, hope is truly lost.

So MOP's there you have it, the reason why its all going to hell in a hand basket. It doesn't matter what we as Police do, if they don't get porridge when they deserve it then all the Police in the world wont help keep society safe. Feel free to stop blaming us for everything please, and media types you take note as well.

30 January, 2008 00:00

Blogger Bitseach said...

I like the way the tw@ suggested that this was all somehow the police's fault!?

I suppose he'll have some piss-ant excuses for all the other pony sentences too? S'pose they were all our fault, yeah?

What a total [blunt, tiny] tool.

30 January, 2008 00:30

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brave blogging PC Bloggs. And fair comments too,

30 January, 2008 12:43

Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

For the love of god someone please make it compulsorary that if you want to be a judge or a magistrate you HAVE to spend a minimum of two shifts per month (not just nice soft daytime / early evening shifts either!) in a response vehicle with the police.

I suspect those soft sentances would take a distinct lean to the harsh side no matter how left-wing the official!

And i agree with notellin - get rid of the damn sentancing criteria. Even the damn judges dislike it!

30 January, 2008 12:51

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but could someone explain why MP Derek Conway who has clearly stolen money through fraud and it is going up in the amount each news item you read, about 60,000 now, is not arrested and taken in to a police station along with all others implicated where as probably the last 100 underclass you may have arrested for robbery and theft may probably have stolen a total of far less in money terms and have probably not only seen the inside of a cell but already appeared before magistrates. It clearly looks to MOP their is a law for us and a law to be ignored for Right Hon. and friends. Its why you didn't get a pay rise. It really Stinks big time.

31 January, 2008 02:24

Anonymous Old Man said...

The unfortunate thing is, the judge was quite correct (in legal theory, at least).

People who are involved in a common criminal endeavour should be disposed of in exactly the same way. If one goes to Court, then all should go to Court.

This even means that a juvenile with a clear record acting in concert with an adult (with or without a criminal record) should be treated for disposal purposes in the same way as that adult; if the adult is charged so should be the juvenile: let the Court decide what penalty (if any) to impose in each case.

Yes, the juvenile requires distinctly separate processing from the adult, but that is not the point under discussion.

I am often requested (usually by a tricky defence solicitor) to caution one party involved in a crime while prosecuting others from the same crime. I always refuse, lest the defence use my action to persuade a Court to impose a lenient sentence on the persons actually appearing before the Court. (And be aware that the Courts will do exactly that every time, given the opportunity.)

So chalk that one up to experience.

Old Man

31 January, 2008 08:09

Anonymous purpleavenger said...

Old man , what you say may be technically correct , however , sending a child to the 'big ouse' just because it lets the court play a game is a waste of everyone's time and money . In this case the Judge used a silly get out clause not to jail .

It's up to the Police to decide on cautioning , if the gravity scores are OK .

In any event the poor PC who had this in their crime inbox would most defiantly had to queue up to get the advice from CPS (statuary charging =law ). So it's their fault (again )

31 January, 2008 08:57

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Old man, I have to disagree. If you are right, why does the MG6 - "Information for prosecutors" form - have a box to tick for "others receiving caution from this offence". A caution lasts less long on a criminal record and does not have to be declared the way a conviction does (although that less and less nowadays), therefore if one party made a first-time mistake, going along with a seasoned robber, admits their mistake and moreover did not demonstrate the same level of violence (or any violence), why should they not be allowed a caution?

31 January, 2008 18:32

Anonymous Inspector Gadget said...

Bloggsy, I know I'm a bit out of date but "Caution"?

You mean like "Do that again sonny and I'll give you a good shoeing" type caution?

31 January, 2008 20:13

Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's a toff thats above it all and un-touched by the sort of scum you and I cross everyday.

Unfortunaley Ellie, no-one can stop him. Judges can't be sacked for this sort of thing and so he will go on sentencing like this for some time, just like the judge who sentenced a peadophile to a sentence of buying the victim a pushbike!

31 January, 2008 20:29

Anonymous purpleavenged said...

No . you can touch them , you have to complain to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice office .

However ,that last happened when Beelzebub had his nads frozen

Judges are a law unto themselves

ho ho ,I made a joke

The fact of the matter is which scaredy cat CPS employee of the month , or regional Rumpole of the Bailey is going to flag up to the gentleman's club that is the senior Judiciary " hey I'm a trouble maker "

none , that's what

There are legions of twits like this out there

31 January, 2008 21:33

Anonymous Old Man said...

PC Bloggs

The MG6 has that box to forewarn the prosecutor as to what might happen in Court.

Please remember that my posting was as to the authority that allowed the Recorder to pass the sentence that he did. Before conclusion of the trial, a competent prosecutor would have acknowledged the difference in treatment and would have offered appropriately forceful reasons for such treatment. Whether that was done in this case I do not know (and given the personality involved it may not have made any difference anyway).

I did not say you must not treat people involved in a common criminal endeavour differently (I used the word should); but if you do take such a course of action, you need to be aware of the possible consequences at Court, and not be surprised if the judge concerned acts as this one did.

You may perceive him to have been unreasonable, but unfortunately he was not acting beyond expectation.

Be prepared, think ahead.

Old Man

P.S. Never use "cautioning" as a short cut to save work: in the long run it never will.

01 February, 2008 00:48

Blogger jerym said...

As an antidote this should please you a little.-------------------------

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