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Sentence length halved and for once it’s not good

[16 Dec 2013] An occasional theme of this space is meaningless sentences. By which we mean, of course, terms of imprisonment that are immediately halved on being handed down, like brand new cars losing chunks of their value the moment they leave the showroom.

The latest example is an eight-year term given to a former coroner who swindled ‘weak and vulnerable’ clients for more than a decade. The judge at Southwark Crown Court said Alan Crickmore was the most dishonest solicitor he’d ever come across. So he gave him an eight-year prison sentence... only to tell him in the next breath that he’d be required to serve just four years as a minimum. Crickmore, a solicitor, had plundered his clients by overcharging them and stealing their money to fund cruises and home improvements.

Wouldn’t people have more respect for sentences if the headline figure was much closer to the term actually served? [The Times, 29 Nov]

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