Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sonnex and Farmer

These two blokes were freed because of endemic cock-ups. Sonnex was supposed to be in prison. Probation didn't recall him to prison. He'd been arrested and charged for other matters, and the fax from probation to the cells wasn't sent. The document that deals with recall on licence is a single side of A4, signed on behalf of the Home Secretary, informing the person named that they are being recalled to prison for "unacceptable behaviour" whilst out on licence.

Sonnex got technical bail on the new offences, because the court was told he'd been recalled on licence. He went back down to the cells, who declined to detain him because the certificate of recall had not come through (and quite rightly so). He was released.

By the time the Met got around to conducting arrest enquiries, two weeks later, they arrived at Sonnex's address a few hours after the murders. Sonnex, I am given to understand, is a well-known local villain, and has a certain pedigree in the courts.

Discussing this horrendous affair with a French judge shortly after the news broke, I said that if I were advising the families, I'd be advising them to issue civil proceedings.

Lo, and behold, proceedings have been issued, seeking compensation from the probation service and the police.

I shall make myself perfectly clear -- I feel a large amount of sympathy for the individuals in the probation service concerned. Those in the probation service are horrendously overworked, understaffed and underfunded. The Met is also stretched. The issue of where the blame lies is extremely complex, and may have to be thrashed out in the courts. Actually, I'd put money on a settlement to avoid embarrassment.

In the comments of the Times Online article linked above, there is the following comment:

Symon Allen wrote:

If you have overcrowded prisons then screw the EU policy on the death penalty and start culling the murderes/rapists/paedophiles/insane. We don't want them back in society and we don't want to pay for their upkeep with our taxes. Get rid of them NOW.

Symon Allen, you are a very dangerous person, and your views are repellent. I appreciate that the internet tends to provide a home to the fringes of society, but suggesting that we "cull" people with mental illnesses to make space is beyond the pale. I am lost for words.


  1. I consider Symon Allens comments (as per your quote) to be a damn good idea. Just think - if we got rid of the criminally insane - the ones that spoil society for others) then we might have some room for the people that the justice system might be able to help rather than just enforcing their view that Justice is a tooless old crone.


  2. I can scarcely believe what I'm reading. It seems they are breeding. Just in case anyone missed, or perhaps misread, the thrust of Sean / Symon Allen's comments, it is to execute the mentally ill to make space in the Criminal Justice System. Typing it out doesn't make it any less surreal, actually.

    To hell with it, why don't we start on the podgy folk? Obesity costs the NHS a lot, why don't we execute fatties? At the very least, can we all agree on lining up the smokers, for one last deliciously ironic cigarette in front of the firing squad?

  3. You must accept though the views of that poster are abhorrent, they are a quite predictable response to the situation people are faced with.

    We have insane killers walking the streets(and yes I know plenty of examples that never made the papers), we have murderers freed after a few years inside, we have serious assaults being dealt with by cautions , are you really surprised that people respond badly to that????

    P.S I notice that serial rapist malcolm fairley AKA The Fox is walking the streets again. Don't have nightmares, do sleep well :)

    1. how do you know malcolm fairley has been released?

  4. having a system that kills people would just give the misfits and the murderers another way to kill people. Killing is wrong whether it is sanctioned by law or not - and why should it stop at the murderers and rapists what about those people who disagree with the current thinking of those with influence? should they not be hanged too? OH and those that have weird haircuts and big shoes, lets get rid of them too because they might be against us one day. AND, while we're at it what about the old and infirm Oh let's get them onto the list. and now we have the problem of numbers so lets make a place where they can be kept until we can get the excuted - an internment camp... Does this sound familiar. It seems to me that those people who would like to kill people to help the justice system should have the courage of their convictions and at least give us a screen-name to shout at ~sigh~
    Sorry, rant over.

  5. I was the initial Anonymous - never posted before - just didn't want to login/register. However I just figured out that I can supply a name. Back to the argument....
    Ladykis - your comments are ridiculous and the usual guff brought out when someone disagrees with you. Its a classic "think of the children" knee jerk argument when the children have nothing to do with it.

    I firmly believe that the death penalty has its place. There are people in society that are not (IMHO) worth saving. Not just that but I don't want to save them. If we remove them from society then the prison system may be able to "help" those it meant to try to help and give second (and more) chances to. As it is we have a prison system that the system can't use because its full. We have sections of society that are learning and have learnt that the Justice system cannot cope with them and is toothless. They are learning and have learnt that they are above the law.

    Our society has serious problems that will not be solved by bringing back the death penalty. However bringing back the DP is one part of what (IMHO) is required to start solving our societies problems. Bringing back the DP would at least be a start. I (BTW) agree that the need to execute people is abhorrent - I just don't see another workable solution. To carry on as we are is NOT a viable option - its not working

    I believe that people should be allowed to do what they want providing that what they want does not negatively effect others and that that rather loose comment is fundamentally what the Justice system is there for. Its an ideal to aim for (not that it will ever hit it).

    Back to societies problems. They are fundamental and nothing short of a fundamental solution is going to fix them. Unfortunately a large part of the problem is caused by the simple fact that there are far too many of us in existence competing for resources that there are not enough for. Its a global problem that is getting worse all the time. My personal opinion is that there does not exist the political / social will to actually face societies problems and that our society will crash and burn on a global scale sometime within the next 100 or so years. I hope I am wrong - but I don't think so.

    This next bit not to be taken seriously:
    As for The Anonymous Prosecutor's comments about the fat folk and the smokers (for all that they were tongue in cheek) - we can agree on the smokers - foul antisocial habit. The fat folk - oops - I may need to go on a diet

  6. Society is on the verge of collapse! And it always has been, and always will be, except that it's not. There is no "fundamental problem" that requires a "fundamental solution". Unless, of course, you mean that as code for "final solution"?

    By the way, you might gain a shred of credibility if you at least tried to clearly define the problem before knee-jerking a solution.

  7. Sean, I appreciate you putting forward your views so fully. Could you perhaps indicate your views in relation to the mentally ill? That, after all, was the part to which I took exception. Do you think that the mentally ill should be "culled" to make space?

    Society is not in meltdown, or anything like it -- look at sub-saharan Africa for a good example of what that looks like.

    Bringing back the death penalty won't help solve anything -- it doesn't deter crime, it doesn't rehabilitate offenders, and it doesn't save money.

  8. I am not an entusioast for the death penalty, but I think you should be more careful with your facts.
    There is good evidence that the death penalty deters murder, see Wolpin, Capital Punishment in England, American Economics Review.
    It doesn't rehabilitate offenders, but then nothing does, much.

  9. Sorry - enthusiast. (But I'm not an entusioast, either.)

  10. Mentally Ill...

    I suppose it depends on your definition of mentally ill.

    Does "Downs Syndrome" count as mentally ill? (for example) Or are we considering criminally mentally ill.

    If someone is mentally ill to the extent that they are effecting significantly the quality of life of other people - through violence. They can't be cured and pose a danger if they are let out - then what is the point of caring for them indefinitely.
    Its the same answer for the "normal" criminals - if you can't rehabilitate then what what is the point of storing them away until they die.
    Some mentally ill can control their affliction through drugs - which enable them to function (allegedly) normally. However the decision not to take the drugs and therefore revert to previous behaviour should be considered as a deliberate act - which may lead to a death penalty.

    There are no clear answers but I do think you are wrong (at least in part) when you say

    "it doesn't deter crime" - maybe/maybe not
    "it doesn't rehabilitate offenders" - agreed - but that's not the point
    "and it doesn't save money." - it must

    If we take a top down view - and leave the emotion out - there are a number of people / groups of people that effectively pollute the gene pool. Out technology, drugs etc have succeeded in keeping some people alive where their removal from the gene pool would be a good thing

  11. What is the point of caring for them indefinitely? I guess we just differ as to the intrinsic value we attribute to a human life.

    Saving money -- absolutely it does. Executing people is very expensive, unless you do it the Chinese way, no trials, lawyers, or judges, just a bullet in the back of the head, and a bill to the family for the bullet.

    Your "top down view", whatever that means, was shared by a number of vile dictators, Hitler being the best-known. "Pollution of the gene pool" indeed...

  12. "There is good evidence that the death penalty deters murder"

    When I did a dissertation on the subject of the Death Penalty (and more specifically how constitutional it is in the USA) I found much more evidence to the contrary than to support your views. In fact some of these stats help to demonstrate it:

    In the USA states without the death penalty consistently have fewer murders per capita than those with the death penalty. (Death Penalty Information Centre)

    Since the abolition of the Death penalty in canada (1976) there has been a steady decline in the number of homicides: 542 in 2000 v 701 in 1975 (Myths about the Death Penalty, Combat Law, Volume 2, Issue 2)

    The number of homicides in America remains far greater than in any other similar country, some put this down to the level of gun availability, but it doesn't fully account for the increased numbers. (Myths about the Death Penalty, Combat Law, Volume 2, Issue 2)

    Research from America suggests that Capital cases are far more expensive than cases where a the sentence is life without possibility of parole. Not only that it costs more per person per year to keep a person on Death Row than it does to keep them in prison for life without the possibility of parole. A number of US states have even suspended or abolished the Death Penalty purly on the basis that it cost far too much. (Death Penalty information centre)

    A bit late for this debate I know, but it's there for you anyway.

  13. The People voted for Brexit not 40Bn to the
    Lets have a Referendum on the Death Penalty, after we are a Democracy!!!!