The wheels of Justice turn slowly indeed

Posted on Fri 20 August 2010 by alex in general

I spent this morning at Cambridge Crown Court to see the sentencing of the guy that burgled us last month. This was a novelty for me as this is the first time I've been burgled and the perpetrator was caught. I did see him briefly when his name was called out by the defence counsel for a consultation before the court sat. He came out of the consultation room quite fast and as it turned out later in court was under the misapprehension he was there for a pre-sentencing session. This explains that when dully appointed hour rolled around and the case called there were just the clerks and a few bemused counsels waiting for him to turn up. The court didn't seem particularly concerned and had already postponed one trial hearing as the defendants couldn't be found.

I did hang around for one sentencing of someone who had plead guilty an assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The prosecution and defence counsels summarised the facts of what was essentially a pub fight that one person had decided to continue after having been kicked out of the pub. The victim had ended up with a few cuts and bruises ("out of luck more than anything else") and there was some discussion about whether the cheek bone had actually been fractured. The defendant did have a previous history of assault although as he'd just turned 18 this was his first time in front of the crown court. While the judge did say the case had passed the threshold for custody she in the end awarded a two year community supervision order, 80 hours of community service and an order to attend an anger management course. She seemed persuaded not to award custody on the basis the defendant had been looking for work and had a supportive family (who were in the public gallery). Hopefully this near miss of jail time will be enough to put the guy on a more positive track.

As for "our" guy I did briefly ask the counsel what was likely to happen. It seemed unlikely having left the court he would come back for sentencing today. There will most likely be a warrant put out for his arrest and the mater will get picked up later. One can hope he won't just walk out before the next hearing. I don't know if not turning up will attract extra punishment but the signs on the walls made it clear you could get up to 2 years in custody just for taking photos in court, one would assume missing your appearance attracts more?