Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 25/05/12

The Best Justice Money Can Buy?

It won't have come as any surprise to anyone who has seen enough of the judicial system of this country to be sufficiently cynical about it, but the sentence passed on Laura Johnson today merely underlines what many of us suspected.

Consider some facts:

Her sentence? Two years.

Even more bizarrely, the trial judge allowed the nearly five months during which Johnson had been tagged under curfew at her parents' home to count towards time served. That means that - although she had not spent a single day in prison up until today - she will be deemed in about two weeks from now to be a full quarter of the way through her total sentence, and halfway to her standard release date. Moreover, she could (and probably will) be released on another tagged curfew sometime in August, and could be free even of that encumbrance in time for her to go out partying at Christmas.

In contrast, two young men - idiots both - who put up Facebook pages calling for riots where no riot ever transpired will still be only halfway to the earliest point they can be released when Johnson is back home.

Perhaps the reason for this disjuncture can be found in this quote from the BBC report:

"She is the daughter of wealthy couple Robert and Lindsay Johnson, who own direct marketing business Avongate Ltd."

'Wealthy couple' in such circumstances no doubt translates as 'can afford the best shysters'; a luxury not afforded to the Facebook Two or the vast majority of the young people at whom the judiciary have flung not just the book but most of the library in the last eighteen months or do.

And what of the response of the University of Exeter, where Johnson has been a student?

"We will now consider the outcome in order to determine the best way forward with regards to Laura's studies at the university."

Compare and contrast that with the way that Swansea Univerity has treated Liam Stacey (see the post before this one) for something which - repulsive as it undoubtedly was - was far less serious than driving around a gang of thieves.

Justice in this country - if it ever were otherwise - has now become the right and prerogative of those capable of paying for it.