Criminal Justice

We have all seen the peeing football fan from Essex, who had allegedly consumed 16 pints over the previous night and was, after remonstrations from his father, it seems, encouraged to offer himself up to Essex police.

Of course very few public toilets are actually accessible. So how on earth do you cope after 16 pints?

First, I have to say he was very fortunate to find a local Police Station – and indeed one that was actually open. I’m tempted to congratulate Essex County Council for their forbearance in austerity.

Second, he was very ill-advised.

His father may have admonished him – but he should really have been guided by Conservative family values.

That is: stick together and don’t own up.

Third, he shouldn’t have pleaded guilty but should have requested referral to the Crown Court – so no criminal record for a year or probably two – time to put his life on track and be fine and upstanding – because that’s how long with the ‘defunding’ in the now popular phrase (aka austerity) of the criminal justice system, the Crown Court would take to try him.

Putting him in prison – which is likely actually to be more expensive than any similar period he spent in education, since he has already admitted to being ashamed of his offence, serves no obvious purpose and uses resources disproportionately.

And that shows up the problem of government deception towards – or downright ignorance of – the criminal justice system.

Indeed if Black Lives or indeed any other lives matter, the inordinate delays of the criminal justice system is the real scandal that we should all be aware of. For defendants or witnesses prolonged waiting and eventually casting your mind back a couple of years really does mean that justice delayed is likely to mean justice denied.

With a functioning legal system yet a very skimpy justice system we are, in the end, peeing – or worse – on ourselves.