I AM not just annoyed. I’m furious that two judges, completely out of touch with the public they represent, have passed totally inadequate sentences on two men who have committed major crimes.
At Bradford Crown Court this week Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC passed a two year sentence on former Huddersfield Giants winger Greg Johnson for sexually assaulting and causing grievous bodily harm to a woman stranger in a local bar, smashing a glass tumbler in her face and causing permanent injuries.
There were no mitigating features in a case which some years ago would have attracted a prison sentence of seven years. For his lawyer to say he had expressed remorse means nothing.
I cannot remember when, but the Government, in an attempt to keep down the prison population, stipulated that for a defendant to plead guilty shows remorse.
That is ludicrous. What it means that in many cases barristers or solicitors tell their clients to plead guilty to ensure they get a lesser sentence.
In the other case which also infuriates me and was also heard at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Peter Benson jailed Gavin Sartain for a minimum of 12 years for the murder of his partner in a frenzied attack, stabbing her 39 times.
Again no mitigation other than he had been drinking.
That sentence is also inadequate and surely should have been at least 20 years.
I am not talking about society taking revenge on wrong-doers but punishing them properly for their crimes.
Whatever happened to the maxim the punishment must fit the crime?
Some years ago a well-known judge told me that when he considered all the facts he tried to imagine what Joe Public would think if he had studied all the case papers.
“If I said to myself that the average person would have expected this defendant to go down for five years, then I gave him five years.”
It’s about time judges realised they are not representing themselves on the bench. They are representing us.
And I venture to suggest that the average, law-abiding citizen out there would in no way countenance a two year jail sentence for Johnson or a 12 year sentence for Sartain.
I would hope that the Crown Prosecution Service will appeal against the leniency of the sentences in both these cases.
KIRKLEES Council’s proposed Local Development Framework states that development in the Green Belt is essential to create new jobs.
It has earmarked 140 hectares (1.4m square metres) of green fields for industrial development in areas all over Kirklees.
What Kirklees Council has not explained is how it has actually calculated this need for green field development and, more importantly, what it has chosen to exclude.
Kirklees has not used the actual figures quoted in the Tym (development guidance) report – they have used an average and they have still got the calculations wrong.
Kirklees has disregarded the spare land that they themselves have identified within our existing factory sites and they have also excluded our empty industrial buildings even though they are readily available.
But, worst of all, Kirklees has not accounted for a single new manufacturing job being created in any of our existing factories. Not one.
The only explanation is that every factory and warehouse in Kirklees is working at full capacity.
So why would Kirklees choose to exclude large areas of designated industrial land and used inaccurate calculations? I have asked, but Kirklees is not willing to discuss it.
If Kirklees was open about how it has worked out the numbers it would tell you that we don’t actually need to use any green field land – but what we need to do is to use our existing industrial sites more effectively.
Please support your local action groups and the Kirklees Community Action Network by contacting your local councillors and Kirklees Planning and tell them how you feel.
You can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: LDF, Civic Centre 3, PO Box B93, Huddersfield HD1 2JR
Joys of writing
I WAS delighted to read about the success of local writers recently.
It’s good to know that it isn’t just celebrities and sports people who can get books published.
Like many in Yorkshire and beyond who enjoy writing, I too have had the ‘not today thank you’ response from publishers, having completed a book myself.
So I had my book (The Fallen Man) self published. The thrill of seeing my name in print and my first royalty cheque for the princely sum of £2.18p made all the hard work worthwhile.
All I’m waiting for now is some film producer with a limitless cheque book to turn my masterpiece into a film and I can retire and write full-time.
Fine time in park
HOW nice to read John Avison’s write-up about Greenhead Park and the reopening celebrations.
The event turned out to be a lovely, day very well attended.
The weather was good after an unpromising morning, so we were able to watch stilt walkers, jugglers, tightrope walkers and a strong lady able to support two men on her shoulders!
You could make lotus flower holders to float candles on the lake and get free balloons made into swords or flowers for the kids.
The bandstand was featuring a variety of excellent bands to relax and listen to, or you could go on the body zorbs, ride the train or fairground rides and enjoy the busy park cafe or conservatory for refreshments.
All this was rounded off with fireworks and a giant birthday cake.
What more could you ask?
Well done Kirklees council – and we don’t say that often!
It was a memorable and well organised afternoon.
A FEW weeks ago I had an event at the Dalton Grange in Huddersfield to celebrate my 21st birthday – but I also decided to make the event a charity event with all proceeds raised on the night going to the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust helping fight cancer in young people.
What a great night it was! I would like to thank Kim and Mike from Dalton Grange for their kind hospitality over the entire weekend and on the run up to the event.
I would like to thank the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust, Huddersfield Giants, The Lawrence Batley Theatre, Victoria Theatre, Tootsies, Shaake, Costa Coffee, the Odeon and everyone else who donated prizes to go towards the raffle.
I would like to thank Pam and the rest of the gang at the trust for allowing me to raise funds for them.
It was great to see so many of you coming to celebrate with me and helping such a fantastic charity and I can announce that £180.61 was raised on the night.
Down to the socks
HAS anyone else noticed since the new season started with Town now wearing black shorts and socks like Sheffield Wednesday for home games the results don’t seem to go with much success?
Yes, Town are now unbeaten in 35 league games, a record which is without question a great achievement.
Then last Saturday at Brentford for some reason the team turned out in traditional blue and white stripes, white shorts and white socks.
An emphatic result was without doubt a performance beyond any travelling fans’ expectation.
But then at home to Bradford back to black and the result a defeat and to a local rival.
How about sticking with tradition and see if the results change on a more positive note?
OK, I may be sounding superstitious, but is it just a coincidence we play with more vigour and get better results when wearing white socks?
Millhouse Green, Sheffield
WALL Street, heart of US capitalism, has been besieged for two weeks by thousands of protestors despite attacks from the police.
Some police have gone on strike refusing to arrest protestors and ex-military veterans have joined the protest against corporate corruption.
Even though there are thousands of protestors camped in Wall Street, Egypt fashion, there has been little coverage in the British media amounting to a black out.
The question is, when do we occupy the Stock Exchange in solidarity?
Service at sea
DID any Examiner readers ever serve on board any of the light fleet carriers HMS Bulwark, HMS Albion or HMS Centaur?
Our association, the HMS Bulwark Albion Centaur Association, is open to anyone who served at any time on these ships.
We send a magazine three times a year and run events including an AGM and social, sea trips with our current ships Albion and Bulwark, and anniversary commemorations at home and abroad.
While our ‘home port’ is Portsmouth, next year’s AGM/social we will be at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool on Saturday, May 12.
We also sponsor sea cadets from our affiliated SCCs on the three training ships. Membership is all of £8 per annum.
More details from me at Glenmoray, Hayford Place, Stirling FK7 9JX.
Alternatively email at email@example.com, or visit our website at www.bulwarkassoc.co.uk