How can a 5-year prison sentence ever reflect the intentional taking of a life?

Yesterday, at Swansea Crown Court, 70-year-old Anthony Williams was imprisoned for 5 years for the manslaughter of his wife, Ruth. He had on Monday this week been acquitted by a jury of murder, having admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility at an earlier stage of proceedings. The standard reporting clichés ring particularly hollow in…

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The government would rather have dangerous criminals released onto the streets than pay for a working justice system

A thread I wrote yesterday following a decision by a Crown Court judge in Woolwich. It may sound like a technical legal issue, but the practical effects for public safety could be devastating. The original tweet that sparked the thread is here: https://twitter.com/crimelinelaw/status/1290563065684074496?s=21 My thread is here:

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Lives are being put at risk by the intransigence of the government and the courts. Jury trials must be suspended immediately.

UPDATE: At 8am on Monday 23 March 2020, the Lord Chief Justice announced a suspension of new jury trials. The details are vague, and hint at a resumption “where specific safety arrangements have been put in place”, but for now, at least, it seems as if a level of sense has prevailed. Regrettably the announcement came far…

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Guest post by Joanna Hardy: Court closures and the cost of losing local justice

I am delighted to host this guest post by Joanna Hardy of Red Lion Chambers, articulating better than I can the appalling legacy of the Ministry of Justice’s continued selling-off of our courts.  ******************************* The idea of living in the converted entrance hall of Acton Magistrates’ Court would surprise most lawyers. It used to be a…

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Bad law reporting and a public dangerously disconnected from criminal justice

The criminal law has long had an image problem. Partly, the fault is internal: the ridiculous costume; the alienating hybrid of legalese and obsequious formality that renders court hearings nonsensical to anyone in the public gallery; the impenetrability and inaccessibility of updated statute and case law; the historic failure of those of us in the…

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The criminal law has no business interfering in bad relationships

On 29 December 2015, to relatively little fanfare, a well-meaning but ultimately flawed criminal law was brought into force. Today, some 8 months on, the Guardian reports that the number of people being prosecuted under this law is low, inviting remedy under David Allen Green’s so-prescient-that-it-surpasses-satire Something Must Be Done Act 2014. The issue at…

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