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To feel it's one rule for ruling class and another for the 'underclass'?

(10 Posts)
BootyMum Fri 16-Sep-11 08:54:37

www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/sep/14/lord-hanningfield-arrested-mps-expenses

In the wake of the London riots, a mother-of-two jailed for accepting a pair of looted shorts. A student with no prior convictions is jailed for six months for stealing a case of bottled water worth £3.50.
Two men who posted messages on Facebook urging others to riot have been sentenced to four years in prison, despite the fact no riots occurred in their locality.
Or the looter in Manchester who stole two scoops of icecream during the riots who was jailed for 16 months.

The law however appears much more lenient when it comes to ruling class looters.

For example Lord Hanningfield, the former leader of Essex County Council, was jailed for nine months in July for falsely claiming almost £14,000. In May, Lord Taylor was found guilty on six charges of false accounting and was sentenced to a year in jail for fraudulently claiming £11,277.
However on Monday Lord Taylor and Lord Hanningfield were released from prison early having served only a quarter of their jail terms...

Of course I am not condoning the behaviour of those who rioted and looted, however I do wonder at the apparently disproportionately harsh custodial sentences meted out to the 'underclass' and the mere slaps on the wrist to our thieving ruling class...

catgirl1976 Fri 16-Sep-11 08:56:30

But you are not comparing like with like as these sentences are for totally different crimes?

troisgarcons Fri 16-Sep-11 08:56:52

The Lords did not commit violent acts - the looters did.

Sentencing reflects that.

spiderpig8 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:00:01

No looting is stealing from shops which have already been broken into.

LadyMondegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 09:01:36

Well, firstly, those sentenced for the looting offences may still be released early.

Secondly, the looting people are being made an example of, I suppose, to deter others from what was a dangerous crime overall. The expense fiddlers were sentenced normally.

I think more worrying is how celebrities can sometimes get off scot free. I have no examples to back that up blush

afishcalledmummy Fri 16-Sep-11 09:01:42

Should we also not wait to see how much of their jail terms the looters serve before we say it's one rule for one, one for others?

People keep trotting out the woman who was sentenced to 6 months over the shorts in spite of her sentenced being reduced to a non-custodial one on appeal.

It's a bit of a lazy argument, methinks.

Birdsgottafly Fri 16-Sep-11 09:05:51

There has always been a difference in the way that those at the top are treated under the justice and other 'systems'.

Those that took part in the riots were not 'the underclass'. Some weren't working class, either.

I am sick of the 'working class', even those long term unemployed being branded as the 'underclass', they are two completely separate classes.

The riots showed that criminal acts don't make sense, it will give modern day sociologists something new to mull over.

lesley33 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:06:14

No, sadly lots of poorer people get low sentences for awful crimes - murder, violent assault, etc.

Everyone knows the looters are being made an example of. And that has led to for example, the woman handling stolen goods having her prison sentence overturned on appeal.

Majority of people involved in the riots will be released early as well. This is standard unless someone is a problem in prison e.g. assualting other prisoners/guards.

MrGin Fri 16-Sep-11 09:11:01

BootyMum riots aside, it's generally refereed to as 'white collar crime'

wiki link here

People in 'respectable' positions being treated differently than the rest of us.

Last year for example Goldman Sachs were fined $550 million for ripping off their clients by offering investments in sub-prime, and the people deciding what to put in the investment folio were also betting large sums of money that it would fail.

People jailed for that ? Zero. Yet in the US, the three stikes and out law put people on 20 year jail terms for stealing a biscuit.

In the case of Lord Hanningfield it might make sense to look at how the the jail terms compare between those jailed for benefit fraud and fraudulent expenses claims.

JillySnooper Fri 16-Sep-11 09:12:07

What utter tommyrot!

The scum who killed baby P is now free.

Upper class, was he?

Most crime is committed by the underclass, and most of them seem to be getting away with a slap on the wrist and have been for years.

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