A few months ago, in broad daylight, I witnessed a crime, directed at me by a stranger. Having taken the man’s number plate, I reported the crime to the police. I was termed ‘victim, number one.’ Two weeks later a woman, collecting her children from a dance group, with her three-year-old strapped in the back of her car, was subjected to the same crime. She was termed ‘victim, number two.’
Kent Police pursued the criminal, brought him to justice and did all that could reasonably be expected of an efficient police force; somewhat putting Leicestershire and Rutland Police in the shade by comparison. [See previous post and Sergeant Collyer’s (or is that Collier’s?) failure to put an end to months of nightmare I have suffered on Martin Brookes’ blog; perpetrated by a bunch of bunny boiling Oakham Parish Councillors or their friends, some of whom appear to have mental health issues associated with alcohol consumption and possibly the armed services, and a biscuit taking, pill popping, serially stalking, sociopathic Parish Councillor in Exton.]
The man entered a guilty plea in Court three weeks earlier and was due to be sentenced on 2nd November. The Probation Service was asked to submit a pre- sentencing report. Having attended the initial hearing I presumed I would be able to ring the court to find out what sentence he received, so did not attend the hearing at which he was sentenced.
I telephoned the Court Service, in Maidstone, on 3rd November and was told that they could not tell me what sentence had been handed down to this criminal.
Why, you may ask?
The Court Service cited ‘THE DATA PROTECTION ACT.’
This had been a public trial in a public court, which the press were entitled to attend and report. However, in their wisdom, the Court had changed the venue for both hearings at the last minute to a more private court-room in the complex. The press missed the sentencing of the criminal, so were unable to tell me what had happened. The Court Service then decided, under the DATA PROTECTION ACT, that I could not be told what sentence this criminal had received. Needless to say I told the person I spoke to, twice, at the Court Service that this was utter rubbish and that the point of public trials was to ensure that justice was seen to be done.
Kent Police were finally able to ascertain that the criminal received 150 hours Community Service over one year; a year’s Supervision Order and registration on the SOR for five years. My deepest thanks go to Kent Police for taking this case to a successful conclusion.
However for the Court Service to tell a ‘victim’ (twice) that they are not entitled to know what sentence the perpetrator of the crime against them receives, erroneously citing the DATA PROTECTION ACT, is frankly deeply shocking. I told the Court Service in Maidstone I would be blogging this. I understand, from the woman I spoke to, that this decision had been made by the Clerks’ to the Courts.
When such legislative illiteracy exists amongst the supposedly legally qualified Clerks, then what hope do we have of gaining a semblance of transparent justice?
Are those who wield power becoming collectively doolally?