Lawcast 192: John Cooper QC on the sentencing of rioters and looters

Lawcast 192: John Cooper QC on the sentencing of rioters and looters

Today I am talking to John Cooper QC,  a practising barrister at 25 Bedford Row,  about the controversy which now rages in the press in relation to the sentences being handed down to rioters and looters.  The issue of proportion, parity and comparison with sentences given for so called ‘white collar crime’ by MPs, peers and bankers is examined in detail.

Listen to the podcast


And…thank you to Cassons For and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

10 thoughts on “Lawcast 192: John Cooper QC on the sentencing of rioters and looters

  1. Can’t listen to podcast as problem with my comp. but i do hope he hasn’t referred to magistrates as he repeatedly did on TV. The very large majority of these disposals and bail decisions were made by DJs, not be mags, who were often stood down so that DJs could deal with the lists (and not just the night courts)

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  3. Anon mag. is right. The vast majority of the “disorder” cases were listed before District Judges – no doubt on the usual argument that they are “faster” – don’t need to retire etc. Media reports keep referring to the “XYZ Magistrates” decided that …!

  4. and my own straw poll with legal advisers and cps exclusively reveals that the la considered the courts were being used politically and the cps believed all sentencing logic had gone out of the window. the la agreed with my proposition that they scheduled djs in because they didn’t trust mags to do the dirty work. probably horribly unfair to djs. (apart of course from the one who gave me an absolute stinker on bail last week.)

    i say a straw poll – it is just one of each based on my opponent today and la yesterday. so of no statistical significance or evidential value. there is me too – so that’s 3 of us!

  5. not a few bail apps to crown court as well; they will have their hands full. certainly suspect some sentences will be appealed. imagine the crown court will be a bit less hysterical. and indeed the recorder of manchester issued what are (with respect) some pretty sensible-looking guidelines.

  6. This was a good discussion. I agree with the thrust of Mr Cooper’s comments. Certainly in Magistrates’ Courts – (actually manned for most of the “disorder” cases by District Judges) – there has been an automatic uplift in sentencing and little or no credit given for guilty pleas. Reasons given for sentences have been inadequate and come nowhere near to meeting the requirements of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

    The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill will, if enacted, remove those unimplemented provisions in the CJA 2003 which would have increased Magistrates’ Courts powers. The government remains of the view that use of short-term imprisonment should be minimised and to increase Magistrates’ Court powers would work against that. Such a view is not without foundation if recent events are any indication.

    Old legislation such as the Riot Act has now been repealed.

    I see no clear reason as to why so many people, from many different backgrounds, took part in these events but there seems to be an extensive undercurrent of anger in the country. Many things cause and feed this anger. Government cuts – adding to social problems – are just one factor. Your podcast touched on some of this and there are not many “good examples” in politics.

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