New guidelines drawn up by the Sentencing Council instruct judges to take into account the “discrimination and negative experiences of authority” experienced by “black and minority ethnic children and young people” when handing down rulings. Critics say they are “a complete reversal” of the principle that “the law is the same for everyone regardless of background, race or gender”.
The Sentencing Council is led by the Lord Chief Justice, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd, a European Law Institute founder-member best known for ruling that MPs should have the final say on Brexit and condemning Sergeant Alexander Blackman – or ‘Marine A’ – to eight years behind bars in the Court of Appeal, as well as lifting his anonymity.
The new guidelines call on judges to take into account the “particular factors which arise in the case of black and minority ethnic children and young people” when sentencing, advising that “discrimination and negative experiences of authority” should be taken into account, reports the Daily Mail.
“There is also evidence to suggest that black and minority ethnic children and young people are over-represented in the youth justice system,” the guidelines stress. “When having regard to the welfare of the child or young person to be sentenced, the particular factors which arise in the case of black and minority ethnic children and young people need to be taken into account.”
The guidelines also institutionalise special pleading for young offenders with “experience of abuse and/or neglect, negative influences from peer associates and the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol”, as well as “deprived homes, poor parental employment records, low educational attainment, and early experience of offending by other family members”.
Dr David Green, a criminologist and director of the Civitas think tank, was appalled by the guidelines. “The principle should be that the law is the same for everyone regardless of background, race or gender. This is a complete reversal of that,” he said.
A spokesman for the Sentencing Council defended the guidelines by saying they “recognise that black and ethnic minority children are over-represented in the care system, and children in care are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. Children should not be blamed for factors beyond their control.”
The Ministry of Justice appeared to wash its hands of the matter, saying “Sentencing is a matter for independent judges, who will consider all of the facts of the case before reaching a decision” – an apparent surrender to the right of activist judges to erode sentencing and alter fundamental principles of the common law at will.
This follows Breitbart London revealing the Attorney-General’s Office would not appeal for a stronger sentence in the case of an alleged child migrant who raped a five-year-old boy. The rapist was handed a non-custodial rehabilitation order by Judge Jonathan Bennett because Solicitor-General Robert Buckland “concluded that if the sentence imposed on the offender was referred to the Court of Appeal, the Court would not increase the sentence”.