"Justice on the cheap"? BBC investigation into cautions for serious offences by Yorkshire police
Sex offenders, kidnappers and burglars are among criminals who have been given cautions or warnings instead of being taken to court, the BBC has found. GCN's Mark George QC has been interviewed for a BBC investigation into these figures, due to be broadcast today across the Yorkshire region (on BBC Look North).
In the broadcast, Mark George QC said "Victims of crime are not getting a fair deal"..."What's happening here is the police are really acting as judge and jury. There are offences here which undoubtedly in my view really ought to be dealt with by the courts."
Mark George QC was also interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield this morning in relation to the same story.
The BBC Radio Sheffield interview was broadcast at 7.10am on 18th May 2012.
> listen online with BBC iPlayer (available for 7 days after broadcast)
Fast forward through the programme to reach the interview at 0:10:30
Earlier this year I was shown the figures for cautions in South Yorkshire over the four-year period 2008 to 2011. More recently I saw the comparable figures for West and North Yorkshire. The figures were shocking. They include 21 offences of possession of a firearm with intent, 19 of which were in South Yorkshire alone. It is not clear which of several offences this might be under the Firearms Act 1968 but all of them carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
It is very hard to understand how in any circumstances a caution can be considered appropriate for a person who admits, as they have to do, that they are guilty of conduct which can merit a sentence of life imprisonment. Much the same can be said of any of the offences set out above. It seems to me to be clear that the public who are both the victims of crime and the recipients of these cautions are being cheated.
> 14/5/12 - Mark George QC on why we do what we do (ie Legal Aid) " The essence of being a dedicated defence lawyer has always been a desire to do the very best for any client...You don't do criminal law to get rich. You do it because you care about the clients."