A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

16 Feb

“I’M NOT GOING IN THERE!” This kid’s a proper handful, I’m thinking what have I let myself in for?

Two screws manhandle the mixed race lad that’s struggling for his life to get away from my cell.

Seriously mate, I think, I’m your lucky day, I’m your ‘Quids in, this one’s stand-up’. I defuse the situation for the screws who are not exactly making a good job of handling matters.

I step forward

“Mate, it’s okay I’m not a fruit, I’m Dave”

“Anthony” He says resentfully.

The cell door closes, the screws scarper pleased with themselves.

“What was that about Anthony?”

“The short Nigerian guy’s a f***** racist – I hate that guy” Anthony, sounds like he has had his run-ins with him before.

Quickly, Anthony turns out to be a good kid, just a little too proud. He’s a West London lad and a bit of a livewire. Literally thrown into my cell, he turned out to be far funnier and more engaging than I personally first imagined. He is unconvicted, that mean’s he  is on remand, awaiting trial. He has been advised to go for a jury trial at a crown court over the charge of “Attempted shop-lifting”. He was found with nothing on him, his papers show he wasn’t even caught red-handed, he’s banned from Westminster with a curfew and his presence in a clothes shop loitering was met with suspicion.

He was accused of attempting to thieve a pair of jeans.

The value of the offence, £120.

£120 won’t even buy you an hour of a Barrister’s time, let alone two sides of a legal argument, a judge, jury and the cost of running a crown court. This is immediately a bad deal to the taxpayer.

Normally such an offence would be dealt with in a Magistrate’s court, a guilty plea and remorseful look upon your face would get you community service and not a lot of it. Anthony has a suspended sentence hanging over him already. This means any future convictions can cause him to serve the rest of an old sentence. He is adamant that he should fight this. For making this decision, he has been taken into custody and will be held here until his trial. He has a bail hearing tomorrow, to appeal this time inside. Otherwise he could end up spending an awfully long time here – maybe a year, just for his pride.

He doesn’t realise how long Crown Court cases take to prepare, I’ve told him to expect the worse. He has already pleaded Not Guilty at the Magistrates court and tomorrow the bail hearing will move the paperwork to Crown. This is a committal hearing. His case will be committed to a Crown Court. I offer an alternative.

An early guilty plea will see you with a 1/3 reduction in your sentence.

Magistrate’s Courts on this type of offence can give a maximum of 6 months in prison.

An early guilty plea, means a maximum 4 months in prison disregarding the suspended sentence hanging over him.

Given that the 6 months ceiling, is for the maximum gravity offence such a court will deal with; a small “Attempted Shoplifting” charge is not likely to attract the same punishment.

He isn’t a first time offender, so he won’t get the ‘First time’ grace either.

BUT and this is the big factor, those in court will see a jury trial at a Crown Court as an awful waste of resources. By pleading guilty – there is a good chance he might be looked leniently on.

I ask him how long he has left to serve on the old sentence, it’s only 5 weeks! Why do those with the smallest sentences make the loudest noises? 🙂

If he hangs on for trial he will spend far longer here, than if he pleads guilty to an offence, in his heart he declares his innocence. For many in society, it must be far better sometimes to merely plead guilty, than try to clear your name.

Thinking back to my first impression of him, he’s a little lamb lost in the system.

Letters???

Still no letters. Royal Mail must be on strike 😦

My plastic bag collection is coming along nicely too. I use the solid wall to spend some time doing the ‘Ski-Squat’. I do what I can to use my muscles.

I spend the duration of ‘Eastenders’ daydreaming any number of bizarre notions:

– Terrible programming that the prison should play all day every day on a one channel system: loud, repeatedly and stopping just before it ends. I doubt I’ll ever make Justice Secretary, but that might make a decent deterrent, that or send a few people insane.

– Stand for local council, targeting inmates votes. That would send the Daily Mail insane. Memo to me – tv sadism will not form part of a successful manifesto here. There are definitely enough votes in this tomb to win a seat in the local ward.

The tomato still looks healthy, perhaps he should sit on the window sill – have a little bit of photosynthesis for himself.

A slip of paper flies under the door. I missed my medical appointment. What medical appointment?

I write to R

“What’s going on in your world button?

Remember when you asked me to behave?

I miss you. I got  a piece of sellotape today on a note from the medical team. I tore it off carefully, dead precious. I stuck up a photo of you, it’s got half of L’s face on too. Basically, a BOGOF. Two ladies faces above my bed 🙂

I’ve sent you a message via my mum, it says:

I love you”

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One Response to “A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing”

  1. Terri Mellor (@terrimellor) February 16, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    loved your sentence “Why do those with the smallest sentences make the loudest noises?” thats something my boyfriend would definately agree with!

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