I went to the Crown Court on 10 January to hear Daniel’s sentence – you will remember I was interested in his case following his involvement in the riots on August 8th in Clapham Junction. The headline is that he received 11 months, which Judge Darling said would mean that he would serve half that time in custody and the other half “free” on licence. The Judge also said that the 83 days he had been on conditional bail would be counted against the sentence leaving, according to my calculation, Daniel serving about a further 87 days in custody.
Judge Darling said in sentencing that this was the “most tragic” case he had come across in the whole riot aftermath. He accepted Daniel’s story about how he happened to be in Clapham Junction and that he arrived on the scene after Curry’s had been broken into. He acknowledged that Daniel was of good character (that is had no previous of any kind) indeed the Judge went on to say that Daniel was an exceptional young man with some level of educational achievement. Daniel was a Christian with both a capital and a lower case c, he said, working for the good of the community – the Judge said “an aid worker”, a helper, a doer with many good character references.
But in the aftermath of the riots despite all mitigation and against the PSR (Pre-Sentence Reports done by the Probation Service) recommendation, he, the Judge, had to take into account society’s concerns and fears about the events of August and that he had no choice but to impose some level of custodial sentence. (I should add that the Judge retired for 46 minutes to consider the sentence – he clearly did not do it lightly)
I have two comments: first that Wandsworth Council shows zero respect for the “family” if it pursues, as it intends to do, its policy of eviction with all the consequences that this will bring to bear on the mother and sister. I know the mother quite well and it is clear, and totally unsurprising, that she is under some considerable stress.
Secondly, that the establishment has got itself into a bit of a mess about sentencing in this situation. Whilst Daniel aged 18, with no previous record at all, got 11 months, a man aged 30, sentenced at the same time as Daniel with 11 previous convictions for 22 offences having served two separate terms of 6 and 7 years, got a custodial sentence of 20 months!
Read the update here: