By Cllr. Tony Belton
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:
Rex Osborn, Leader of Wandsworth Labour Group, has praised the Council and Battersea Labour Party for bringing together the community after the recent riots in Clapham Junction. He said ‘It’s great to see people coming forward with ideas to help the traders whose shops have been looted. I have spoken to the police – they are asking for anyone who may have pictures of people involved in the looting or have seen stolen goods to contact them.’
Local people who attended the Battersea Buzz meeting suggested fundraising events for victims of the rioting such as a fun run and a music or variety show. There were also ideas about offering apprenticeships in local shops and people giving up time to help youngsters with reading and writing. But some of the proposals such as an increase in police foot patrols in the area, more youth workers and the re-opening of youth clubs are unlikely to be on the Tories’ list of priorities.
In a separate event Battersea Labour party held an open public meeting at York Gardens Library on August 20. The Party wanted to provide an opportunity for every part of the local community, largely but not only from the council estates, to voice their concerns, hopes and fears. Fifty local residents turned up on the day. During an hour in open discussion and about 30 minutes in small working groups they covered subjects ranging from policing to family life, poverty, their community and more.
Battersea Labour party has produced booklet with full notes on the meeting and advice on how to get further involved in the community. If you want to find out more, please contact email@example.com
In response to Wandsworth Council’s eviction order of an alleged looter, his mother and eight year old sister local Battersea Councillor Tony Belton said: “I was appalled by the rioting in Clapham Junction, where I have lived for more than 30 years. Those found guilty should be jailed and will carry the shame with them for the rest of their lives.
“Yet the council leader has chosen to ignore the basic principles of justice in a rush for newspaper headlines. If Daniel Sartain-Clarke is guilty he should face the full force of the law. What is completely unfair is Cllr Govindia judging this young man guilty before he has faced any trial – and then vindictively threatening to make his mother and a blameless eight-year-old child homeless as extra punishment.
“Maite de la Calva, Daniel’s mother, works hard to support members of her community in the Shaftesbury Christian Centre. Throwing Maite and her eight-year-old daughter out of their home will weaken this neighbourhood, not make it stronger. This morning, before visiting Maite, I joined dozens of volunteers from across London in clearing out the community garden on the Doddington Estate. In the horrible aftermath of the riots it is important that we all work to repair the fabric of society and remain true to the basic safeguards of our legal system.”
Legal opinion is here:
More on the story here:
The mayor of London mayor ignores the hecklers as he speaks to an angry public clearing up after Monday night’s riots.
Boris Johnson — who was forced to return from holiday early by the riots — was visiting Clapham Junction, scene of some of the worst unrest on Monday. But he came under severe criticism from local residents, complaining that they hadn’t had enough protection from the police.