Prisons too full: Dealer walks free

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Prisons too full: Dealer walks free

Unread post by NW10 » January 5th, 2006, 10:31 am

Appeal as drug dealer walks free

Prosecutors are considering an appeal against a decision to spare a drug dealer prison because jails were full.
Thomas Scarth, 19, of Redcar, received 100 hours community service and a 12-month suspended sentence, after being found with 83 wraps of heroin.

He was freed at Teesside Crown Court by Judge Guy Whitburn who blamed "overflowing" jails for the sentence.

Cleveland's Chief Crown Prosecutor Martin Goldman said Scarth should have been sent to jail.

He said: "The number of cases that are actually referred to the Court of Appeal are very low and sentences have to be very wide of the mark before they are referred.

"So there are certainly no guarantees, but our barrister believes this case should have attracted custody and that is why we are looking into it."

I stress, the prisons are not full and that is not a consideration for any judge when passing sentence.

Judge Peter Fox

Scarth, of Roseberry Road, Redcar, pleaded guilty to possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply.

Sentencing him, Judge Whitburn said judges were advised not to jail people for relatively minor offences to help overcrowding in prisons.

He said: "Prisons are full to overflowing. You are a young man and we are urged not to imprison young men for offences of this nature if they are of a comparatively minor scale."

But Teesside senior Judge Peter Fox condemned the remark and said judges were not advised to take the prison populations into account.

He said: "I stress, the prisons are not full and that is not a consideration for any judge when passing sentence.

"Can I also make it very plain, that there has been no such communication or direction either from any official in government of senior member of the judiciary, to any judges like myself or Judge Whitburn to take the prison population into consideration. "

Judge Whitburn declined to comment on the case

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