The Independent 8th February. It is not the purpose of this blog to gloat at anyone's fall from grace but it is interesting to note that Mr Justice Simon imposed a "deterrent sentence" of 4 years imprisonment. It remains to be seen whether loss of pension rights will follow - here is the applicable regulation.
Deterrence is (and always was) one of the objectives of sentencing but the words "deterrent sentence" imply a degree of extra harshness. Indeed, in a general sense, the deterrence of persons from committing offences is one of the reasons for having any form of punishment. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 put the objectives into statutory form. Maybe the need for deterrent sentencing is obvious in some cases but there is surprisingly little guidance on when such a sentence is appropriate. Suppose that there is a sudden perception that a particular crime is becoming more prevalent. Can the sudden imposition of a deterrent sentence on one individual be unfair when others have previously been sentenced for the same offence more lightly? Just when is it proper to for deterrent sentences to be imposed?
It is worth noting here that Police Officers frequently face some seriously violent events and the vast majority of officers peform their work in an exemplary manner. The arrest of a man in connection with the murder of P.C. Blakelock is a reminder of this - see The Independent. In 1987, three men (Silcott, Braithwaite and Raghip) were convicted of P.C. Blakelock's murder but, in 1991, their convictions were quashed on appeal. For a history of this case see here. Their case was one of the first miscarriage of justice cases to occur after the implementation of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.