Government report confirms Tories have abolished justice

The Justice select committee has yesterday confirmed how evil the former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling really was. Grayling was the MP who was responsible for, amongst other atrocities, introducing the criminal court charge. This charge, which at first glance appears disappointingly un-evil, is about getting anyone taken to court to pay for being prosecuted. The charges that they pay vary from £150 to £1200, depending not on their ability to pay, but on whether or not they plead guilty, and are payable before any victim compensation.

The report confirms that Grayling has achieved a number of evil things with his charge;

1) Innocent people are pleading guilty just to avoid paying the maximum charge. If you plead guilty you only pay £150, but if you are innocent and are found guilty, you can be forced to pay up to £1200. And while you may think that our justice system is good enough to not convict the innocent, any lawyer will tell you that there are one or two magistrates who will convict despite a lack of evidence. For that very reason, anyone is entitled to appeal their case to the crown court, but that costs money. If you are on benefits and ,for example, accused of shoplifting something that you paid for, you literally can’t afford to take the risk of going to trial any more.

2) Victims are being denied compensation because of the charge. Normally, the amount that a defendant can pay is means tested, and the order in which money is prioritized if the defendant can’t pay everything is Compensation; Victim Surcharge; Fine; Costs. However, the court charge has been bumped to the front of the queue and is not means tested. Since 80% of people in court are on some sort of benefit, this means that the court charge often accounts for more than they can ever pay, and victims get no compensation at all. For example a rape victim in south London who got no compensation at all because there was no realistic prospect that the rapist would ever be able to even pay off the £900 court charge.

3) Judges have no discretion over the size of the charge, making it grossly disproportionate for some crimes. For example, a woman who hadn’t eaten for days stole 4 mars bars (worth 75p). She hadn’t eaten for days because she had no money at all, but was still charged the £150 court fee. And when she can’t pay it, she’ll be sent to prison (where at least she’ll be fed).

4) Far from being a money generating scheme, the charge is costing the taxpayer a small fortune. In 2015–16, the net loss is estimated to be between £10 and £20 million. That is due to the large cost of chasing unpayable charges, and then re-trying and imprisoning people who have no prospect of paying them. It is estimated that by 2020, this will have cost the country £1.2 billion.

5) 50 of the most sympathetic Magistrates have resigned at the injustice of the charge. One was even sacked for offering to pay the fine for a penniless refugee. Lawyers, judges and the public are losing faith in the justice system as a result of this charge.

You can find the full report here, which we assume was written to applaud yet another successful evil endeavour. Mwhahaha.

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