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Who judges the judges?

The variation in sentences handed down to rioters highlights the broader problem of the failure of self-regulation of the judiciary

By Matt Cavanagh   August 2011

As with the wider debate over the riots, the debate over the sentences being handed down to individual rioters has quickly polarised. The right continues to defend even the harshest sentences as either deserved, or salutary, or both. Most on the left disagree, seeing too many cases which seem unfair, and fearing that longer sentences will generally be counter-productive.

Forced to choose, I would be in the latter camp. I agree that crimes committed during the riots should receive tougher sentences than similar crimes at other times; and agree too that there was value in some swift and exemplary sentences…

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