Not Saussure

March 1, 2007

More from the courts

Filed under: Law — notsaussure @ 11:12 pm

We had a chap convicted earlier this week, after a three-day trial, for assault (ABH). Night-club bouncer who ejected a drunk from the club in an incident that ended up with the drunk suffering a broken nose and having a tooth knocked out. Jury didn’t take long to reject the bouncer’s account of events (I thought he was about to nut me, so I used reasonable force to defend myself) and, instead, accepted the account of several eye-witnesses, backed up by a not particulalry good CCTV recording, that, after considerable verbal provocation, the bouncer lost his cool and thumped the guy (only once, but very hard).

Pretty inevitable verdict, and pretty inevitable sentence; he’d been advised he faced nine months inside if he was found guilty at trial and six months if he pleaded — which means, in practical terms, he’ll serve four and a half months as opposed to the three he’d have served had he saved us the bother and not inconsiderable expense of trying him — and nine months is what he got.

Consensus after the case was that, even though he never stood very much of a chance, it was a pretty reasonable gamble — freedom if he won, against an extra six weeks inside if he lost — and one that most of us would ourselves have taken had we found ourselves in his shoes. Several people suggested giving a 50% discount for a timely guilty plea, on the argument that double or nothing might concentrate people’s minds a bit more if their case isn’t a good one.

Certainly you’ve got to provide incentives for people to plead guilty, or no one ever will and the whole system would judder to a halt. The alternative, I suppose, would be to increase the sentences, so the existing one-third discount is more attractive at the lower end of the scale, but that risks making sentences disproportionate and filling the prisons even fuller of short-term prisoners than at present they are.

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2 Comments »

  1. It would appear that in this case bouncer is the appropriate term. But, generally speaking, I am led to understand that to improve the image the term was changed to door supervisor.

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — March 2, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

  2. You’re correct, of course; the preferred term is ‘Door Supervisor’ and this chap was, in fact, a registered door supervisor.

    Didn’t stop him referring to himself as a ‘bouncer,’ both when he told the complainant’s girlfriend, who’d said ‘You won’t get away with this, ‘Yes I will. I’m a bouncer’ or in the police interview, when he tried to explain the collapsible baton he had in his pocket by saying, ‘I’m a bouncer; it’s OK for me to have one’ (Nope. Not in a public place without lawful excuse it ain’t. Four months concurrent).

    I agree, though, that Door Supervisors do get an unfairly bad press — almost all the cases I’ve seen involve them as injured parties rather than as defendants, and, in this case, I can quite understand why this guy took a swing at the complainant after the amount of abuse he’d had to take from him.

    Comment by notsaussure — March 2, 2007 @ 4:53 pm


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