|The News Line: News
Tuesday, 7 August 2012
1800 YEARS OF JAIL! – for youth charged over Duggan assassination riots
PRISON sentences totalling more than 1,800 years have been handed to youth following the uprising after the police ‘assassination’ of Mark Duggan, in Tottenham, on 7th August last year.
|In June Swindon Young Socialists marched through the town demanding a future for youth including jobs at trade union rates of pay and the restoration of free state education
A year on, Ministry of Justice figures show that a total of 1,292, nearly all young people, have been jailed.
Courts opened overnight to clear the backlog with prosecutors from across the region travelling to London to help out. A specialised unit, consisting of 30 staff, including ten prosecutors, was set up to deal with alleged riot offences.
The youngest defendant dealt with by the CPS was aged 11 years and six months.
The average custodial sentence was 16.8 months, which is more than four times the average term handed down by magistrates’ courts for similar offences.
Courts have issued approximately 1,808 years of sentences over last year’s events.
Some 308 defendants still face live proceedings.
In a BBC interview, the Crown Prosecution Service’s chief prosecutor, Alison Saunders, said: ‘One thing we also learned in the disorder is that if we can get people in court fast and get them sentenced it acts as a deterrent, it made people think twice.
‘I do think the criminal justice response was particularly important. People could see there were consequences.
‘It is definitely the largest operation the CPS has ever done,’ Saunders said.
Jason Featherstone, director of Surviving Our Streets, a charity which works with young people, warned that feelings were ‘still as raw as a year ago’.
He said: ‘I can’t see too much progress being made, in the sense of the killing of Mark Duggan, the lack of police information coming forward in regards to what happened in that case.
‘I believe we are teetering on more unrest, another incident like this might happen again.’
Young Socialists national secretary Joshua Ogunleye said yesterday: ‘These vindictive jail sentences are scandalous. This is even more so when not one police officer has been charged, let alone punished, for the killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham.
‘Youth are not criminals, they want proper jobs and a future which capitalism cannot provide them with. That’s why we need a socialist revolution.’
Mark Duggan’s mother Pamela Duggan insisted on Sunday that her son was assassinated by police.
The police killing is still being investigated by the IPCC.
The family are angry that the officers involved in the operation cannot be compelled to be interviewed over what happened.
The inquest into Mark Duggan’s death is not scheduled to begin until next January.
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