Today’s papers find it hard to resist screaming at the Probation Service- recently rebranded National Offender Management Service - for its apparent failure to “supervise” in the community those convicted of the horrific killing of Mary Anne Leneghan and the rape and the attempted murder of her friend. As if they were partly to blame for the offences.
Of the six convicted yesterday four, it appears, were subject to some form of community sentence.
The headlines in the Sun- “Free to kill Maryann”;
and The Mirror, “Mary- Anne’s killers on probation. Charles Clarke was
last night forced into a humiliating apology after it emerged Mary-Ann Leneghan
was murdered by four thugs who were freed on probation”
Even the Guardian joined in with “Government acts to stem probation crisis”
Of the four Adrian Thomas,
described as the ringleader, was subject to an 18-month community
rehabilitation order for offences of possessing cannabis and a bladed
weapon-probably a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches. No suggestion
it had been used.
Michael Johnson, was given a community punishment order a week before the murder for offences of assaulting a Police constable and possession of cannabis. Johnson had numerous convictions including one for which at the age of 13 he was sentenced to 3-½ years custody for a wicked assault on a thirteen year old.
At the time of his involvement in Mary-Anne’s murder, Jamaile Morally was subject to a Community Punishment Order for handling stolen goods.
Finally, Indrit Krasniqi described by the Sun with relish as “an 18 year old illegal immigrant from Kosovo” was subject to a Community Punishment Order imposed for obstructing a police officer.
Of course, we don’t expect sense from Norman Brennan of the Victims of Crime Trust. But even for him, this is off the loopyiness scale.
“The number of offenders released from prison early or given bail beggars belief. This time a girl paid the ultimate price.”
Sorry Norman, none of these four were released from prison early or given bail. Its your ignorance, I’m afraid, that beggars belief.
Three of the four, Johnson, Krasniqi and Moralee, were subject to Community Punishment Orders. They would have to perform unpaid work on conditions imposed by the court. There is no suggestion that they were not complying with these conditions. Provided the offender turns up and performs the work allocated satfisfactorily, he is completing his punishment.
Thomas, serving to a Community Rehabilitation Order was subject to supervision. And that supervision would be within the National Guidelines. There is no report that he had breached any of the conditions imposed on him by the sentencing court. Certainly, the probation officer supervising the order would be quick to start proceedings for breach if there was the slightest indication of non-compliance.
But the award of the gold medal for stupidity by a short head from Norman Brennan must go to the Tory Home Affairs spokesman David Davis. This pearl fell from the passing bandwagon Davis had jumped on.
“ It was political leadership not legislation that the service needed: "It is time the government realised the shocking consequences of their policy of allowing dangerous criminals out of prison and owned up to their complete mismanagement of the Probation Service."
Perhaps its time David Cameron took out those loppers!