More ethics, but real-life this time.

  Forum Editor 17:48 23 Jun 2007

Those of you who weren't keen on my previous ethics topic click here because it wasn't 'real-life' enough might prefer this one.

Consider it carefully, it raises some interesting ethical questions:

Shortly before taking his GCSEs, Darren moved out of his family home because of arguments with his mother’s new partner. As a result, he did less well than expected in his exams and failed to find long-term work. After a period of unemployment and dead-end jobs he became involved in crime and, after being convicted of involvement in a series of botched commercial burglaries, received a Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Order (CPRO) lasting two years.

Following his conviction Darren resolved to sort his life out. He returned to college to train as an electrician, and after doing well on his course was taken on as a trainee by a local firm. His employer was impressed with his work and attitude, and promoted him to a more responsible position which enabled Darren to begin saving for a deposit on a flat which he hoped to move into with his girlfriend.

However, shortly before the CPRO was due to expire, Darren was celebrating a close friend’s birthday in a bar. The group became very drunk and Darren got into an argument with another customer. After a brief exchange Darren punched the customer, knocking him to the ground. The police were called and Darren was arrested and charged with assault and causing actual bodily harm, to which he pleaded guilty.

You are sitting as a magistrate, and must decide what to do with Darren. Reports confirm that he has not been in any other trouble since his original conviction. His employer likes Darren,is pleased with his work and very much wants to continue employing him. Darren has no previous record of violence and is not a habitual heavy drinker. He says he is ashamed of his behaviour and very sorry for the injury that he caused. However, there is the matter of the breached CPRO condition.

Would you send him to prison?

  Joe R 17:54 23 Jun 2007

In my opinion, he looks as if he has turned around his life somewhat, and a more realistic sentence of, perhaps two years close supervision, (with an imprisonment sentence if broken ) would give him the chance of being an upstanding citizen again.

  WhiteTruckMan 17:55 23 Jun 2007
  hansa 17:55 23 Jun 2007

what options are there for you as the magistrate? - send to prison / extend cpro / community service or more?

  pj123 18:08 23 Jun 2007

I don't know where you got this scenario from FE but it exactly describes someone I know, and his name is Darren.

The circumstances you describe are also exactly what happened.

He was sentenced to 28 days in prison.

Since then he has been very successful with his career. He didn't lose his job and now he is one of the senior managers of the company.

  Jak_1 18:22 23 Jun 2007

Given the facts tha a)He has previously tried very hard to keep out of trouble and apply himself with good results, b) he has not previously shown a tendency towards violence and c)he is not a habitual heavey drinker, bodes well in his defence. However ABH does carry a custodial punishment and one has to think is this violence just a one off due to the alcohol or was it a latent tendency to violence just awakening.
Considering the good reports and that his employer was more than pleased with him I would ere on a custodial sentence suspended for a year.

Certain facts cannot be ignored, there is no excuse for violence whether under the influence or not. Drunken behaviour cannot be condoned. However a custodial sentence would probably have been counter productive so a suspended sentence would seem appropriate in this case as reports suggest he is likey to heed the warning.

  TopCat® 18:30 23 Jun 2007

As a hypothetical magistrate I would naturally have to adhere to the rules pertaining to a CPRO and examine to what extent they were broken. I would seek to obtain further advice before sentencing if I was unsure on any point of law that applied. After hearing all reports on his progress were favourable, I would then reluctantly sentence the offender and pass the minimum term of imprisonment I could under the law. TC.

  georgemac © 18:45 23 Jun 2007

I don't know the rules of a CPRO

I would not send him to prison, he has obviously worked hard to turn his life around, and has made a foolish mistake which he is obviously showing remorse for, and has proved he is capable of learning from previous mistakes and changing his behaviour

Community service would be appropriate

  dukeboxhero 19:26 23 Jun 2007

i think darren deserves a another chance and as Joe R says maybe a years suspended sentence would be more fitting

  Si_L 19:47 23 Jun 2007

He recieved a CPRO, and then violated it. He deserves the normal punishment, whatever that may be.

  Guardianangel 20:25 23 Jun 2007

He deserves a second chance.

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