Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Meet James Cleary

A little while ago I wrote this post following a briefing slide we were shown at work asking for help identifying a burglar who preyed on sick children at Great Ormond Street Hospital. After some decent work by the guys and girls in the crime squad the suspect was identified as being 47 year old, James Cleary -

On the 24th of February 2009 Cleary pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary, admitted two more and asked to have them taken into consideration - by admitting further unsolved or unreported crimes they can be given leniency in sentencing.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith sentenced Cleary to 20 months in custody and said -

"Your counsel is absolutely right. The financial value of these matters is less than £2,000 apparently, but the sentimental value of a play station and games for a sick child is far greater.

'But I am bound by the guidelines from the Sentencing Guidelines Council.

'It seems to me that when you committed these offences you targeted vulnerable community premises, that is to say hospitals, but your entry into the children's ward or children's hospital is a further aggravating feature as I see it."

Considering that the maximum sentence in law for a single non dwelling burglary (with no violence or weapons) is 10 years at Crown Court, you have to wonder exactly what a burglar would have to do to get that if repeatedly preying on sick children inside a hospital attracts only 20 months - even if he did plead guilty. If you think now that he automatically gets half his sentenced reduced on anticipation of being granted licence, and then up to a further third of whats left for good behaviour, Cleary is going to back out on the street long before Christmas this year.

That'll teach him..... won't it?

Cleary is a prolific and habitual burglar with numerous previous convictions for burglary and other offences. For each offence he would have been found by, arrested by, investigated by and sent to court by the Police. How can we possibly be to blame for the rise in crimes committed by people like Cleary when the Police officers who have dealt with him have done EVERYTHING they could possibly do on every occasion? It's not our job to sentence people, that is for the courts. I've seen people with over 200 previous convictions out and about committing crime, and getting caught by Police officers.

That is us doing OUR job over 200 times for one person and yet they are still able to walk the streets freely. We rarely get people arrested who have no previous convictions, nearly everyone we deal with has already been caught and convicted several, if not dozens or sometimes even hundreds of times before.

If someone receives the maximum sentence for each crime they are convicted of the prison population will go through the roof very quickly, but once they are in, there aren't going to be as many convicted criminals out on the streets able to commit crime. If anyone is stupid enough to commit crime such as burglary, theft, assault etc and then loses several years of their useful life because of it, well that's their fault isn't it?

Why should we feel guilty about having a large prison population when they are the ones who put themselves there?

If someone is in prison, behind bars, he cannot be breaking through your back door as you sleep, or breaking into your childs hospital room while they are recovering from life saving surgery. That is a simple fact, but one that people still refuse to grasp when they call for community sentences, or leniency over long custodial sentences.


PS. I've a few things going on and a course coming up so will be off the grid for a few weeks. Stay safe.