EVERYONE has an exemplary character – until they are convicted of their first crime.
Once that happens any previous good behaviour – while relevant to a degree – must surely only be considered within the context of the charge of which the individual has been found guilty.
In the case of Stephen Taylor who we today learn avoided an immediate jail term, despite being found guilty of serious drugs-related offences, his good work record and lack of any previous convictions proved his saving grace.
So put out were the prosecution team with the verdict of the judge, however, that lawyers acting on behalf of the Solicitor General took the matter to the High Court.
And it is perfectly understandable why.
Time, effort and resource will have gone into the arrest and case preparation ahead of Taylor’s court date. He was found in possession of drugs with a potential street value of £77k – it was even stated in court he had played a “significant role” in supplying drugs.
Yet the sentencing judge in the first instance, then three of the country’s top legal minds, saw it fit not to impose a term behind bars.
It makes no sense. The public will ask how this could happen. Custody was surely the best place for Taylor once he had been convicted of what were serious offences.
Instead, he was allowed to continue to enjoy his liberty – and that sends out the wrong message when police and other agencies are doing their best to crack down on drugs.
Published: September 9, 2012
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