Anyone convicted of a crime will be required to pay a charge of up to £600 under Government plans to force offenders to contribute towards the cost of running the country’s courts.
Convicted criminals will be forced to pay the levy, even if they plead guilty to the offence, the Justice Secretary will announce this week.
Not quite sure why but this leaves a bad taste. For a start is brings in a minimum penalty.
Officials suggested that an offender who pleads guilty at a magistrates’ court for a shoplifting case could incur a charge of £190. By contrast, a more serious offender, who is sent for trial for robbery at a Crown Court, for example, could be charged up to £600 when convicted, under the plan.
For example, not having a TV licence carries, I think, a fine of up to £1,000. So, this now adds £200 to that fine (in the Magistrates Court). And there are indeed offences where one might be found guilty but a purely nominal fine levied. Or even none at all: and yet now there is indeed going to be a fine.
Plenty of things where you might be bound over to keep the peace or somesuch. Which Parliament, in its wisdom, has decided should carry no further penalty than that. And yet here we’re insisting upon what, four weeks unemployment pay as a further penalty?
Just doesn’t sound right at all.
There’s also the other rather important point. The criminal justice system is one of the most basic functions of government. It’s one of those essential things that we actually call government into being to create. We also pay our taxes in order to have these sorts of public goods. Given that this is so it is most odd to then insist that government, our taxes, shouldn’t be paying for the very reason that we have both government and taxes.