Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Seems Unreasonable to Me!

I heard about this case from a passing joking reference on the radio today. 'Burgler begs Judge to send him to prison because his probation appointments were too early in the morning.' It's the sort of story that's a gift during a slow news day, or indeed the well-catalogued 'silly season'. All the main papers seem to have covered it, no doubt as a result of a stroke of luck by a 'stringer' at Coventry Crown Court.

It would appear that 'lazy' and 'shameless' Kierran Batchelor had given up on his Community Order imposed for two domestic burglaries and stopped reporting. He is said to have turned down the Judges offer of a second chance, preferring instead to go to prison 'as a way of catching up on his sleep.' A cut-and-dried case of a feckless youth sticking two fingers up to the system it would seem - but hang on a minute, this guy was working and his shift pattern was 10pm to 6am. Despite this he was given 10am probation appointments. This seems entirely unreasonable to me and in my opinion he should have been reporting late afternoon instead. 

Obviously I don't know the full details, but on the limited information gleaned from the newspaper reports, it's the supervising officer who should be being pilloried, not the client. In my humble opinion a young man has needlessly gone to prison, not as a result of any new offences, but because of piss-poor practice. In all honesty a case like this takes my breath away. I can only contemplate as to the content of the Breach Report. What on earth was the Barrister doing to earn his or her money? Why didn't the Judge use some initiative and demand to speak to the Probation Court Duty Officer? Had I been the said CDO, there is no way I would have allowed this case to proceed without intervening. I thought this is what we got paid for, to be pro-active in court. 

One cannot but feel we're all in a handcart to hell.    


  1. In my area court duty officer's are pso's who don't feel they have the authority to challenge such piss poor practise. Another reason for the return of qualified probation officer's to this important role.

  2. My experience of probation being formally on the receiving end, thankfully now over, is that they are fairly flexible on appointment times if you give them notice and a reasonable explanation. I suspect he failed to communicate his shift pattens to them or failed to provide evidence of his hours.

  3. TheUrbaneGorilla29 June 2012 at 22:09

    Did the court ask said offender to evidence his claimed employment, perhaps with a pay slip or two? I've lost track of the number of times courts blithely accept claims of employment/reconciliation with partner DV victims/bail addresses without any form of check, often with all too predictable consequences. After all, it's not unknown for offenders to be (whisper it low) economic with the truth,

    1. Yes a good point, but it was really down to the supervising probation po or pso to check out employment details and confirm or not, especially as it should have been a key part of the breach report.

    2. The legal representation, looks doggy - his hours of work, if indeed it existed - they do resemble the hours of a dwelling house burglar; does not remove the onus of responsibility for service users to their COs and to engage with the supervising officer - whether they like them or not. I can't help but think you are hav'ing a laugh! Your comments seem heavily reliant upon a press report - and we all know the press don't let a little thing like the truth get in the way of a good story!!

    3. No, I'm definitely not having a laugh! I accept we have to rely on press reports that are often inaccurate, but all I'm saying is that if it was true that this young man was working the stated nightshift, he's been the subject of very poor practice and possibly a significant misjustice.