Press releases > Magistrates' Powers
Give Magistrates greater sentencing powers” – MP   11th August 2011
North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, has today (Thursday) called upon the Prime Minister to grant greater sentencing powers to magistrates` courts,
Questioning David Cameron following the Prime Minister`s statement on the recall of parliament Roger Gale said:
“Given the circumstances that we face at present is it not a nonsense that magistrates have to refer cases upwards to Crown Courts for trial because their own powers of sentencing are not adequate.  Will my Rt. Hon. Friend ensure that Magistrates are given the necessary powers so that they can deal with these cases and so that the perpetrators of crimes are sent to where people believe that they ought to be – behind bars”.
Responding, the Prime Minister indicated that the matter was under consideration.
Speaking following the exchange Roger Gale said:
“We are wasting time requiring magistrates to sit through the night only for them to bail prisoners for future – and more expensive – trial in Crown Courts because the six-month maximum prison sentence available to magistrates is not sufficient to provide a response to the severity of the crimes committed.  People want the criminals to be tried, convicted and sentenced to custodial sentences as swiftly as possible. Justice delayed is justice denied and the quicker that these criminals are behind bars the faster we shall be able to move forward.  This is a measure that can be introduced virtually at the stroke of a pen and I hope that it will be done” 

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