back to article Ministry of Justice scraps 'conviction by computer' law

The controversial "conviction by computer" Parliamentary Bill has been scrapped ahead of June's general election, according to reports. The Prisons and Courts Bill has been dropped by the government as it starts winding down legislative activities, reported the Law Society Gazette. David Lidington, leader of the House of …

Joke

What a shame. It could have used by MPs to pay fines for their election spending "oversights"

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They'd probably just put the fine on expenses.

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"pay the appropriate victim surcharge" - for dodging train fares or TV licenses? Both 'victims' are already rolling in cash, it'd be criminal to give them more !

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TRT
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The victim surcharge pays into a fund that pays out to victims of crime under the appropriate class. It does NOT go to compensate the victim of YOUR crime.

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Happy

Victim surcharge

The victim surcharge pays into a fund that pays out to victims of crime under the appropriate class. It does NOT go to compensate the victim of YOUR crime.

The Victim Surcharge certainly doesn't pay out to victims. It goes into a series of funds, like the ones behind the National Lottery, that worthy victim support groups can apply for money from. It seems to be extremely difficult to find out where the money goes, since most of the figures on the MoJ website1 are several years old. Personally, I doubt it does much to benefit victims, since it looks as if it raises about £20million, for about 6.2 million incidents of crime experienced just by adults, although it probably keeps plenty of Social Justice Warriors in employment.

1https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/victims-and-witnesses-funding-awards

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"Victim"?

TV Licensing collected £3.7 billion in revenue in 2013/14.

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Pint

Re: "Victim"?

Archtech mentioned, "TV Licensing collected £3.7B..."

I'm struggling to understand why BBC can't somehow pull in several (more?) billions per year by marketing their many productions more vigorously overseas.

If they pushed the export marketing side much harder, then they could downward adjust the Licensing Fee to more trivial levels. Perhaps zero. Perhaps negative (dividend), a national profit center.

The BBC is a treasure, and its output can be copied-and-pasted into the export column. They should do this much more than they're doing now. The trickle should become flood.

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Re: Victim surcharge

In other words it does, albeit indirectly, go to victims of of crime.

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Facepalm

Justice dispensed by Government IT project

What could possibly go wrong?

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Still "be able to" attend court?

Surely most people would want to just let the computer system do it rather than going to court if they are going to plead guilty anyway. But why could it not be optional? Allow people to decide to plead guilty and let the computer sentence them, or they can go to court and let a judge sentence them and get the same outcome? I bet the vast majority of people would take the automatic system, and avoid the hassle and time off work, etc.

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Re: Still "be able to" attend court?

Depends on how much experience with the courts they have. Regular visitors would tend to put in a "plea of mitigation" to the human judges where you suggest the sentence that your given as well in exchange for acting out a convincing sob story.

Frankly, I think that as a general rule making a plea of mitigation in anything but exceptional circumstances ought to attract punitive sentencing, but I know I'm in a minority.

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Re: Still "be able to" attend court?

As long as people are offered the option "pay this or take it to court" I do not see a great deal of problem with the scheme. If one is guilty, or expects to be found guilty, and has to "pay this" anyway, and probably more on top in lost wages etc, it's actually doing them a favour.

For the type of cases being considered most people would know whether they are guilty or not and it's just a waste of everyone's time to go to court, plead guilty, and get the fine an online service can just as easily hand out.

There is an issue of people believing they are guilty when they actually are not and have grounds to escape conviction but they would probably mistakenly admit guilt in court anyway. That rests on what legal advice they get (or don't), not the means of processing the case.

It might lead to innocent people paying-up simply to avoid inconvenience and costs but I don't think that is a great enough risk to reject the scheme.

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Re: Still "be able to" attend court?

The concern was that the fees/difficulty in not using the automated system would gradually increase until only the sort of people that have their own team of lawyers ( ie rich crooks)can afford to go to court - everyone else would be forced to just plead guilty to everything online

So the pay a parking/speeding ticket within 24 hours for £50 or go to court and pay £250 + costs. Becomes a "CCTV says you were in a fight" pay £500 fine now online, or go to court and get 18months and £1000 in costs = pay up if you are black/poor/been in trouble with the police whether that was you in the CCTV or not

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Re: Still "be able to" attend court?

Exceptional circumstances that are mitigating?

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Anonymous Coward

the government's aim...

...of delivering a service that is just, proportionate, accessible to all and works better for everyone.

Plain English:

the government's aim of delivering a service that is cheap, cheap, cheap and cheap.

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Re: the government's aim...

Integration. @Outsourcer fines you, collects the money, or if you don't pay collects you and takes you to their private prison, from which you emerge with STDs and possibly HIV and go to their private hospital from which you get a bill which you present to their medical insurance scheme which refuses to pay out because you didn't disclose to them that you were a criminal.

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Re: the government's aim...

Cheap for the government, perhaps. But the main objection to the "justice" systems in all Western nations is still that justice (such as it is) is available to the rich only. You can't get justice without one or more clever and tricky lawyers, and they cost real money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the government's aim...

the government's aim of delivering a service that is cheap, cheap, cheap and cheap

...but will be late and way over budget...

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Re: the government's aim...

"...of delivering a service that is just (for the rich!), proportionate (victimises the plebs), accessible to all (with the cash) and works better for everyone (wealthy)."

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el Reg has the habit of sometimes using more colourful verbs to deliver quotes so how about

"The automatic online conviction procedure will contribute to the government's aim of delivering a service that is just, proportionate, accessible to all and works better for everyone," the government said lied at the time.

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Instant fines

These would have allowed instant fines to be given to people who plead guilty to dodging train fares or TV licence fees.

, or our "Honourable" Parlimentarians fiddling expenses.

Though I doubt any of them when caught would plead guilty

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