Offender appearing at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court had 190 previous convictions

CRIME: Crime scene.
CRIME: Crime scene.

An offender was spared jail after being convicted of assault at Chesterfield Magistrates Court last year - despite already having 190 previous convictions.

The career criminal was handed a suspended sentence despite having 68 convictions for theft, 22 fraud offences and 14 public order offences.

Shocking figures obtained by the Derbyshire Times under the Freedom of Information Act also show another offender with 115 previous convictions was handed a conditional discharge over a drug possession charge despite having 91 previous theft offences on their record.

Several large riots in British prisons last year fuelled media reports that British prisons were in crisis due to overcrowding and staffing problems.

One of the Government’s strategy’s to tackle the problem is the extended use of satellite tagging and community punishments.

But a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said British prisons would always have enough places for those sent to them by the courts and that sentencing decisions take into consideration a number of factors, including the seriousness of the offence, aggravating and mitigating factors and a guilty plea.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Protecting the public will always be our top priority. Our message is simple - if you commit a serious offence, you should expect to go to prison.

“Sentencing is a matter for independent judges, with decisions made based on the full facts of the case.”

She added that the Sentencing Council had recently published new guidelines to make sure sentences accurately reflected the seriousness of crimes.