Will the judge pander to political pressure?

When the city trader who allegedly lost 2.3 billion dollars finally comes to court he will undoubtedly face a custodial sentence if convicted.

The size of the sum which Kweku Adoboli is said to have lost is eye-watering in its magnitude, so it’s important that any sentence which might be passed is appropriate to the crime.

But that will set the courts a real problem. Remember the 23-year-old who stole a case of bottled water valued at £3.50 during the recent riots? He got six months in the slammer.

By contrast, Elliot Morley, the former Government minister who deliberately claimed more than £30,000 in mortgage payments on a loan that had already been repaid is likely to be released after serving just four months of his 16-month sentence.

It strikes me that there is no equity in these two sentences. The first appears overly harsh for what, by all accounts was a momentary aberration by a student in the heat of the moment. In contrast the jail term for Morley’s fraud seems remarkably lenient for an offence which saw an elected public representative repeatedly claim money to which he was not entitled over a number of years.

If Adoboli is indeed found to be a rogue trader he must hope the judge is able to distinguish between a punishment to fit the crime and pandering to political pressure.

n n n

Parking at the supermarket can be a nightmare. The bays are a few inches too narrow for the average car, resulting in a gap between your vehicle and the next too tight for all but the most agile to clamber in and out without gymnastic-like contortions.

My family runaround has the dings, paint scuffs and scratches to prove my fellow shoppers have been unable to get in or out of their cars without coming into contact with mine. It’s tempting to borrow the neighbour’s children so that I can qualify for one of the wider ‘shoppers with children’ spaces.

The parking problem is made worse by the seemingly ever-growing number of four-wheel drive monsters which effectively render neighbouring parking bays unusable.

My suggestion is that these petrol-guzzling look-at-me displays of excessive consumption should be given their own, wider spaces - at the farthest reach of the car park.

Counterpoint by Scott Freeman