Excuses, excuses

July 18th, 2011 § 0 comments

Oh Ellie Mae O’Hagan, stop being a dick about Charlie Gilmore…

Despite the piecemeal nature of sentencing for those convicted of violent disorder (there are currently no sentencing guidelines in the crown court), comparatively speaking Gilmour’s fate seems to be hugely disproportionate and unfair. He simply should not be imprisoned for crimes that hurt nobody. This is a conviction that raises a hackneyed question, so often mooted during the phone-hacking scandal: cui bono?

Cui bono? Erm, yes. Society, probably.

But now the cameras turn once again to Charlie Gilmour, a 21-year-old Cambridge student and scion of the Pink Floyd dynasty who today received a 16-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to violent disorder. Gilmour, now sober-suited, bespectacled and freshly shorn, presented a very different figure to the apparently crazed eccentric who was photographed swinging from a union flag on the Cenotaph during the fees protests last December. He was later seen leaping on the bonnet of a Jaguar in a royal convoy taking the Prince of Wales to the royal variety performance, and was also found have also hurled a rubbish bin at the vehicle.

Violence doesn’t have to neccersarily hurt someone. He jumped on the bonnet of a car and and threw a bin at another vehicle. I would say that is being violent. The swinging from the Centotaph is an act of vandalism. All three instances are violence against property. Guilty as charged.

But, Ellie, what the buggering fuck is this about…?

And certainly Gilmour did wrong although, having admitted that he had taken LSD and Valium prior to the protests, it’s arguable whether he was wholly responsible for some of his more extreme idiocy.


Charlie is still responsible for his actions. Whatever he’s off his face on, he is still responsible for his ‘more extreme idiocy’, as well as his not so clever, harmless moments of the day. Just because someone is bolloxed doesn’t mean they can go breaking the law. That’s why junkies end up in prison for theft. That’s why beer monsters end up in front of the magistrate on a Monday morning after kicking the shit out of someone whilst fueled up on Wife-Beater. You do something illegal because you have taken mind-altering substances, you are still responsible.

As for the harshness of Gilmores’ sentence, Lee Griffin at LibCon shows that te 16 months isn’t that bad

This outrage is bollocks.

You only have to take a look at the sentencing history for “Violent Disorder”, coupled with Mr Gilmour’s nature in court (allegedly giggling at scenes of his actions), tempered by the fact he pleaded guilty and apologised for certain (but not all) actions.

Attacking a police officer by throwing bottles – 10 months
Encouraging others to KILL police officers – 12 months
Revenge attack on property, with “attack” of person, person of good character – 18 months
Taking part in a riot, repetitive attacks on riot police with state of mind to “re-arm” with projectiles, second offence – 3 years

16 months, given that Charlie doesn’t exactly seem remorseful of the main elements of the charge (which is the threat, as little as it was in reality, he put members of family of the head of state under, and the encouragement for others to break the law vandalism of property), seems pretty much bang on all things considered, doesn’t it?

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