The long standing tensions between the elected representatives of the people (based upon their mandate) and the judiciary are once again under tension with the issue of knife crime. The Executive and politicians in both the Tory and Labour Party essentially support calls for a mandatory custodial sentence for those caught with a knife for the second time (…’it will give a clear message’… Gove, etc.). The Liberal Democrats though are not convinced and are openly calling this a gimmick aimed at pleasing the right. They also insist that sentencing should be the right and duty of the judiciary – based upon the law and the evidence of any individual case. Interestingly, Lord Chief Justice John Thomas has largely supported the calls for a tougher legal stance against knife carriers and criminals.
This will run as the election looms next May, but it is useful for Units 2’s Judges & Civil Liberties topic and Unit 1’s Political Parties & Ideas; it’s also a good recent example of the on-going tensions between the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary.