Last week we reported that David William Lloyd Thomas, 56, of Cwm Bowydd Farm, Blaenau Ffestiniog had been jailed for 24 weeks and banned from keeping dogs or ferrets for ten years.
This light sentence for a serial animal abuser who had ignored a previous ban on keeping dogs caused disappointment to those who investigated the offence and outrage in the general public.
A few days later Thomas’ sentence was overturned on appeal and his sentence is now 13 weeks in jail suspended for 1 year, 200 hours unpaid work and £756 costs. The original 8 year ban is to continue.
For a criminal justice system to work properly three elements are essential:
- A thorough and impartial investigation to establish the facts of the case
- A prompt and efficient prosecution
- A fair hearing of all the evidence and a suitable and proportionate disposal by the courts
We feel that in this case two of those three elements have been met but sadly not the third. The League Against Cruel Sports and their investigators carried out their part as did the prosecution. The initial court sentence was considered by many to have been lenient but the reduction of this sentence on appeal is frankly shocking.
Catching criminals and putting them before the courts is only effective in reducing crime IF the sentence received is appropriate.
The public have a right to expect that sentences for crime will act as a deterrent otherwise they will loose confidence in the criminal justice system. There is little in this case to inspire confidence.