Don’t Increase Fiona Onasanya’s Sentence – Don’t Create Political Martyrs

Should Fiona Onasanya have received a greater sentence? As a card carrying member of the pitchforked mob, sure, decades and throw away the key. For yes, those who would rule us are and should be held to higher standards. We didn’t jug Denis MacShane because the ghastly little man fiddled a few invoices, we did so because – however ghastly, little, and fiddling he was or is – he was an MP who fiddled. Jonathan Aitken got rather more for perjury than the average lying about false rape would get and rightly so.

Thus there’s a certain sympathy with this:

The jailed MP Fiona Onasanya could have her “unduly lenient” sentence increased after Government officials indicated the Attorney General would intervene. Amid a public outcry over the former Labour whip’s refusal to resign, The Telegraph has been told it is “almost inevitable” her sentence will be challenged due to the high-profile nature of the case. A senior Whitehall source added they expected a formal request for review to be submitted to Geoffrey Cox QC, the Government’s chief legal adviser, when the Peterborough MP’s appeal process ends in several weeks time.

Except it would be the wrong thing to do.

Jailed MP Fiona Onasanya could have her sentence increased after members of the public complained that it was too soft. The ex-solicitor, who has been kicked out of Labour, was locked up for three months for perverting the course of justice after lying over a speeding ticket. But the jail term is now being reviewed by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the Government’s chief law officer, under an unduly lenient sentencing scheme.

Yea even though Chris Huhne and Vicki Pryce got more for much the same offence. Partly just because the mob shouldn’t have any say over sentencing anyway. Past experience tells us that the demand from out there that punishment be done results in gross injustice – Lord Haw Haw was certainly a bad ‘un but hanging? Only because the public outcry meant that an Irish citizen was shaded into being guilty of what he couldn’t be, treason to the British Crown. Or, if you prefer, the mob crying for the burning of a witch.

Perhaps more importantly – or less, to the extent you think morals should trump expediency – looking at a Labour MP and saying that the courts should be over-ridden creates a political martyr. And that’s the last thing we want here, I think we’d all prefer she sinks back into well deserved obscurity, don’t you?

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HJ777
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HJ777

She shouldn’t have received a jail sentence at all. Jail is a very expensive method of punishment and, although perverting the course of justice is a serious offence, she doesn’t pose a danger to the public (except when she’s driving – which can be dealt with a by a driving ban). Neither does a short jail sentence have any sort of reforming effect. The sentence should have been a far longer non-jail penalty. Some sort of community service, other restrictions on her freedom, and a financial penalty. She should be made to contribute to the public purse and the wider… Read more »

Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

She needs to be removed as an MP. This is at least an effective reason for recall – can’t perform duties if locked up. Letting her roam about would remove this reason.

HJ777
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HJ777

That’s a political reason and we have an independent judiciary to avoid politicians interfering in individual cases.

Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

I agree it’s political but not in the way you outline. It’s not so much politicians interfering (which is bad) but giving a valid reason to the public for removing a politician from office. We need much more of the latter as they need to understand who they work for (represent).

moqifen
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moqifen

Got to disagree with you here Tim – there is no danger of her becoming a political martyr (except for a few deranged leftists) She had a position of trust as an mp and a solicitor which she shamelessly abused – lying her head off even in the witness box. If even Denis Macshane thinks you are in the wrong -https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6651249/DENIS-MACSHANE-Labours-jailed-MP-resign.html, you should know that you are doing something wrong. The fact that she’s appealed her conviction despite the overwhelming evidence against her shows how deluded/entitled this woman is.

timworstall
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timworstall

If MacShane thinks I’m wrong then I am, by definition, right.

Shadeburst
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Shadeburst

What on earth do you mean, the mob shouldn’t have any say over sentencing? The law is a codification of public morality. The word mob is strong English for a public group with a common purpose. Likewise populists are politicians with grassroots support. To make a valid point, neutral words work best.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

Seems to me that some non-public-figure punters get a couple of years for perverting the course in a speeding case. The law takes it very seriously, even if point-swapping without punishment happens a lot.Anyhow, if she wants public sympathy she shouldn’t be so obnoxious.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

She’s going to lose her seat in Parliament, she’ll lose her solicitor’s articles, a conviction for perjury blocks access to loads of professional employment, and being a high-profile case will mean she’ll never be forgotten. The jail term needs only to be long enough to trigger Parliamentary disqualification, no need to waste money giving her free room and board.

timworstall
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timworstall

Official disqualification, rather than resigning in shame, requires a 12 month sentence. Actually, 366 days in a non-leap year.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

As with Huhne, the question that poses itself is ‘why?’ On one hand: accept the fine, the points and the increased insurance premium (in Huhne’s case he was already on 9 pts, so he would have been banned for 3 months as well, not sure about Onasanya), all pretty trivial for someone on £80k+; on the other hand: loss of job and very substantial future earnings, public disgrace and a spell in pokey. Admittedly the chances of being caught out may be quite small, but they’re clearly non-zero. My interpretation is that they’re chancers, who’ve blithely accepted every risk that… Read more »