|Community Service Across the Pond|
|Posted by Charles Esslinger on Feb 5th, 2013|
The U.S. isn't the only country that uses community service to punish and reform its criminals. Nations throughout the world are making volunteering an integral part of their criminal justice system, and so far, it has been pretty effective.
Take the United Kingdom., for instance. Instead of locking up nonviolent criminals, they're putting them to work. When used properly, community service can be a powerful tool in dealing with crime. It helps to reform offenders, keep people out of jail, and better society.
Counterfeiting – it's bad for the community:
Can you spot a fake? Apparently, English police can. Harniel Negi, 43, was recently caught selling counterfeit DVD's in Hucknall's car park. Negi had 470 DVD's with him at the time of his arrest, and police found another 4,758 DVD's while raiding his apartment. Among the DVD's were titles such as The Hills Run Red and American Pie. Police also confiscated a large quantity of unclassified, pornographic DVD's.
Negi was caught during an April inspection of Hucknall's car boot sale by Trading Standards officers from Nottinghamshire's County Council. For those living in the U.S., car boot sales are similar to flea markets. Vendors sell things out of their car and/or booth while people walk around and shop. Considering the kind of things people sell at flea markets, it seems likely that Negi wasn't the only one selling counterfeit merchandise at the Hucknall car boot sale.
At the end of the day, Negi plead guilty to five charges under the Copyright Design and Patents Act of 1988 and three under the Video Recordings Act of 1984. The value that Negi's counterfeit products cost the UK economy was estimated to be as much as £500,000 per year. That figure takes into account the loss in revenue incurred by legitimate businesses as well as unpaid taxes.
For his crime, the Nottingham Magistrates Court sentenced Negi to 120 hours of community service. Councilor Mick Murphy, chairman of the Community Safety Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, offered a strong criticism of counterfeiting. “The County Council will not tolerate the sale of counterfeit good in the county,” explained Murphy. “Counterfeit goods reduce trade for legitimate retailers, which has a negative impact on their businesses and the local economy as a whole.”
Olympic bottle thrower sentenced to community service:
During the summer Olympics, an English man made news for his throwing skills. He wasn't a competitor, though, which is sort of the problem.
Ashely Gill-Webb, better known as the man who threw a plastic beer bottle at competitors during the Olympics, was recently sentenced to community service for his crimes. Gill-Webb, 34, was found guilty of public disturbance at Stratford Magistrates' Court last month. Gill-Webb is from South Milford, which is near Leeds. He suffers form bipolar disorder.
Gill-Webb used an old ticket to get into Olympic Park on August 5th for the men's 100 meter event. Before the race started, he heckled several of the participants from the stands, focusing particularly on Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. According to court reports, Gill-Webb pushed his way into an exclusive seating area and started shouting, “Usain, I want you to lose. Usain, you are bad, you are an arsehole.” He then threw the plastic beer bottle as the race started.
Edith Bosch, a Dutch judo champion, confronted Gill-Webb after he threw the bottle, saying that he made her miss the race. U.S. competitor Justin Gatlin said that the incident wasn't too distracting. “It was a little distraction and I didn't know what it was,” Gatlin said. “But when you're in those blocks and the whole stadium's quiet, you can hear a pin drop. The gold and silver medalists, Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake respectively, said they were unaware of the incident.
District Judge William Ashworth was very vocal in his criticism of Gill-Webb, saying that he was only trying to “spoil the occasion for some spectators and tarnish the spirit of the Games.” The judge also addressed Gill-Webb's bipolar disorder, saying that he reduced the punishment “to take account of the effects of your illness.”
Gill-Webb was found guilty under Section 4 of the Public Order Act for causing alarm or distress by using threatening, abusive, or disorderly behavior. Instead of sending him to jail for the minor offense, Judge Ashworth sentenced him to eight weeks of community service and ordered him to pay £1,500 in fines. Gill-Webb will also be electronically monitored and will be subject to a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m curfew.
Hucknall Dispatch - http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/news/local-news/trader-given-community-service-for-selling-counterfeit-goods-1-5336376
Irish Examiner -http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/sport/olympic-bottle-thrower-gets-eight-weeks-community-service-583605.html
<< Back to Home