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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Carlisle magistrates rapped by judge for sentencing burglar

Cumbria's top judge has criticised an “inexplicable” decision to deal with a house burglar at a magistrates’ court.

Connor Dalgleish photo
Connor Dalgleish

Judge Paul Batty QC, the Honorary Recorder of Carlisle, said such cases were so serious they should always be heard at the crown court, where more severe sentences can be handed out.

Judge Batty has instructed Crown Prosecution Service lawyers to tell the county’s magistrates’ court clerks that cases involving burglaries at people’s houses should in future always be sent to the senior court.

The judge made his comments after hearing that a 19-year-old burglar had been given a 90-day prison sentence when he appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court in August for breaking into a house in Toronto Street, Upperby, Carlisle.

It was after getting drunk celebrating his release from that sentence that Connor Dalgleish went on to commit the two further burglaries that earned him a 40-month prison sentence when he appeared before Judge Batty on Friday.

“I don’t wish to see ever again dwelling house burglaries being dealt with in the magistrates’ courts,” the judge said.

He said the fact that the magistrates’ court had accepted responsibility for Dalgleish’s case was inexplicable.

Although the lower court has the authority to deal with offences of burglary, it usually handles more minor ones – at factories or offices, for example – and sends more serious ones to a crown court for sentence.

“I wish to state as clearly as I possibly can that anyone in this city who is involved in dwelling house burglaries at night – especially at the homes of elderly and vulnerable people – will receive deterrent sentences,” the judge said.

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