Life sentences for people who abuse children, and those who kill emergency workers on duty are among a series of criminal justice reforms coming into force today.
The government says the landmark reforms are designed to “make our streets safer”.
The reforms are part of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC Act) – which the government says equips police with “the powers and tools they need to combat crime”, while overhauling sentencing laws in a bid to protect the public, and keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer.
The introduction of higher maximum penalties for a range of child cruelty offences will be known as ‘Tony’s Law’ after seven-year-old Tony Hudgell.
When Tony was a baby, he was attacked by his birth parents and left with broken fingers and toes, plus torn ligaments in his legs – however, he was left untreated and in pain for 10 days, and the delay in getting treatment meant that both his legs had to be amputated in 2017, which has left him wheelchair-bound.
His birth parents were sentenced to the current maximum jail term of 10 years.
But Tony’s adoptive mother Paula Hudgell said that more has to be done to protect vulnerable children, adding that the planned tougher sentences are for “Tony and all the babies and children that suffered or lost their lives at the hands of their abusers”.
The law follows the tireless campaigning of PC Andrew Harper’s family, and his widow Lissie Harper, who were prompted to take action after the 28-year-old was killed while responding to a call about a stolen quad bike in Berkshire on 15 August 2019.
PC Harper’s killers – 19-year-old Henry Long, and his two 18-year-old passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers – were cleared of murder, and given sentences of between 13 years and 19 years for manslaughter, and although an appeal was made by the Attorney General asking for their jail terms to be increased, this was rejected.
Lissie had previously said she was “outraged” by the length of sentences handed to the three teenagers responsible for his death.
Some of the other reforms being introduced as part of the PCSC Act include ending the automatic early release of offenders deemed to be a danger to the public, giving domestic abuse victims more time to report incidents of common assault or battery, and making the taking of non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be punishable by up to two years in prison.
The most violent and sexual offenders, including rapists, will also be forced to spend longer in prison to keep the public safer.
Judges will also be able to hand down life sentences for death by dangerous driving or death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs, and there will also be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.
Controversially, the PCSC Act also introduces a new offence of “intentionally of recklessly” causing public nuisance, which the government says reflects the rise in so-called “guerrilla protest” tactics, and there’ll also be new police powers to tackle non-violent protests that cause disruption to the public or access to parliament.
“This government is delivering on its commitment to make our streets safer,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“We have changed the law so that dangerous criminals are given the sentences they deserve and kept behind bars, and we are backing the police with the powers they need to keep us safe.
“We are well on our way to getting 20,000 more police officers, and we will continue to support victims seeking justice and bear down on crime so that everyone, in every town, village and city, has the security and confidence they deserve.”
You can read the full list of reforms introduced as part of the PCSC Act on the gov.uk website.
Featured Image – Pxhere
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.