A Kidderminster woman stood before magistrates this week in relation to an offence of stealing a pack of 4 Mars Bars worth £0.75p due to her being in a deep struggle for survival after cruel and unjust benefit sanctions left her starving hungry.
This is unfortunately the latest case in a long line of similar offences which have been committed by a growing number of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in our country which are due to the prolonged and biting effect of the plain evil welfare reforms and benefit sanctions implemented under this government and the mass un-controlled open door Immigration policies we must adhere to for being part of the sinking ship that is the EU.
The 4 Pack of Mars Bars with a shelf value of 75p were stolen from a shop in Kidderminster on June 22 because the young woman had not eaten in days after her benefits had been sanctioned and she was left with no other choice but to take the item from the shop in order to survive.
In her defence it was stated by her solicitor that this woman’s benefits had been sanctioned and she didn’t have anybody to turn to for help or support, she had not eaten for days and had no money or alternative means of being able to do so. She also stated to the police that she tried to take the lowest valued item she could find and if this can only demonstrate that she really didn’t want to take anything at all, it was more a case of she had to by the sounds of it.
However when she went before the local magistrates on Thursday August 6th they did not accept her reason for the theft and seemingly gave her no credit whatsoever when they landed this struggling young woman with a fine for £73 in addition to £150 Court Costs, £85 in Persecution Costs, £20 Victim Surcharge, and £0.75p Compensation. In total a combined financial penalty fine of £328.75p for taking an item worth just 75 Pence from the shop because she was left with no other alternative.
It is deeply shocking and disturbing that the court magistrate couldn’t understand her reasons for committing the offence in the first place. However it comes as no surprise because they have most likely never experienced the real struggles and poverty that many ordinary people face in our lifetimes. As judges in the Criminal Justice System I do feel they should be aware of the reality of such issues as poverty resulting from unfair and unjust Welfare reforms. It is not right at all for them to completely disregard the poverty and financial struggle of offending individuals brought before them, and think it is acceptable to further make these people suffer even more by making them pay such large fines, court costs, prosecution costs. Essentially what we are seeing played out before our eyes are people who are in a deep financial struggle committing relatively minor offences of shoplifting, being made to suffer further as they pay £328 into the Criminal Justice System and just 75p compensation to the victim.
These judges have most likely never experienced the pain and discomfort of a gnawing belly that begins to eat away body fat just to stay alive, they have also most likely never gone without anything in their lives and have never truly experienced the real depths of the financial struggle that’s affecting millions of ordinary people up and down this country.
It is completely immoral, heartless and unjust to sit there and further increase people’s financial suffering and also their risk of re-offending by inflicting heavy fines & costs on them for a trivial offence of shoplifting to a value of 75 pence.
We must not forget that this comes at a time when Police say they may be unable to investigate Burglaries because of the effects of cuts to their own budgets which will continue to have a knock on effect on frontline policing in this country. However they seem to have enough time to haul a desperate woman in front of the Custody Sergeant for an offence of stealing a pack of Mars Bars from a local shop because she had no other choice.
It does disgust me that such people in positions of responsibility can have such a misunderstanding of the society that they are supposed to represent. Many people feel that they can sit on their high perches and cast judgment over other people’s lives when they have never lived that persons life and most certainly cannot ever appreciate the wider struggle out there at the moment. Equally disgusting is that such offences are given absurdly high fines which will result in that person struggling further thus increasing their chances of re-offending.
I do strongly welcome your valued feedback on this article or indeed any other topics I cover on this site, please don’t be afraid to leave a comment and this can be a good place where we can all have a sensible debate about such serious political affairs and current affairs that could well affect all our lives for years to come. Never be afraid to have an opinion in this world because your opinions are always shared with others and open minded and free thinking debate is healthy for our minds in these challenging times.
Factual Statistics used in this story were sourced from ‘The Kidderminster Shuttle/NewsQuest West Midlands’. A direct to the original article can be found by clicking here.