The execution of Mark Duggan
by police officers last August was the trigger for some of the most shameful and inexcusable riots in our history. With fires in especially North London and then Croydon
, it was incredible there was only a handful of deaths - all of them murders - but none resulting from arson.
The courts worked overtime, and both magistrates and later judges handed out exemplary sentences which for the most part were upheld on appeal
. One of the most nauseating sights was that of the double whammy visited on Malaysian student Ashraf Rossli
, who was assaulted and robbed then robbed again within seconds by an unrelated gang.
There were though some for whom there was some mitigation. Some of the rioters were obviously none too bright; many of them were unemployed or even unemployable
. Some simply got caught up in the madness of crowds.
There were some though who should have known better, none more so than spoilt little rich girl Laura Johnson who was convicted early last month
, not of rioting but of taking advantage of the riots to loot. She tried every trick in the book to escape justice barring an actual denial, which would have been rather difficult because when the police caught up with her they had to literally smash their way
into her vehicle.
Yes, she had mental health issues, but in the 21st Century we are all a little mad; was she under duress? Was she Hell! These are people you don't say no to, she said. A woman can always say no; nobody put a gun to your head, and why was a university student hanging around with these sort of lowlife in the first place?
Johnson's co-defendant Christopher Edwards, one of the obviously none too bright types she chauffered around while they looted, was given a year in a young offenders' institution. In view of his age and his lower social standing the judge appears to have decided that he was less culpable than her, and rightly so.
The lady herself has been given two years, which will give her time to detox whatever junk she has been shoving up her nose, smoking or sticking in her arm, and time to reflect. There is no reason she shouldn't continue her studies, although she can forget about a career in the law or anything that requires an unblemished record.