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to think alcohol use should not be a mitigation when a crime is committed?

(35 Posts)
M0nica Tue 20-Aug-19 20:27:13

The papers today reported the court proceedings of the louts who broke into a school and destroyed model railway kits laid out for an exhibition. They did £30,000 of damage.

One of the solicitors for the louts pleaded in mitigation that they had managed to buy and consume a lot of vodka before their rampage and his client would never have done the damage if he had been sober.

This excuse 'I only did it because I was drunk' comes up so often in mitigation pleas. Surely the consumption of alcohol should be an aggravating factor that earns a higher sentence, not excuses a crime.

Get drunk if you want to, but if when drunk you are stupid enough to commit a crime, well that means your sentence is increased by 20%. Getting drunk, is never an excuse for wanton vandalism or violence and the courts should not treat it as such.

Elegran Thu 29-Aug-19 11:41:50

If it is the first time that the perpetrator has ever drunk alcohol, they have some excuse (but not much of one) for claiming that they didn't know that it could affect them by removing their inhibitions enough to do things they wouldn't have dreamt of when sober.

But only the first time they have tried it, and the first time they have ever been in the company of others who have lost their conscience inhibitions, and they have never seen videos of drunken hooligans or heard stories of what can happen.

Beckett Thu 29-Aug-19 11:48:27

Using the excuse that they only did something because they had been drinking is a bogus defence.

In my experience those who are quick to fly off the handle are more likely to be violent when drunk , others who are generally easy going tend to giggle and fall asleep when drunk. So alcohol DOES bring out the real person.

EllanVannin Thu 29-Aug-19 12:15:47

Not all giggly people fall asleep when drunk, the same as normally timid people remaining timid when drunk. Not True ! I've been surprised in the past at the behaviours of both !
Dutch courage is the phrase that's used, is it not ? Pathetic !!

Anniebach Thu 29-Aug-19 12:18:49

If alcohol brings out the real person then alcohol dependant homeless really have a need to be homeless because they are being their real self.

sodapop Thu 29-Aug-19 12:26:25

I think there are two different issues here. The alcoholic or drug addict who needs help but still should be punished as well as receiving help. Then there are those people who are just stupid or inexperienced and drink for the hell of it then commit a crime. We shouldn't lose sight of the victims in all this.

Anniebach Thu 29-Aug-19 12:32:28

I agree Sodapop. which is why I disagreed with ‘alcohol brings out the real person’. Not in everyone who drinks.

maddyone Thu 29-Aug-19 12:39:48

Totally agree with you Monica.

SueDonim Thu 29-Aug-19 12:56:03

I often used to see reports from the Scottish courts where people were treated more leniently because they were drunk. Thank goodness, that mind set has changed now and it is more often seen as an aggravating factor. No one would say a drunken driver who killed someone should be treated more leniently, whether they were an alcoholic or not.

Part of the problem is that it is very hard to define what an alcohol addict actually is. I think in popular terms we think it's someone whose life is out of control but the reality is really quite different. I know an alcoholic who managed to keep it hidden from everyone inc their own family. They were regarded as a 'social' drinker when in fact they secretly drank so much their liver gave out, despite never appearing to be madly drunk, just perhaps a little tipsy now and again. It's very sad.

Witzend Fri 06-Sep-19 10:20:39

As for alcohol excess in general, personally I think there should be much stiffer penalties for being 'drunk and disorderly' - throwing up/brawling in the street, being aggressive/violent in A & E, etc.

I don't see that much action is usually taken at all. If people thought they could be hit with a hefty fine, they might think twice about drinking so much.