A place apart, judicially…

AFTER the fiasco of loyalist “foot soldiers” escaping jail after they attacked an ice cream van that the UDA wanted protection money from, you might like to compare and contrast court action against similar crimes in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Local rioters rarely (ever?) get more than six months these days, but even after the sentences of some of the Bradford rioters were reduced a couple of years ago, they were still all longer than the average NI sentence – and you’d certainly never hear judges say this in Laganside courthouse. Here’s a more recent example of how tribal violence is treated as a crime and not a recreational activity by courts in Great Britain – ten men involved in a violent attack on a Portuguese-run pub after England’s defeat in Euro 2004 have been jailed for between eight and 18 months, the Beeb reports. Wouldn’t happen here, oh no. Heck, do the clubs here even ban fans who attack other supporters? It’s not like you even need an ASBO