“behaviour like this is simply unacceptable”

Apparently running a business [in Northern Ireland] is now a mitigating circumstance, even when it comes to sentencing after being convicted for blackmailing and threatening to shoot someone.. It’s previously been a factor in tax evasion cases.. From the BBC report

Two Claudy men have been jailed for a year after blackmailing a business associate and threatening to shoot him. Patrick Magowan, 46, and 32-year old Brian Conwell, were told they would have faced longer sentences. However, Judge Tom Burgess said the community relied so heavily on them for jobs there would be a real danger of the loss of employment. The victim was threatened with a gun and told he would be shot if he did not hand over £8,000.

Adds In the comments zone Gonzo points to a report of the initial charges – “inviting a person to provide money or property for terror purposes and demanding £8,000.”

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  • rab

    However if you go AWOL in a canoe, you’ll get 6 years.

  • ArchiePurple

    [See commenting policy – edited moderator]

  • ArchiePurple

    Moderator:

    I wonder why you removed the comments, they merely reiterated what was said in Court and the person mentioned already has a conviction for membership of an illegal organisation. You are getting very much like Poor Speaker Hay…we aren’t allowed to publicise terrorist links of Republicans, least they are offended, but even after 3/4 requests, the libelling of Willie Frazer was never removed from this site by any of your Moderators. [See commenting policy again – edited moderator]

  • Archiepurple

    Have you changed the policy since you allowing the libelling of Willie Frazer? Or do you only enforce it when North-West members of the INLA are involved?…I know both of these guys well and the other one who appears to have got off without conviction.

  • Archiepurple

    ‘allowing’ should read ‘allowed’

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Dunno what Archie said, but – perhaps in his defence – the BBC does seem to have omitted to mention how evidence was give that one of the guilty claimed to be INLA, or indeed how the victim sought advice from Sinn Fein.

    Compare and contrast the initial charges with those eventually dealt with.

    Course, claiming to be paramilitary don’t make it necessarily so – blackmailers often seem to claim to have an organisation behind them, in order to scare their victim. Perhaps that’s why the eventual charges contain no terrorism references. But the paramilitary claim was made nonetheless, and in court.

  • NCM

    According to this logic, a criminal enterprise that was large enough and had enough employees would be untouchable. Oh, wait, those are called “banks.”

  • cynic

    What a ludicrous decision.

  • Dec

    Compared to the sentences handed out in the case involving a UVF spy ring operating inside the PSNI and Wright Bus the other day, these sentences do seem unduly harsh and draconian.

  • Aargh !!!

    Is this judge in the Mafia!!!!

  • William

    Belfast Gonzo…the Moderator was obviously unduly touchy….bit like Willie Hay, our poor speaker at Stormont….don’t mention the war [mongers]…

    However, the likelihood is that there will be an Attorney General’s reference in this case, due to the undue leniency shown by Judge Burgess to the two defendants.

    As it is almost three years since the offence was committed there was ample time for the defendants to have put in place someone to run their business, as undoubtedly their lawyer would have advised them that they were most likely going to receive a custodial sentence. So the ‘driving force of his business’ defence of one of them should not, in my opinion, have been an accepted defence. As to the other defendant, I understand he ha a business similar to Yosser Hughes, tarmacing driveways, not working as a ‘contracts manager’ for his partner-in-crime, but maybe like our MLAs he was double jobbing!

  • In fairness to the two defendants in what you call a ‘UVF spy ring’, one merely logged car registration numbers and the other accessed the Police computer in order to find the owner’s name. There was no evidence given that any of the people were ever threatened nor was anyone attached. In contrast, in the Dungiven case, four people threatened an individual with a gun claiming they were from the INLA and two of them have been convicted for the offence, getting the rather lenient sentence of one year each. No much of a deterrant, when the Judge could have jailed them for up to 14 years under the relevant act.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think Willie Hay has been doing quite a good job as Speaker. You have to remember that the job is to enforce the rules. You’re not allowed to accuse someone of being a criminal, or of lying, inside Parliament – whether it is true or not. Those are the rules. The implication that this somehow makes Hay partisan is not fair.

  • Jimmy

    This is an appalling lack of judgement on Judge Burgess Part. Hasn’t he ever heard of administrators? They could run the business after the culprits were jailed.
    If people in the community lost their jobs due to the criminal behaviour of these two thugs cant civil actions be taken against them by the aggrieved?, they would have to pay up through their insurance or their assets seized to pay for the workers compensation. Or perhaps is that too easy of an option? Or maybe the boyos had the right type of handshake, who knows.

  • ArchiePurple

    Stalin….Do the rules extend to lying in the Assembly I wonder….when the grizzly one states he was never in the IRA?

    Hay does a ‘good job’ – he has a staff of 20 to help him, an £86k salary, car + driver and a grace-and-favour flat in the Stormont grounds….wouldn’t you do a good job for all that wonga?

  • ArchiePurple

    Jimmy….You write: ‘Or maybe the boyos had the right type of handshake, who knows.’

    If you’re suggesting a Masonic link, then you’re definately barking up the wrong tree…unlikely to find folk ‘associated with the INLA’ in the Masons, I would imagine.

    The Judge was oviously unduly swayed by the ‘loss of jobs’ defence – all 4 of them.

  • Smug O’ Toole

    Lads,

    This recession is stinging a wee bit. I was thinking of doubling jobbing. Desk jockey by day in the ROI, and the Scarlet Pimping Nelly by night as I cross the border to wreck havoc, rob, steal, infiltrate, tout and finally get caught. With a lenient sentence and a possible job at Stormont at the end, I reckon it’s not a bad career path.

  • jone

    Yes Archie in fairness to the UVF spy ring I’m sure the ammo in Bubbles Richardson desk drawer was going to be used for making children’s toys are something equally innocent.

  • Jimmy

    Re,Archiepurple

    I wasn’t aware there was an INLA link.
    Makes the 1 year sentence and the reasons around it look even more ridiculous now.

    I think if they were actualy caught doing the double they might have received a harsher sentence. The Surrealism in this wee place never fails to astound me.

  • Dec

    In fairness to the two defendants in what you call a ‘UVF spy ring’, one merely logged car registration numbers and the other accessed the Police computer in order to find the owner’s name.

    Archie

    Are you a Judge?

  • The Cruiser

    “In fairness to the two defendants in what you call a ‘UVF spy ring’, one merely logged car registration numbers and the other accessed the Police computer in order to find the owner’s name. There was no evidence given that any of the people were ever threatened nor was anyone attached”,(sic)
    Yeah like ‘cos the UVF only send Christmas cards to the people they’re targeting.
    Shheeessh
    Speaking of Wrightbus there may be some terrorists/sympathisers/enablers on the dole soon.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7907938.stm

  • William

    I love it when the terrorist supporters blog about two Loyalist who are convicted. They suddenly become members of the UVF and the employer of one becomes a UVF company.

    And we have one of the greatest mass murderers of recent times worrying whether he is a ‘joint’ or a ‘deputy’ and that’s all right.

    If major terrorists are suitable for Government, then surely the minor ones can have a job in a local company.

  • ArchiePurple

    JIMMY:

    If you weren’t aware of the INLA link, then click on ‘the initial charges’ at #6 and read the BBC website page detailing the two defendants initial court appearance in 2006, where the link is mentioned.

    Claudy Boy or Claudy in areas [as he sometimes calls himself] would know the two defendants, I would guess.

  • ArchiePurple

    Dec—-No, I’m not a judge but I have a damned sight more experience of the law than you appear to have. I read the press reports which were published at the time the two defendants were arrested, hence my posting of the words that seem to concern you.

    A Tip for you old boy: Have a basic knowledge of a topic before you plant your size 12s on the subject, knowing little or nothing about it.

  • Claudy in areas

    Arhie,

    Is you guess based on co-religionist theory? Never a reliable method but the disaster of sectarianism in the 6c’s obviously hasn’t convinced everybody yet.

    Anyhooo…it shouldn’t matter if I know the defendants, or even if I am one. Remember the ‘man not ball’ ethos of this site and stop stirring.

  • aquifer

    Other businesses cannot compete with people prepared to extort money at gunpoint.

    And how should extortionists prove that they are not members of secret paramilitary organisations?

    The answer is that they cannot, so we must assume they mean what they say when they claim membership and punish them accordingly, to put amateurs off the idea. Otherwise the country will be awash with extortionists.

    Paramilitaries enjoy too many advantages to do otherwise. Secrecy, armaments, organisation, training in evading prosecution are all associated with paramilitarism, and lend weight to any threat.

    Judges have licensed our oppression by armed gangs long enough. Their mercy is losing lives and livelihoods.

  • ArchiePurple

    Claudy in areas / Claudy boy …..

    Sorry I wasn’t thinking about ‘co-religion’ at all…just assuming that in a small village like Claudy, you might have known the two defendants….

    I don’t live there now but I know them well and as they say in the country areas, I know the breed of them rather well too.

    Don’t become too hung up, seeing ‘sectarianism’ in every response to you ….you’ll become paranoid.

  • Dec

    Dec—-No, I’m not a judge but I have a damned sight more experience of the law than you appear to have.

    You should become a barrister. The argument that a gun-toting UVF commander collected names and addresses of Catholics only because he was under threat is clearly a masterstroke.