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Christopher Lunn sentenced to five years

11th Jan 2016
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The old Bailey
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Accountant Denis Christopher Lunn has been sentenced to five years in Southwark Crown Court for evading £6m in tax. As Lunn starts his sentence, the firm’s ex-clients are now facing increased penalties.

Lunn’s trouble began when the tax authority discovered his clients had higher than average refund claims. Lunn reasoned in his client letter that this “was to be expected because of the nature of work we were undertaking within the media industry”.

AccountingWEB has previously reported on Lunn’s cavalier attitude towards the tax authorities. A source familiar with the Christopher Lunn & Co’s activities told AccountingWEB how the firm considered its fraudulent behaviour “a bit of a joke”.

Lunn’s sentencing was previously postponed after his QC, Geoff Cox, argued that Lunn should only be held responsible for £65,000. The QC called Lunn “a man of good character” and noted how Lunn’s arrest has had “cataclysmic effect on his family”. 

Lunn’s clients now liable to high penalties

During the HMRC investigation, in letters sent to clients and subsequently shared with AccountingWEB, Lunn remained defiant and denied any wrongdoing.

Lunn was keen for any ongoing work on the correction of tax returns to be suspended until after the trial. Lunn repeatedly reassured his clients that the matter would be resolved and his name cleared. Clients who followed Lunn’s advice are now liable to higher penalties if they delayed. HMRC has offered Lunn's clients a chance to put things right for themselves by paying any tax and interest due. But it is understood that clients who heeded Lunn’s advice and are yet to come forward face penalties of 20% to 30%.

The clients who ignored Lunn and approached HMRC at an early stage received a smaller penalty of 10% or lower. AccountingWEB member Robertnz inherited three Lunn clients. “I was amazed at the scale of the cosmetic accounting they used,” he said. “It cost these clients the best part of £20,000 to settle everything. However they were smart enough to take our advice to settle and so the penalties were minimal, despite Lunn still emailing them to assure that everything was in good order and not to settle.”

Lunn also alleged Dave Hartnett and HMRC officers of lying under oath during the investigation. “We have received a letter from HMRC (subsequently endorsed by Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax) in which it was apparent that they condoned the practice of taking false evidence and fabricated allegations to court and furthermore thereby also condoned the making of false statements oath. (Some people refer to such a perjury),” wrote Lunn.

In an email attachment titled ‘the story so far’, Lunn also accused HMRC officials of making “statements under oath that were totally and unequivocally false.” This included statements that they had no intention of closing CLAC down.

Lunn claimed HMRC acted ‘unlawfully’

Lunn also sent an email to clients on 1 March 2012 claiming HMRC was acting unlawfully. The email suggested clients who have been approached by HMRC relating to disclosures to write to their local compliance officer or HMRC Leeds Edgewood Office stating that these letters are illegal, and included a paragraph draft of what should be sent. The letter said: "I am therefore suggesting that any client who has any letter, telephone call or documents relating to disclosures, at whatever stage such a disclosure might be, should write to their Local Compliance Office or the Leeds Edgewood Office (or in some cases both).

Christopher Lunn further denied any wrongdoing in a letter dated 24 June 2013, using the letter to alleviate his client’s concerns following HMRC labelling three key areas criminally. He summarised: “We hope that these explanations will allow our clients the opportunity to insist that any examination into their affairs be held over. Further they should then be dealt with fairly and appropriately only at the end of any legal proceedings."

Lunn didn’t go down without a fight and continued to dissuade clients from cooperating with HMRC in a letter from September 2014, instructing his clients to reverse any subsequent “ill-founded” changes to their tax returns. “The clients figures should be returned to those put forward by CL&Co,” Lunn said. 

Even after his son Jon was found guilty of fraud and received a suspended sentence, Christopher Lunn continued to maintain in letters to clients that the pair were innocent and that HMRC was acting illegally by refusing to allow use of home claims and re-examining out-of-time tax returns.

After Lunn's sentence was announced Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance at HMRC said: “Lunn believed he could make up fraudulent claims to benefit both himself and his clients. Hard work from HMRC officers across the department proved him wrong. This long-running investigation has already recovered £20m as Lunn’s former clients settle their tax liabilities, with more to come.

“I hope this result serves as a reminder to those who try to cheat the public purse – particularly those in the tax profession – that no one is above the law and that HMRC will relentlessly pursue tax evaders to bring them before the courts."

HMRC has now started confiscation proceedings to strip Lunn of any financial gain he made as a result of his criminal activity.

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Replies (70)

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David Winch
By David Winch
12th Jan 2016 10:07

Presumably the judge did not accept the defence argument that Christopher Lunn should be sentenced on the basis that the loss to HMRC was limited to £65,000.  A five year sentence in relation to a tax loss of only £65,000 seems unlikely.

In terms of confiscation I suggest the key issue would be 'What benefit did the defendant obtain?' rather than 'What did HMRC lose?'.  So the issue is likely to be about fees earned by CL & Co or perhaps about monies earned by Mr Lunn from CL & Co.

However I would expect the confiscation to be on the basis of a 'criminal lifestyle' so the statutory assumptions are likely also to come into play.

David

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By rbusfield
12th Jan 2016 10:16

penalties

The penalty suggested of 20-30% seems to be very high because clients should be treated on a case by case basis and HMRC would need evidence that they knew the returns had been altered. Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP) 

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By mabzden
12th Jan 2016 11:33

Careless Behaviour

rbusfield wrote:

The penalty suggested of 20-30% seems to be very high because ... HMRC would need evidence that they knew the returns had been altered.

Is this right?

The maximum penalty for "careless behaviour" is 30%, and careless behaviour doesn't involve any deliberate deception or action by the taxpayer.

The penalty can be mitigated by cooperation etc, but you could struggle to convince HMRC you've been cooperative if you've waited five years to come forward.

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By rbusfield
14th Jan 2016 11:33

penalties for ex Lunn clients

The new penalty rules apply from 2008 Under the "old" rules there were no set maximum limits. Under the "new" rules it is possible to suspend careless errors in certain circumstances and we have seen this applied in relation to CLAC clients. One of the problems for ex CLAC clients was that some of them did not have their business records to check whether their returns were correct or not. HMRC had obtained them from CLAC's office during the raids and were not releasing them because of the criminal trial. CLAC were refusing to release records and said they no longer had copies. CLAC were also sending regular letters to ex clients saying that their clients who they had retained had not been disclosing to HMRC so ex clients would be stupid to do so. Lunn was adamant he was going to win his fight against HMRC. He said that HMRC had been lying in court and had lost their case against CLAC for removing their tax agent status. CLAC were very persuasive and appeared to many clients to be very professional, eg asking for receipts, travel diaries. CLAC was a large firm with many clients, not everyone dealt with Lunn senior or junior and would be hard to believe that all of the staff, including those actually doing the work were fraudulent. Many ex CLAC clients worked in media and were not business or finance people. They paid advisers to sort out their taxes. We have heard of one ex client who has had an HMRC investigation and was actually due a refund of tax.

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By mabzden
12th Jan 2016 10:36

@ David

Hi David, what are the statutory assumptions?

There seems to be a trick of transferring your assets to your spouse as soon as you get a whiff of trouble (you can then claim legal aid too). Presumably there's not much the state can do about this?

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David Winch
By David Winch
12th Jan 2016 11:21

Statutory assumptions

mabzden wrote:

Hi David, what are the statutory assumptions?

There seems to be a trick of transferring your assets to your spouse as soon as you get a whiff of trouble (you can then claim legal aid too). Presumably there's not much the state can do about this?

The statutory assumptions are found in s10 PoCA 2002 (and, though it is not an 'assumption', s77 PoCA 2002 is relevant to a point you raise). The significance of a 'tainted gift' is that in effect the (convicted) defendant is treated as if he still owned the asset which he gifted, s9 PoCA 2002.

So, under s10,

1.  Any asset owned by the defendant after the date of his conviction is assumed to be a benefit of crime

2.  Any asset (including money) obtained by the defendant after the 'relevant day' is assumed to be a benefit of crime

3.  Any expenditure incurred by the defendant after the 'relevant day' is assumed to have been funded by benefits of crime.

Under s77, in a 'criminal lifestyle' case,

4.  Any gift made after the 'relevant day' is a tainted gift.

The 'relevant day' is normally the day 6 years BEFORE the day on which the defendant was charged of the offences of which he has been convicted.

The statutory assumptions under s10 can be rebutted by 'cogent evidence' satisfying the court 'on the balance of probabilities' that the assumption in respect of a particular item is incorrect or if the court is satisfied that there is a 'serious risk of injustice' if the assumption is made.

So typically the prosecution will, for example, treat credits to the bank accounts of the defendant since the 'relevant day' as assumed proceeds of crime until the contrary can be evidenced.

The 'tainted gift' provisions are designed to counter the dodgy geezer who gives everything away at the first whiff of trouble.

David

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By rumpelstiltskin
12th Jan 2016 12:23

reply to David

davidwinch wrote:

mabzden wrote:

Hi David, what are the statutory assumptions?

There seems to be a trick of transferring your assets to your spouse as soon as you get a whiff of trouble (you can then claim legal aid too). Presumably there's not much the state can do about this?

The statutory assumptions are found in s10 PoCA 2002 (and, though it is not an 'assumption', s77 PoCA 2002 is relevant to a point you raise). The significance of a 'tainted gift' is that in effect the (convicted) defendant is treated as if he still owned the asset which he gifted, s9 PoCA 2002.

So, under s10,

1.  Any asset owned by the defendant after the date of his conviction is assumed to be a benefit of crime

2.  Any asset (including money) obtained by the defendant after the 'relevant day' is assumed to be a benefit of crime

3.  Any expenditure incurred by the defendant after the 'relevant day' is assumed to have been funded by benefits of crime.

Under s77, in a 'criminal lifestyle' case,

4.  Any gift made after the 'relevant day' is a tainted gift.

The 'relevant day' is normally the day 6 years BEFORE the day on which the defendant was charged of the offences of which he has been convicted.

The statutory assumptions under s10 can be rebutted by 'cogent evidence' satisfying the court 'on the balance of probabilities' that the assumption in respect of a particular item is incorrect or if the court is satisfied that there is a 'serious risk of injustice' if the assumption is made.

So typically the prosecution will, for example, treat credits to the bank accounts of the defendant since the 'relevant day' as assumed proceeds of crime until the contrary can be evidenced.

The 'tainted gift' provisions are designed to counter the dodgy geezer who gives everything away at the first whiff of trouble.

David


What happens if that person is declared bankrupt in the six years before the sentence or is declared bankrupt after the sentence?
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By jamiea4f
12th Jan 2016 10:55

The Lunn case

One of my clients picked up from Lunn has finally settled his tax affairs from the Lunn years, he was "let off" substantial fines that he could have been charged (according to HMRC) because he complied with their request for disclosure.  Other clients I suspect won't be so "lucky".  Apparently the Lunn practice still has some clients who remain loyal to him.... And sorry but people convicted for (effectively) fraud are not "good characters", they're criminals.

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David Ross
By davidross
12th Jan 2016 11:02

Sorry to be a pedant

Are the numerous spelling errors in the above report picked up from Mr Lunn's own communications, or the responsibility of the reporter? Mr Lunn is obviously a bad lad - is he also illiterate?

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David Winch
By David Winch
12th Jan 2016 11:17

"Good character"

When a lawyer says "My client is a man of good character" he means (& is understood to mean) "My client has no previous convictions".

If the lawyer says "My client is of positive good character" he means that there will be evidence before the courts of some sort of 'good works' by his client such as charity work or helping others in some way or being a responsible citizen by, for example, running a business which has provided employment for others.

David

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By mabzden
12th Jan 2016 11:22

Thanks David

You're a superstar.

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By ipaythebills
12th Jan 2016 13:16

Lunn

Dear Christopher

 

I sincerely hope you enjoy every day during  your well deserved five years. Pity it wasn't longer.

 

Yours sincerely

On behalf of everyone in the accountancy profession and all of your victims.

 

P.S. Be careful in the showers!

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David Winch
By David Winch
12th Jan 2016 13:31

Bankruptcy & confiscation

We are getting into some wider issues of confiscation here!

When a court makes a confiscation order it will determine the defendant's 'benefit' for confiscation purposes (i.e. it specifies he has obtained a benefit of £ X).  If the defendant's 'available amount' (as defined by s9 PoCA 2002) is found by the court to be less than his 'benefit' then the confiscation order will also specify his 'available amount' (i.e. his 'available amount' is £ Y) & will normally schedule the assets it has identified & their values (totalling up to £ Y).  That schedule may include a figure for unspecified assets (sometimes referred to as 'hidden assets').

The confiscation order will then require the defendant to pay to the court (either immediately or by a specified date within 3 months) a sum of money which will be £ X or, if £ Y is less than £ X, £ Y.

If the defendant is made subject to bankruptcy before the confiscation order is made then (i) if the bankruptcy order was made at a time when the defendant's assets were not subject to a 'restraint order' under s41 PoCA 2002, his assets at the date of the bankruptcy will be subject to the bankruptcy and those assets cannot be included within the determination of £ Y, otherwise (ii) his assets at the date of the bankruptcy will be 'restrained' & therefore are available for confiscation & are included in £ Y.

Put more simply if by a 'restraint order' under s41 the PoCA proceedings 'baggy' the assets before the bankruptcy then the confiscation 'trumps' the bankruptcy.  Otherwise a bankruptcy order (before the confiscation order is made) 'trumps' the confiscation.

Turning to consider bankruptcy after confiscation -

A confiscation order once made can be amended if it proves to be the case that the assets which comprised £ Y do not, in the event, prove to realise the amount at which they were valued.  The actual amounts realised can be, in effect, written into the schedule and £ Y recalculated.  The defendant then has to pay the new figure, see s23 PoCA 2002.

Typically, for example, the assets may include the defendant's home which might be sold at less than the previous valuation.

I am not aware of any cases in which a bankruptcy has occurred after the making of the confiscation order but before it has been paid.  But a confiscation order does not (despite its name) confiscate the defendant's assets - it simply orders him to pay a specified amount of money into court immediately or by a specified date.  So I imagine he would still be obliged to make that payment (even though bankrupt).

However a court can, after a confiscation order has been made, appoint an enforcement receiver to take control of the defendant's assets & realise them in order to satisfy the confiscation order.  My guess is that the appointment of an enforcement receiver would 'trump' any subsequent bankruptcy - but I haven't checked that.

Also bear in mind that AT ANY TIME the Crown can return to court & seek to obtain a further order against the defendant requiring him to pay an additional sum based on £ X - £ Y, see s22 PoCA 2002.

Does that help?

David

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By rumpelstiltskin
13th Jan 2016 10:57

Yes thank you David

that fully answers my question.

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David Winch
By David Winch
12th Jan 2016 13:24

Release date

I anticipate Mr Lunn will be finally released sometime in mid 2018 when he has served half of his sentence.

David

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By petersaxton
12th Jan 2016 20:34

Not very long

davidwinch wrote:

I anticipate Mr Lunn will be finally released sometime in mid 2018 when he has served half of his sentence.

David

Considering the problems he has caused and the benefit he obtained.

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By AndrewV12
13th Jan 2016 09:41

It was all to good to be true

Some people cannot gauge and assess risk, this guy was well over the edge, worst of all he was  probably unaware he was well over the edge at the pointy of no return. 

 

Lunn’s trouble began when the tax authority discovered his clients had higher than average refund claims

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By teek1
13th Jan 2016 09:59

2 years in jail, 6 months out on tag. not too bad then.

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David Winch
By David Winch
13th Jan 2016 11:16

Tag

teek1 wrote:

2 years in jail, 6 months out on tag. not too bad then.

Ordinarily a person sentenced to more than 4 years will be deemed unsuitable for early release on Home Detention Curfew (a 'tag').  Having said that if nearer the time Mr Lunn presents 'exceptional circumstances' (e.g. very poor health) it is possible he could get out on a tag.

It is equally possible of course that he could find himself in prison for longer than I have indicated because he may be subject to a default sentence re confiscation.

David

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By chatman
13th Jan 2016 10:18

British gaols are brutal. I don't envy him.

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By teek1
17th Aug 2018 13:06

yes

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By chatman
14th Jan 2016 09:44

Where I "got that from"

teek1 wrote:

Im not sure where you got that from but British jails are like playschool, we are not in south america

Howard League for PenalReform

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By teek1
14th Jan 2016 09:58

A high percentage of criminals end up back in jail because its 'easy time', boredom and missing the family is the biggest problem.

Even when locked up in a 23 hour lock up jail, you got television,playstastion, radio,magazines plenty of good treats.

 The odd 'wrong un' might get a pasting in the shower but like i said, its not like south america!!!

 

 

 

 

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By teek1
14th Jan 2016 10:12

A high percentage of

2 years, 'baby Bird'. he'll feel better when rubbing shoulders with guys doing 20 year stints.

 

 

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By Yoshik
13th Jan 2016 11:27

Lunn

The issue with Lunn be imprisoned, which of course is the correct procedure, is that he will mix with other prisoners in category C and then category D (open prison) where there is a preponderance of white colour criminals as well as those high level fraudsters etc who are reaching the point of release.

By mixing with these he will form a new batch of friends/acquaintances who will contact him on his release and he will then assist them with his accounting and taxation knowledge. They in turn will benefit and again HMRC and us are the losers.

It is like the magic rounabout, but nobody ever jumps off. Lunn will have a bright future. I am sure he will be banned from being a co.director but that will have little or no effect.

Who is the winner? Lunn despite the effect of POCA.

 

 

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By mabzden
13th Jan 2016 12:40

The Shawshank Redemption

Maybe he'll become like the Andy character in "The Shawshank Redemption". HMRC should keep an eye out for prison guards putting in dodgy tax returns with inflated accountancy fees.

On a serious note, I suspect the bluster described in the article above is now going to come back to haunt Mr Lunn. I'm sure the HMRC officers who've received abuse over the last few years have been waiting patiently for this day, and will now be enthusiastically exploring all their options regarding POCA - and anything else they can think of.

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By petersaxton
13th Jan 2016 11:53

Any more for the sympathy vote?

So far we have one person who has sympathy for Lunn. Any more?

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
13th Jan 2016 14:11

No sympathy from me

petersaxton wrote:

So far we have one person who has sympathy for Lunn. Any more?

He knew what he was doing and had been doing it for a long time.

I fear the vast majority of honest agents will be inconvenienced in the future, when HMRC put measures in place to clamp down on the likes of Lunn and the handful of others.

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By chatman
13th Jan 2016 14:39

Sympathy? Me?

petersaxton wrote:

So far we have one person who has sympathy for Lunn. Any more?

LOL. Was that me? All I said was I didn't envy him. 

I had a client who left me for Lunn and then came back to me for the remedial disclosure work, so I made money out of it and the whingeing git never complained about the amount of tax he was paying again, so Lunn did me a favour.

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By petersaxton
13th Jan 2016 14:55

You don't envy him

chatman wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

So far we have one person who has sympathy for Lunn. Any more?

LOL. Was that me? All I said was I didn't envy him. 

I had a client who left me for Lunn and then came back to me for the remedial disclosure work, so I made money out of it and the whingeing git never complained about the amount of tax he was paying again, so Lunn did me a favour.

Is what you said. Sorry, that doesn't mean you have sympathy for him.

My view is that prisons seem to be too easy for prisoners. For the people sent there they don't usually seem much of a deterrent - more a rest and recuperation before continuing their life of crime.

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David Ross
By davidross
13th Jan 2016 12:15

No sympathy

.... but I have known a few jailbirds (about 16, all of them white collar) and I don't think they have a very good life when they get out. It will not be 'business as usual' for Mr Lunn, his life will be permanently blighted.

If he were a dodgy builder, he would probably get back to normal quite easily.

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By mabzden
13th Jan 2016 12:50

Elderly gentleman

I read in another story he's 70 years old (I imagine this was a factor in his sentencing).

So I doubt he has plans for when he's released.

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By chatman
13th Jan 2016 15:21

@Peter - Honest mistake on issue of litle consequence. No apology required but thank you anyway.

There is a lot of bullying and sexual abuse in prisons.Sounds like a nightmare to me.They are often locked in their cells for long periods of time too. I probably have a bit of sympathy with anyone who goes to prison for anything other than murder, assault or anything else involving cruelty, and if I was a better person I would probably have some sympathy for them too.

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By petersaxton
14th Jan 2016 06:29

Burglars

chatman wrote:

@Peter - Honest mistake on issue of litle consequence. No apology required but thank you anyway.

There is a lot of bullying and sexual abuse in prisons.Sounds like a nightmare to me.They are often locked in their cells for long periods of time too. I probably have a bit of sympathy with anyone who goes to prison for anything other than murder, assault or anything else involving cruelty, and if I was a better person I would probably have some sympathy for them too.

So burglars should be free to trash people's homes and take their possessions?

If not, how would you stop them.

I think I am a better person precisely because I have some good ideas about how to stop people messing up other people's lives for no good reason.

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By chatman
14th Jan 2016 08:20

Prison

petersaxton wrote:

chatman wrote:

@Peter - Honest mistake on issue of litle consequence. No apology required but thank you anyway.

There is a lot of bullying and sexual abuse in prisons.Sounds like a nightmare to me.They are often locked in their cells for long periods of time too. I probably have a bit of sympathy with anyone who goes to prison for anything other than murder, assault or anything else involving cruelty, and if I was a better person I would probably have some sympathy for them too.

So burglars should be free to trash people's homes and take their possessions?

If not, how would you stop them.

I think I am a better person precisely because I have some good ideas about how to stop people messing up other people's lives for no good reason.

Yeah, I suppose there are some levels of burglary that should carry a prison sentence, but there are other methods of rehabilitation, such as treatment for drug addiction. I would also support incarceration more if the physical and sexual abuse were not tolerated by the authorities.

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By petersaxton
14th Jan 2016 09:29

Rehabilitation

chatman wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

chatman wrote:

@Peter - Honest mistake on issue of litle consequence. No apology required but thank you anyway.

There is a lot of bullying and sexual abuse in prisons.Sounds like a nightmare to me.They are often locked in their cells for long periods of time too. I probably have a bit of sympathy with anyone who goes to prison for anything other than murder, assault or anything else involving cruelty, and if I was a better person I would probably have some sympathy for them too.

So burglars should be free to trash people's homes and take their possessions?

If not, how would you stop them.

I think I am a better person precisely because I have some good ideas about how to stop people messing up other people's lives for no good reason.

Yeah, I suppose there are some levels of burglary that should carry a prison sentence, but there are other methods of rehabilitation, such as treatment for drug addiction. I would also support incarceration more if the physical and sexual abuse were not tolerated by the authorities.

Some people will never be rehabilitated.

There is treatment for drug addiction. That's a completely different matter to punishment for committing crime.

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By chatman
14th Jan 2016 09:46

Why punish?

petersaxton wrote:

There is treatment for drug addiction. That's a completely different matter to punishment for committing crime.

Surely the reason for the punishment is to stop them committing the crime again. If the treatment stops them committing crime, then why punish them? The criminal record will be some punishment.

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By petersaxton
14th Jan 2016 09:52

Separate

chatman wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

There is treatment for drug addiction. That's a completely different matter to punishment for committing crime.

Surely the reason for the punishment is to stop them committing the crime again. If the treatment stops them committing crime, then why punish them? The criminal record will be some punishment.

People can get drug treatment without committing crimes so why shouldn't they be punished for committing crime?

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By chatman
14th Jan 2016 11:09

Why punish if there is another deterrent?

petersaxton wrote:
People can get drug treatment without committing crimes so why shouldn't they be punished for committing crime?

Why punish if there is another deterrent? It can be difficult for people to get treatment for addiction.

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By petersaxton
14th Jan 2016 15:28

Deterrent

chatman wrote:

petersaxton wrote:
People can get drug treatment without committing crimes so why shouldn't they be punished for committing crime?

Why punish if there is another deterrent? It can be difficult for people to get treatment for addiction.

What is the other deterrent?

I think the last thing we want to do is to encourage people to commit crimes so they can get treatment that they wouldn't get otherwise.

I still go with my idea of giving all drug addicts treatment - and at the same time as ensuring they don't commit crimes - per my comment of 09.56.

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David Winch
By David Winch
13th Jan 2016 15:25

Loss of self-determination

I wouldn't fancy life as a prisoner.  On the 'outside' I get to choose (within limits) how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, where I live & who shares my bedroom.  I also have an opportunity to earn a living wage (at least).

None of those would be true if I were a prisoner.

It is the loss of self-determination which would grieve me if I were 'inside'.

@chatman I can't work out who petersaxton is referring to either - possibly AndrewV12?

David

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By petersaxton
14th Jan 2016 06:29

chatman

davidwinch wrote:

I wouldn't fancy life as a prisoner.  On the 'outside' I get to choose (within limits) how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, where I live & who shares my bedroom.  I also have an opportunity to earn a living wage (at least).

None of those would be true if I were a prisoner.

It is the loss of self-determination which would grieve me if I were 'inside'.

@chatman I can't work out who petersaxton is referring to either - possibly AndrewV12?

David

It was chatman but I was wrong.

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By petersaxton
14th Jan 2016 06:34

Criminals

davidwinch wrote:

I wouldn't fancy life as a prisoner.  On the 'outside' I get to choose (within limits) how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, where I live & who shares my bedroom.  I also have an opportunity to earn a living wage (at least).

None of those would be true if I were a prisoner.

It is the loss of self-determination which would grieve me if I were 'inside'.

@chatman I can't work out who petersaxton is referring to either - possibly AndrewV12?

David

But you have a good life to live outside and you have principles. The only major downside is that you have to work hard for your income

Many criminals see their life as obtaining income through crime and the only major downside is to spend a little time in cells and eventually serving a jail sentence for a few months or so. Then they will be back to their life of crime.

As Peter Hitchens said: "It's more difficult to get into prison than it is to get into University."

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By petersaxton
14th Jan 2016 09:56

Drug treatment

I'm all in favour of keeping drug addicts in secure locations and given medical help to stop their drug addiction. When they appear to have made a complete recovery they can be let back into society.

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By mabzden
14th Jan 2016 20:19

Agreed on most points

But those who haven't yet stepped forward (about 25% of Lunn's clients according to reports) seem to be an unrepentant group who've been ignoring HMRC's letters for the last five or six years. They're either going to be forced to correct their accounts by HMRC determinations, or may do so voluntarily but only because their accountant has been driven past their house in the back of a Black Mariah.

I for one will consider it unfair if HMRC gives that group the same deals regarding penalties as someone who sorted this out in 2010 or 2011.

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By Yoshik
15th Jan 2016 12:29

Lunn

As someone who regularly visits prisons (open and closed) on behalf of a Christian charity, and is able to visit prisoners in cells, I think it would be helpful if I were to correct the thoughts of some on here who see prison as a 'soft option'. 

Almost all prisons are understaffed and as such the cancellation of library time, association, education,work and visiting time is frequently cancelled. Now some may take a view that these are prisoners and so that is OK so to speak, but the cancellation of visiting time is a crucial factor in creating anger within a prisoner. Education is sorely needed as the lack of same is what in some prisoners creates the desire to commit crime.

It matters not what the crime of a prisoner is no good will come from him/her not seeing his family. The circumstances of visits are of course tightly controlled and this means additional staff are needed if the prisoner needs supervision (child abuser, protection from other prisoners etc.), and this supervision means taking officers off of cell blocks and thus the locking up of prisoners. No good will come from a prisoner being locked up for 20 hours plus as this creates anger. Officers need to open doors with at least 2 present if not 3 to protect themselves. Prisoners are becoming mentally unsound due to the excessive lock up time and this is not the target of being in prison. Prison is not for punishment, it is for rehabilitation. The punishment concept that so many seem to have in mind is wrong. Punish and you will not help the prisoner. The people being punished are his/her family who lack the presence of the prisoner. Prison food is very poor and a matter of concern to prison visitors and staff.

As for all the talk of TV's etc these are privilges. A TV has to be earnt and paid for weekly. If you desire an Xbox, radio etc then you must have the funds in your prison account to pay for this but you need to be in prison for a number of months before you can have the right to these. The items can only stay with you if you maintain good behaviour. 

Lunn as a man of senior age will be offered a cell by himself and in a wing that has people of similar age, but he can choose to be on a main wing. He has no special priviliges outside of that, save that he does not need to work. He has no education facilities.

As for transfer to open prison that is a very difficult issue. He will not qualify for immediate transfer as his sentence does not permit that. At the point of time he is able to be transferred he will need to fight very hard for the transfer. NOMS which is the body that deals with transfers is overworked and also is trying to put a quart into a pint pot. He could be in a Cat C for the whole time.

He will qualify for town visits and home visits after a qualifying period but these are a privilige and not a right.

In terms of Lunn he will, if he keeps himself 'clean', find he will be accepted by others and as my previous post has stated they will seek to pick his brains for their benefit. He may well be asked by officers to be the father of a wing so that the illterate and those who need help will come to him and that is 50% of the population.

Will Lunn benefit from prison? That depends on who he mixes with. Will others benefit - almost certainly.

If he falls ill he will get treatment but if he needs to visit hospital he will do so in cuffs, a salutory experience I suggest.

Should he be punished?- that is not the objective. With a POCA he will be taught that recompense is a costly form of justice. POCA's do work and if he fails to cooperate then the sentence can be increased.

I have no sympathy for Lunn but with the growing difficulties of the number of officers per prisoner ratio decreasing he will have plenty of time to cogitate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By petersaxton
15th Jan 2016 13:43

My view

If prisons were harsher and with less "luxuries" then it would be possible to reduce the sentences and there would be less understaffing. I disagree that prison should be solely about rehabilitation. It would be great if prisoners were rehabilitated - which is largely down to the prisoners' attitudes - but there should also be punishment and protection of the law abiding population. Not enough thought is given to the victims of crime.

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By rumpelstiltskin
15th Jan 2016 15:59

reply to Peter

petersaxton wrote:

If prisons were harsher and with less "luxuries" then it would be possible to reduce the sentences and there would be less understaffing. I disagree that prison should be solely about rehabilitation. It would be great if prisoners were rehabilitated - which is largely down to the prisoners' attitudes - but there should also be punishment and protection of the law abiding population. Not enough thought is given to the victims of crime.


If stuck in your cell 20 hours a day is not enough punishment then I don't know what is. A friend of mine spent two months of his sentence doing this followed by a curfew that meant he couldn't avoid bankruptcy because he couldn't deal with anything. One visit per week that had to be applied for and if he moved out of the seat or didn't sit in same position, while visit was on, then the visit was over and he had to go back to his cell. For a lot of people, who return to society, all this does is put more pressure on the benefits system. These people should be entitled, if they so wish, to return to normal working life after their sentence. A chance should be given for prisoners to improve their employment possibilities whilst locked up.
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By Yoshik
15th Jan 2016 15:55

My View

Sorry but I am in absolute disagreement with you.

You use the word 'luxuries'. There are no such things as that in prison. The xBox for example has to be merited and that means good behaviour and to keep the item continued good behaviour. It is carrot and donkey and this means that the life of officers is easier as good behaviour is encouraged. An xBox is a prized possession.

Rehabilitation is not as you suggest largely down to prisoners. The prisoner needs support and indeed teaching in this area, it is not just about a state of mind. There must be active encouragement and 'training'. This is not present as it should be due to lack of staff and also the inabaility to screen outside helpers quickly enough to allow them to run support programmes. There are many good organisations who will run courses to assist (both christian and non-christian) but each person must have security clearance and with the lack of prison staff that cannot happen at an acceptable speed.

You have taken away a prisoners freedom by imprisoning him. In most cases that is a punishment. What other punishment do you want? Stocks and a rack? Look at Gauntanamo Bay and how prisoners were treated. Is that humane? Where does punishment stop?

Protection is offered by the incarceration of a person.

Victims of crime is of course valid but not to be confused with imprisonment.

 

 

 

 

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By rumpelstiltskin
15th Jan 2016 16:01

Well said Yoshik

Yoshik wrote:

Sorry but I am in absolute disagreement with you.

You use the word 'luxuries'. There are no such things as that in prison. The xBox for example has to be merited and that means good behaviour and to keep the item continued good behaviour. It is carrot and donkey and this means that the life of officers is easier as good behaviour is encouraged. An xBox is a prized possession.

Rehabilitation is not as you suggest largely down to prisoners. The prisoner needs support and indeed teaching in this area, it is not just about a state of mind. There must be active encouragement and 'training'. This is not present as it should be due to lack of staff and also the inabaility to screen outside helpers quickly enough to allow them to run support programmes. There are many good organisations who will run courses to assist (both christian and non-christian) but each person must have security clearance and with the lack of prison staff that cannot happen at an acceptable speed.

You have taken away a prisoners freedom by imprisoning him. In most cases that is a punishment. What other punishment do you want? Stocks and a rack? Look at Gauntanamo Bay and how prisoners were treated. Is that humane? Where does punishment stop?

Protection is offered by the incarceration of a person.

Victims of crime is of course valid but not to be confused with imprisonment.
It is as though the words came from my own mouth.

 

 

 

 

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