French authorities have shown how to sentence offenders

Morning View
Morning View

While the Euro 2016 championship in France is bringing much of the joy that it was expected to bring, there have been regrettable outbreaks of violence.

Most of the trouble has related to fans of Russia and England, but there have been supporters of other nations who have been caught up in the trouble.

One refreshing aspect to the difficulties is the way that the French authorities have dealt swiftly with it.

Six England fans have been jailed for their part in the violence in Marseilles.

It is a pity that no Russian trouble-makers have been jailed.

But Brice Robin, chief Marseilles prosecutor, told reporters that no Russian fans had been arrested in connection with the violence.

Mr Robin said that officials had been unable to stop the Russian thugs, 150 of whom he said had been involved in trouble, because they had arrived in the city by train.

The English men have been imprisoned for between one and three months and banned from France for two years.

This is how justice should operate.

If you can be jailed for throwing a bottle at police in France, what sort of sentence do extreme violent rioters in places such as the Ardoyne deserve?

And if you can be banned from France for throwing such a bottle, what sort of entry ban do Islamic terrorists or hate preachers or mercenaries deserve?

The truth is that we are weak in Britain when it comes to sentencing for violent or serious offences.

Look at the shamefully inadequate three-and-a-half-year jail sentence that was given to the drunken, drug-fuelled, extreme reckless thug driver David Lee Stewart who killed the student Enda Dolan, 18, on Belfast’s Malone Road.

Will Stormont, however, make the case for the increase in prison places and the increased cost that Northern Ireland needs to accommodate appropriate penalties for offenders?