Suspending a Jail Sentence Because the Defendant Is (Supposedly) Devoutly Religious

The Times (London) reports:

The Judicial Complaints Office is to look into a complaint by the National Secular Society that [Cherie] Blair, [the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is a part-time judge] suspended a six-month jail sentence passed on Shamso Miah on the ground that he was devout.

Miah was convicted at the Inner London Crown Court last month of assault after he broke a stranger’s jaw [over an argument about who was first in line at a bank]….

Mrs Blair said that violence on the streets had to be taken seriously but added: “I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before. You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.”

He was ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and pay £200 in costs.

Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.

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