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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 April, 2005, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Asbo breach sentence 'derisory'
Karl Roberts
Karl Roberts was sent to jail for 24 hours for breaching the Asbo
A one-day jail sentence for a man who breached an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) has been criticised as derisory.

Karl Roberts, 19, was made the subject of the order after a court heard he was abusive to villagers in Great Cornard, Suffolk, and caused a nuisance.

Magistrates jailed him for 24 hours last week for breaching the order.

Parish council vice-chairman Humphrey Todd said the "derisory" sentence undermined efforts to combat anti-social behaviour in the village.

When magistrates impose this kind of derisory sentence I think it lets people down and sends out the wrong message
Great Cornard Parish Council vice-chairman Humphrey Todd

Sudbury magistrates sent him to prison for 24 hours after he admitted staying at his girlfriend's house in Great Cornard.

In court Roberts' lawyer argued that the breach was minor, explaining that he had wanted to see his girlfriend and their 23-month-old child.

Magistrates at Bury St Edmunds issued the three-year Asbo last month after hearing Roberts had been verbally abusive and caused a nuisance by shouting and arguing with his girlfriend and playing loud music.

Babergh District Council posted 500 leaflets - featuring pictures of Roberts and outlining the terms of the Asbo - to homes in the village encouraging people to report Roberts if he broke the terms of the Asbo.

Mr Todd said Roberts' sentence should have been a short sharp shock - something a bit more than 24 hours in prison.

'Wrong message'

"This isn't the worst parish in Britain for anti-social behaviour by any means, but we have a problem - and the trend was the wrong way.

"We went to see the police divisional commander last summer and asked what we could do and he said 'back these Asbos'.

"People were told they would work and if they were breached people would be punished. And things have been getting better.

"But when magistrates impose this kind of derisory sentence I think it lets people down and sends out the wrong message."

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