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Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Wednesday, 17 August 2011 10:29 UK

QC warns of riot 'over-reaction'

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Civil rights and penal reform groups have raised concerns that some of the sentences handed down in relation to the riots are too harsh, after two men in their early twenties were jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite riots.

Paul Mendelle QC, the former chair of the Criminal Bar Association, told Justin Webb that stiff sentences do not work as a deterrent.

"People don't commit crimes thinking about the sentence. That's the sad, practical reality," he said.

"A great many crimes committed in the heat of the moment: crimes of violence, often crimes of acquisition. People are driven to commit them for all manner of reasons."


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