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Page last updated at 07:45 GMT, Thursday, 18 August 2011 08:45 UK

Former DPP's 'moral panic' warning

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The former Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales, Lord Macdonald, has called for new guidelines to be issued for sentencing those involved in the recent violence and looting.

Interviewed by Today presenter Sarah Montague, he warned there was a risk of a "collective loss of proportion" and said it was important that courts maintain their objectivity and do not get swept up in any moral panic that might be elsewhere in society.

Lord Macdonald added that punishments had to be consistent. "It would be a very good idea if the Sentencing Council could meet and issue some guidelines for sentencing in this area.

"The whole point of guidelines is to achieve consistency and fairness and we shouldn't be finding ourselves in a situation where people are receiving wildly different sentences for offences that on the facts seem to be relatively similar. I mean that just isn't justice."


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