When Miss Emma West appeared at Croydon Magistrates’ Court after her incarceration in HMP Bronzefield, she was charged with two racially aggravated public order offences, one with intent to cause fear or provocation of violence. The second charge comes after a passenger, one Ena-May Eubanks, said she hit her left shoulder with a “closed fist”.
Magistrate Ian Hornby granted Miss West bail on the condition that she does not travel on a tram within Croydon and Sutton, lives and sleeps at her home address and does not comment on the case.
Miss West will next appear at Croydon Crown Court on 17th February.
British Gazette comment: Miss West has already served the equivalent of 70 days in prison sentence – 35 days with automatic 50% remission. In a civilised tolerant country, this would be considered excessive punishment were Miss West to be found guilty of the two offences with which she is charged. But as we all know, this country practises a very selective form of tolerance.
The British Gazette has previously stated that it regards Miss West’s “rant on the tram” as offensive – the Editor of this organ has worked in the engineering and construction industry and has been the first hand recipient of far worse and the thought of calling the police never entred his head. The British Gazette therefore does not think Miss West’s rant worthy of arrest and prosecution.
It is not now clear where the intention to have the case heard at the Crown Court originates. Would the magistrates be prepared to hear the case? Or is it Miss West’s determination to be tried by her peers – she is presumably pleading not guilty? If so, it shows courage.
Her lawyer will have told her that were she have been able to have the case be heard there and then and she had pleaded guilty at the worst she would have been freed from prison within a week. This is because the maximum sentence upon summary conviction (the magistrates) is six months and were Miss West to plead guilty there is a third discount. Thus were the magistrates “to throw the book at her” this should have resulted in a maximum sentence of 4 months (120 days). Whilst this would mean release after 60 days, prisoners are often freed on an electronic tag after serving a quarter of the sentence. Thus, as soon as Miss West had been processed back at HMP Bronzefield as a convicted prisoner, the prison authorities would have arranged for her to be so released as she has already served more than a quarter of a 4 month sentence.
Furthermore, we do not know what has happened to Miss West’s children. Presumably, this will have been a strong motivating factor for Miss West seeking bail as she will presumably be desperate to re-establish contact with them. Again, we would draw the reader’s attention to the fact that remand prisoners have more privileges than convicted prisoners. Had Miss West not have applied for bail, doubtless she would have been remanded back to HMP Bronzefield. This would have meant her total incarceration would have amounted to 49 days, equivalent to 100 days in prison. If she is found guilty at the Crown Court, the British Gazette would not be surprised to see Miss West returned to HMP Bronzefiled. Of course such should not happen, but as we say, tolerance is selectively practised today.