London: Magistrates work through the night to deal with looters and rioters

Magistrates in London are ploughing through hearings of people accused of looting and being involved in recent riots.

A steady stream of defendants – including a man who works in a primary school and ranging from teenagers to people in their 40s – are now appearing in court.

There are so many cases to be heard Highbury Corner Magistrates Court has been workintg through the night in a bid to deal with defendents.

And, while there are a large number of unemployed youths appearing in court there are also professionals accused of partaking in violence and looting.

Alexis Bailey, 31, from Wye Street in Battersea, south London, who was arrested in Richer Sounds in Southend Road, Croydon, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal.

The 31-year-old, who, the court heard, works full-time in a primary school in Stockwell and lives with his parents, was given bail but must adhere to a curfew.

His case, along with the majority of others, was committed to Wood Green Crown Court for sentencing.

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Chair of magistrates Melvyn Marks told the court many of the cases had aggravating features, occurring “in the middle of a very violent riot”, which meant magistrates had insufficient sentencing powers.

“Because of the nature of this offence and because of the circumstances, we have taken the view that there are too many aggravating features on this case and our powers of punishment are not enough.”