Colchester MP writes to justice secretary over burglars’ sentences

Colchester MP Will Quince

Colchester MP Will Quince - Credit: Su Anderson

Colchester MP Will Quince says he is ‘gobsmacked’ two men convicted of a ‘smash and grab’ raid of a Colchester jewellers escaped a jail term despite numerous previous convictions.

Damage at the Ernest Jones shop in Colchester after the raid. Photo: Archant

Damage at the Ernest Jones shop in Colchester after the raid. Photo: Archant

Raymond Tauchert, 55, of Dedham Road, Boxted, and Carlton Ho-Ten-Pow, 36, of Mario Way, Colchester, pleaded guilty to the burglary of Ernest Jones in Culver Square on October 20 last year.

Both men were sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and given a 12 month drug rehabilitation requirement despite racking up convictions for more than 70 offences between them.

Mr Quince has questioned whether the sentence reflects the seriousness of the offence and has written to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Justice, asking the case is looked into again. “I am gobsmacked such a lenient sentence was issued by the judge,” he said.

“I can see Colchester residents are pretty cross to whom this also appears to be a lenient sentence.

Damage at the Ernest Jones shop in Colchester after the raid. Photo: Archant

Damage at the Ernest Jones shop in Colchester after the raid. Photo: Archant

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“I have asked her (Liz Truss) to look into it on the basis of the offence itself and the number of previous convictions.

“Over £7,000 of rings are still to be recovered too.

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“It flies in the face of members of the public who went to collect evidence, to the police officers who investigated and who made the arrests and to costs of the court.

“I don’t think it gives the public much faith in the judicial system.”

At the time of sentencing Tauchert had 17 previous convictions for 51 offences and had been on licence from prison at the time of the offence.

Ho-Ten-Pow had five previous convictions for 21 offences and was the subject of a community order for a burglary offence.

Recorder Richard Sutton QC outlined to Ipswich Crown Court how he was able to suspend prison sentences for Raymond Tauchert and Carlton Ho-Ten-Pow.

To suspend a prison term the sentence of imprisonment must be no more than two years. Lawyers and the judge agreed the burglary fell into the more serious category as tools were used to carry it out.

It meant the starting point for sentencing was two years.

Although aggravated by the men’s criminal records, and the fact they went prepared to commit a crime, the lawyers also argued the burglary was not on the scale of, for example, the Hatton Garden raid in London and would therefore not reach the maximum five-year term.

The Recorder began with a starting point of three years and six months, which even given the maximum one-third reduction applied for a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity would not get them “beneath the magic figure of two years”.

He then considered time spent on remand, between their arrest and Wednesday’s hearing, and reduced the sentence to three years, before applying the guilty plea credit to reach two years.

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