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Penalties in England

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  6. VII. Study Text С and use it as a model for a talk between an Englishman and a Russian who is on his first visit to England.

TASK 4. Read the text and examine the chart.

In England there are no minimum sentences, except for murder, which carries a penalty of life imprisonment. There are maximum sentences for other crimes. Crimes are first heard by a magistrate who can either pass sentence, or refer the crime to a Crown Court with a judge and jury. Here are maximum sentences for some crimes. Sentences can be reduced for good behaviour, often by one-third or more. "Life sentences" are rarely more than 14 years, and it would be possible to release prisoners after 7 years.


Crime Magistrates' Court Crown Court
Fine Prison Fine Prison
Burglary £1000 6 months unlimited 14 years
Grievous bodily harm £1000 6 months unlimited 5 years
Possession of firearm £1000 6 months unlimited 5 years
Possession of cannabis £500 3 months unlimited 5 years
Common assault £200 2 months
"Going equipped for stealing" £1000 6 months unlimited 3 years
Murder life imprisonment

TASK 5. These are the general types of punishment in England Give a Russian equivalent for each of them. Which of these punishments exist in your country? Discuss this in your group.


Suspended sentences', the offender does not go to prison unless he or she commits another offence;

Probation: normal life at home, but under supervision;

Youth custody in special centres for young adults; Short disciplinary training in a detention centre; Community service: decorating old people's houses, etc.; Compensation: paying, or working for, one's victim; Fines: the punishment in 80 per cent of cases; Disqualification from driving; Fixed penalty fines: especially for parking offences.

TASK 6 Work in pairs and discuss the following.

1. Which punishment do you think is appropriate for each of the following crimes?

a) murder of a policeman;

b) vandalizing a'telephone box;

c) drinking and driving, without causing an accident;

d) robbing a supermarket with a gun;

e) stealing goods from a shop ("shop-lifting");

f) parking a car illegally.

2. Match these actual sentences from British courts with the crimes in question 1.

a) five to ten years in prison;

b) a small fixed penalty fine;

c) life imprisonmfint; (^

d) a £400 finejjEb

e) a £200 fine amrclisqualification from driving;

f) 100 hours of community service. \K

3. Turn to the list of crimes (see "the survey of crimes" Task 6). Try to find the proper penalties for those crimes. Discuss which of you is the harsher

R judge?

TASK 7. Work in groups and find six arguments for and against the death penalty. In the discussion, use the following forms of agreement and disagreement:

- Exactly!

- That's it!

- By no means! -Nothing of the kind!

- Just so!

- You don't say so!

- You bet!

• I quite agree!

• That's right!

• Absolutely!

I don't think it's quite right... I disagree. Absolutely wrong! Rubbish!

TASK 8. Newspaper discussion

a) Read this article and find synonyms for the following expressions from the text.

- burst into tears;

- respectable;

- shop-lifting;

- youngster;

,. л< PQt4 £

- fhghf -

b) Tell this story as if you were:

- Samantha;

- store detective;

- police officer.

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