Saturday, August 26, 2006

Update from Manchester

The Manchester Evening News augments yesterday's brief note about the postponement of Norman Buckley's sentencing. The judge apparently told the police and the Manchester Central Library to make a greater effort to both discover how many books Buckley actually stole, and also to recover those which he sold.

Prosecutor Simon Barratt told the court yesterday "The library's system is such that they don't know how many books he has stolen. There were 400 books recovered from his house and 55 books outstanding. No books have been recovered from people he sold them to. He indicated he sold 300 books in total, some through private sales. Neither the library not the police can verify that. The police say their manpower does not allow them to look for the last 53 items."

Judge Clement Goldstone "said it was impossible to sentence Buckley until he knew the financial loss to the city of Manchester through the theft of its library's historic books," according to the Evening News. "Resources or no resources, there is going to have to be a move to help the court in this regard," said the judge. "Details of the buyers must be accessible by looking back through the defendant's internet sales account. It may be time-consuming, but I believe it can be achieved and it should be achieved."

Goldstone said he will try again to sentence Buckley on October 25, pending psychiatric tests (Buckley's defense claims the librarian was acting obsessively after a breakup).

Good for the judge, and shame on both the library and the police department for not giving this case the attention it deserves. Obviously both are strapped for cash and time, but even tacitly permitting weasels like Buckley to get off easily sends entirely the wrong message.