Twitter and the UK press are losing it over a model who was given a lenient sentence in court for attempting to steal almost £1,000 of luxury goods from Harrods – despite her punishment being nothing out of the ordinary.
News reports and commentators have suggested that either the good looks or social class of 28-year-old Natalia Sikorska led to her “soft” punishment, which involved a small fine and no jail time.
But legal sources have suggested to Business Insider that their outrage is misplaced.
Natalia Sikorska, 28, pleaded guilty to attempted theft in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court. She reportedly took a high-end jacket, handbag, a pair of shoes and a silver knife worth a total of £959.59.
Instead of being heavily fined or sent to prison Sikorska was asked to cover her own costs, which came to £105, and otherwise went unpunished.
In court, according to The Times, magistrate Grant McCrostie explained his decision by telling Sikorska that she got a light punishment because she pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and has a “potential bright future”.
In response, The Sun, Britain’s biggest tabloid, dubbed her “TOO HOT TO ROT”.
The Times featured her on its front page with the caption”designer justice.”Its report said the case could revive “accusations that the criminal justice system favoured those from the middle and upper classes.”
— The Times of London (@thetimes) August 3, 2017
The Daily Express quoted a UKIP MEP who called her sentence proof of “our crazy legal system,” alongside an anonymous social media user who said she was let off for being “young and beautiful.” The Daily Mail said the case triggered “a row over soft justice.”
But the punishment was within the range suggested by the Sentencing Council, which says a discharge is the minimum punishment, and the maximum is several years in prison.
A spokesman for the British judiciary told Business Insider that Sikorska’s sentence was “not unusual,” considering the model’s “mitigating factors,” such as her jobs and ongoing education.
The spokesman added that there have been other cases in the UK in which young people were given more lenient sentences.