A Rough Day for Justice

January 15, 2009 4:44 PM

It was reported yesterday that a woman who was robbed and beaten by a gang of thugs had her case thrown out of court because she was "honest, utterly decent and brave."


Further, The Sun reports that a man who has committed assault with a baseball bat has been let off with a reduced sentence (of seven and a half months) because he was fat.


I am no lawyer, but both these cases seem to go against the very raison d'etre of our legal system. In both these cases, innocent members of the public were beaten up (and in Denise Dawson's case also robbed) and yet the judicial system has totally let them down - meting out reduced punishment when there was clearly a violent crime committed or even refusing to countenance punishment at all. 


There seem to be two salient issues here.


Firstly, the fact that honest and law abiding taxpayers are repeatedly let down and ill served by the legal system they pay handsomely to maintain. When there is clear evidence, how can a judge, in all good conscience, disregard or play down that evidence? There is a clear show of bias here, too. The onus has been placed so much on the softly-softly approach to prosecuting criminals that many judges seem to have lost sight of the fact these people are accused or even convicted of serious crimes. Peter Owens, who had his sentence reduced due to health concerns about his weight, was convicted of assault on two innocent members of the public, and yet received a reduced sentence. He wasn't too fat to beat someone up with a baseball bat, so he's not too fat to go to jail.


Secondly, there is no deterrent to criminally minded individuals if this sort of behaviour continues in our courts. When it comes to fighting crime: the police have done their bit by catching the criminals, the victims have done their bit by testifying (often a very distressing experience), so where are the judges? These cases set a dangerous precedent.


In the words of Denise Dawson, "What more can I do? I positively indentified someone from a video ID parade and was prepared to risk everything going to court, but it's still not enough." What indeed?


It is enough, Denise. You've done your bit, and if these thugs go out and do this again, and break another young mother's nose (or worse) then the blame is squarely on the shoulders of the judge.  

It was reported yesterday that a woman who was robbed and beaten by a gang of thugs had her case thrown out of court because she was "honest, utterly decent and brave."


Further, The Sun reports that a man who has committed assault with a baseball bat has been let off with a reduced sentence (of seven and a half months) because he was fat.


I am no lawyer, but both these cases seem to go against the very raison d'etre of our legal system. In both these cases, innocent members of the public were beaten up (and in Denise Dawson's case also robbed) and yet the judicial system has totally let them down - meting out reduced punishment when there was clearly a violent crime committed or even refusing to countenance punishment at all. 


There seem to be two salient issues here.


Firstly, the fact that honest and law abiding taxpayers are repeatedly let down and ill served by the legal system they pay handsomely to maintain. When there is clear evidence, how can a judge, in all good conscience, disregard or play down that evidence? There is a clear show of bias here, too. The onus has been placed so much on the softly-softly approach to prosecuting criminals that many judges seem to have lost sight of the fact these people are accused or even convicted of serious crimes. Peter Owens, who had his sentence reduced due to health concerns about his weight, was convicted of assault on two innocent members of the public, and yet received a reduced sentence. He wasn't too fat to beat someone up with a baseball bat, so he's not too fat to go to jail.


Secondly, there is no deterrent to criminally minded individuals if this sort of behaviour continues in our courts. When it comes to fighting crime: the police have done their bit by catching the criminals, the victims have done their bit by testifying (often a very distressing experience), so where are the judges? These cases set a dangerous precedent.


In the words of Denise Dawson, "What more can I do? I positively indentified someone from a video ID parade and was prepared to risk everything going to court, but it's still not enough." What indeed?


It is enough, Denise. You've done your bit, and if these thugs go out and do this again, and break another young mother's nose (or worse) then the blame is squarely on the shoulders of the judge.  

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