Monday, July 10, 2006

When loosing is winning

So it looks like the Attorney General will not be making any changes to the sentence of paedophile Craig Sweeney. This has, of course, been greeted with dismay by many people, but actually it's fair enough. Y'see, the problem is that the sentence itself was not illegal or incorrect - the Attorney General is quite right in saying that if he tried to argue the case out, he'd probably loose. What needs to happen now is a reassessment of the sentencing guidelines to see whether or not we are happy with the current sentencing laws (as I believe I've said before.)

Once again though, the issue looks likely to get overwhelmed by calls of an individualistic nature focussed solely on this one particular case. And yes, it's an awful thing to hear that a man like this may be free again in only five years. But the point is that we need to get the laws changed for everybody - slapping a longer sentence on Sweeney may make a few people happy, but doesn't affect the many others whose crimes haven't made the front pages. So maybe, actually, we need to let our feelings for this specific case settle a little, with the longer goal of altering the guidelines for everyone found guilty of these crimes.

I guess it's a good thing when injustices hit the headlines, in that it focuses he public's attention and forces the issue with the politicians. However it's also easy to get carried away with the specifics rather than looking at the bigger picture - the bigger picture which in the long run will be the one that really matters.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A life sentence is just that!
He wont be out in 5 years, he may
y never be released.

Crimes such as this are taken very seriously, but the AG would have been unsuccessful in changing the sentence.

It is of course true, that many other heinous crimes do not the publics back up, but it is not the public who makes the law, and it is not them who will change it by ranting away.

We cannot blame the judges either because they dont make the sentencing guidelines, they only dish them out.  

Posted by ste

Anonymous said...

He will only qualify for parole in 5 years. That doesnt mean they will let him out. The thing they need to sort out is the 1/3 off for guilty plea when the guilt was so clear anyway. 

Posted by LordHutton

Anonymous said...

I hate victim politics. Sentence isn't "long enough" because the parents of victim say so, etc.

Vengeance is for lesser beings, we shall have Justice, as the man said. Justice is about what's right for all, not just the victims. Although, in this case, evil bastard from what I can see, there's no way they'll let him out any time soon, and even if they do, it'll be on licence and strict supervision (well, supposed supervision, the Home Office'll be in charge, so it'll get messed up pretty quickly). 

Posted by MatGB