Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tabloid Politics

Lord Falconer is out and about advocating the victims-have-a-say-in-sentencing thing again. It's wrong. Completely wrong. He wants families of murder victims to be allowed to speak in court before sentencing takes place. What is the point of this? Should a criminal receive a longer sentence if the person they murdered has a particularly emotionally appealing parent or partner? And should sentences be shorter for murdering people with no immediate family around them - orphans for example, the homeless, tourists over here on their own? Or do they imagine families will be honest about the balance of the situation and thus help judges out: "in fairness your honour, my mother, who was brutally murdered, she could be very irritating...".

Either the judge is going to re-calibrate sentences based on perceived suffering of families. [Cruella runs from axe-wielding maniac shouting "don't kill me, my sister's a great actress..."] OR sentencing will not be changed based on what the victims families have to say and in which case it's just a waste of tax-payers money paying for the justice system to sit around ignoring some people crying.

No amount of input into the court process is going to bring back a murdered loved one. The healing process is not something the courts are there to help with. Families should be offered support outside the court process, and judges allowed to get on with their jobs efficiently.

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