Victim Law

The old prison at Lydford. "Lydford Law: hang first, then sit in judgement after."

The old prison at Lydford. Lydford Law: ‘Hang first, then sit in judgement after.’

Today there’s a lot of hoohah about a judge who, while thinking his microphone was off, made a comment.
It’s common enough. Comments are common. Especially when that microphone is supposed to be off. Ask any politician.
The case involved a family whose 21 year old son was murdered. The case isn’t disputed thus far. However, having served their time, the perpetrators are now eligible for parole.
The Parole Board invited the victim’s relatives in to give their views. They had to write up and then read their harrowing experiences, all of which meant reliving the traumatic events of their son’s death. When they finished, the judge said thank you, and turned off his line, as he thought. However, all he did was turn off the ‘receive’. He was still transmitting when he made a remark along the lines of: ‘I feel so very sorry for these families. They make these statements thinking they are going to make a difference, but they make no difference at all. Someone should tell them.’
A judge saying something very decent and showing he’s honourable. The family have not asked for him to be punished. He was being fair and reasonable, and he should be applauded.
However, is it fair in the first place?
The Labour Party is saying that they’ll bring in a law – I think Sadiq Khan today described it as ‘Victim Law’ – so that victims and their families can have a say in — what? Whether criminals get parole? How long their sentences should be?
NO!
Do we want our punishments based on retribution? Do we want prisoners to know that their sentence will depend on the comments of their victims’ parents? That won’t lead to more witness intimidation, will it!
The law should be – must be – above the feelings of parents or other relatives. If someone hurt one of my children, there is no punishment recognised under British law that would give me any satisfaction. Any parent who feels less isn’t really qualified to be a parent.
However, the law has to be independent and impartial. It must not allow itself to be swayed by some concept of retribution or vengeance. It should be rational, logical and unmoved by any person’s feelings of personal injury.
In other words, for God’s sake remove the whole idea of victims having any say in the law.
Their feelings are extreme. The law mustn’t be!

A past example of Victim Law. He was hanged, and while alive had his penis cut off and burned, then was disembowelled, before being cut down and cut into quarters. The victim there had a say in the punishment. Not a good example to set.

A past example of Victim Law: Sir Hugh Despenser. He was hanged, and while still alive had his penis cut off and burned before him, and then was disembowelled (still alive) and had his heart cut out, before being cut down and cut into quarters. The victim there had a say in the punishment. Not a good example to set.

 

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Comments
7 Responses to “Victim Law”
  1. While reading this, I am listening to one of the terminally offended, on Radio5live, demanding the removal of said judge. Our justice system truly is ludicrous.

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  2. Jack Eason says:

    You have to wonder why the law gives the relatives of the murder victim the chance to have their say if it is a waste of their time Michael. As far as the murderers in question are concerned, or any others come to that, If you take a life, you should spend the rest of your life behind bars. Its a crying shame that hanging is no longer an option.

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    • I agree – although I’d hate to see the reintroduction of capital punishment. I think it’s entirely right to take the life of someone who’s prepared to kill, BUT, if there is a single shred of doubt, it’s wrong. And since we’ve had so many cases of police embellishing, and the wrong person being convicted, I could never condone a return now. I approve of the concept, but I don’t trust our justice system or police to administer it correctly, I’m afraid. And under no circumstances would I agree to the police being a special case for murder. The police are a civilian arm of the law in Britain, not an arm of the state. A policeman murdered is of exactly the same value as any other subject of the Queen who could be killed. It would be a grave error to suggest that the police were in some way superior. They already have a virtual monopoly in gun ownership, self defence and means of homicide.

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  3. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    An example of how lax our law courts and our justice system has become…

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