It’s been a while since I have been moved to post a blog update. Life gets in the way and, let’s face it, it’s always more of the same: “The government is corrupt, and we're on so many drugs, with the radio on and the curtains drawn”, to quote postrock legends Godspeed! You Black Emperor (look them up, you’re welcome). Different day, same err, news.
Then I get a newspaper headline along the lines of: “7 year jail term for rape of 11-year-old” and I tend to forget about the Panama papers and how much tax I wish I weren’t paying just so our politicians can empty some minibar in Dubai or wherever they were pretending to be on official business.
I’m sure I’m not the only to recoil in horror.
Seven years. Confirmed on appeal, with the cherry on the cake being the judge’s observations: “the court found no reason to doubt the credibility of the victim”.
Seven years for robbing an 11-year-old of her innocence and her faith in the world
Seven years jail for destroying a child’s life, putting her through untold physical and lasting emotional trauma. Seven years for robbing an 11-year-old of her innocence and her faith in the world.
Nice one, Lady Justice.
The mind continues to boggle when I remember cases like Daniel Holmes’s, where growing weed on the roof resulted in 10 years imprisonment. Which he is still serving, I understand. I’m sure there are other similar cases where justice was not served, but his happens to be the most memorable and easily quotable.
I’m sure some legal beagle will pipe up and quote minimum and maximum sentencing at me, technicalities of the specific offence and so on and so pompously forth. Don’t bother, I completed law school and got the hell out of that profession more years ago than I care to remember.
And there’s a reason for this. I always did feel that the law is an ass. Thank you Dickens, you did coin a rather useful phrase.
Only, it’s not really the law that is an ass, is it? After all, the law depends on those who draft it. While it may be perfectly within the law for the court to hand down a 10-year-sentence for a weed related offence and a 7-year term for rape of a minor, this doesn’t make it right.
What we should be doing is raising hell for living in a country where such injustices are allowed to take place.
What we should be doing is taking our politicians to task for failing to conclude that long-promised legislative reform. This includes the opposition, which should really be fulfilling the role of proverbial thorn in the side.
Instead, we all give a collective shrug followed by: “Oh but there’s nothing much we can do, that’s what the law states.”
Bull. Read my lips: I don’t give a flying duck if the law only allows for a seven-year term for this particular offence in these particular circumstances.
Fix it. And fix it fast, because the message we are giving with these kind of court sentences is far from a salutary one.
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