The sentiment in the title states how laws should be applied in a society based on equality.
Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.
I am not a Lawyer, although I have some understanding of bits of it.
It struck me today after hearing that Charlie Gilmour got 16 months for his part in the rammy that occurred in London earlier this year – you know the ones about student fees and such.
Of course being anarchistic and destructive is not a new phenomenon but apparently when the ‘thuglets’ (little thugs) damaged Prince Charles’ royal motor then all hell broke loose and something had to be done.
An example must be set.
This is my very point. The law is not about examples. It is about justice and judges should know better. It matters not whether it is the labourer or the lord who is the transgressor the punishment has to fit the crime.
Examples of inappropriate sentences are rife and it seems that it is becoming more prevalent.
Expenses scandal has resulted in custodial sentences for a number of ex-mp’s and peers. Does that mean every fraudster gets a custodial sentence. Sheridan got done for perjury does that make all the people who lie in the dock will be incarcerated?
The reason for many of the problems in our legal system lie in its basic paradigm.
Our laws are focussed on punishing crimes against property much more severely than crimes against each other. I accept, however, that murder is penalised heavily (and rightly so).
We need to change the focal point and make the laws against each other more protective and more effectively punished and the crimes against things to be less important.
Take Gary Mckinnon (aspergers hacker) his crime is tiny but the punishment would be disproportionate. (100 years in jail) is his crime so much more serious than a sexual assault or rape? or an attempted murder? of course not but under the US legal system he will be locked up for the rest of his life. for hacking poorly secured computers to find out about aliens.
Below are some links to news stories to illustrate the uneven hand of the law at work. Punishment should fit the crime. No one is an example and judges need to remember this. (they might need a wee nudge now and then.)
These are just a few.