Victims could be allowed a say in the way criminals are punished in court – but only if they call for leniency rather than harsh sentencing.So, you can have your say if you want, but we’ll feel free to disregard it if it doesn’t fit with our preconceptions of the point of this exercise, i.e. to provide even more reason for our desire to go soft on criminals?
For the first time, magistrates and judges could be ordered to listen to victims – or bereaved relatives – and be guided by their viewson how an offender should best be punished.
But, crucially, only messages of forgiveness would be taken into consideration.
And the possibility of witness intimidation rears it’s head again:
There are fears such a system could lead to some offenders intimidating victims into asking for a more lenient term for them.Quite! Perhaps we should make victims anonymous too? Hell, let's just hold all trials in secret!
The proposals, unveiled in a report from the Sentencing Advisory Panel yesterday, acknowledges that the plans could upset victims ‘on the grounds that their views are only taken into account when they favour the offender’.Yeah, no kidding…
Still, it’s the victims, after all, and who cares about them? It’s becoming increasing difficult to answer that without saying ‘no-one in the Justice system, that’s for sure’.