I’m feeling confused, I’ve just read two newspaper articles regarding legal proceedings and both had issues with the anonymity or the lack thereof for the criminals involved. Before I move on I’ll let you see the quotes and link to the articles.
The first quotation is:
Mr Justice Keith handed down an indeterminate sentence on both boys in the Edlington case — ordering them to serve a minimum of five years in custody — but ruled that they should be granted anonymity for life and given new identities when they are freed, at a cost of around £2million a year.
In this second article, the quotes are:
An employee at Blenheim Palace, Anita Donaldson, stole almost £150,000 pounds from the stately home to fund her lavish lifestyle, a court heard.
So far Donaldson has sold her house, her car and all of her valuables, as well as accepting money from family and friends to pay back £95,000 of the total £146,707 after reaching a civil agreement with Blenheim Estates.
Peter Lownds, Donaldson’s counsel, said: “She feels great remorse and regret.
“Her professional reputation is destroyed and she will never obtain work in that field for which she has qualified again. Her career is at an end.
“She has been doing some work, dog walking and cleaning, to get some money.”
He also said that during the time she was stealing, from November 2007 until July 2009, she was suffering from a depressive illness and had been receiving treatment.
Now I fully understand that there are monumental differences between the severity of these two cases. I also understand the differences in the eyes of the law between children and adults. However, I am confused that a criminal who admits their crime, shows immediate remorse, seeks medical help for an underlying condition, and makes efforts to return the money which she stole (returning over 50% prior to the court appearance) can have her photograph and name published in the paper and on its website when at the same time a judge can grant £2million a year for life to ensure the anonymity, upon their eventual release, of the two young thugs who sadistically and perversely attempted to murder two young boys in a prolonged and sustained attack of violence and sexual assault, showed no remorse, and did not even try to lead the search efforts to the most seriously injured of their two victims.
I’m confused because one can be very certain that the two victims of the evil brothers will not receive £2million a year for life from the tax payer, unlike their attackers. They will not receive state funded care and education valued at hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. They will have to study, work, and get jobs with the terrible knowledge of what they suffered, and on top of that the more frightening knowledge that one day their attackers could be free, and protected by the state that failed to prevent the incident from happening. Free, and given anonymity, new names, and the potential to meet their victims without their victims knowing who they are!
I’m confused because the second case is almost comical in comparison. A sum of money is stolen and the criminal confesses when confronted. She makes efforts to return what she can, raising funds by selling her own home, and car, and yet she still has her name widely publicised, her career ruined, and her future life forever marked by what when compared to the exploits of Wall Street bankers is the theft of a comparatively small sum of money.
So what price anonymity? Show no remorse, act as depraved as you can beneath a certain legal age limit and walk away from responsibility at the tax payers expense? Commit fraud, do no direct physical harm, make efforts to set things right, and be damned forever? I don’t know about you but that doesn’t exactly sound like “justice”.
As I said at the start, I know these are two very different cases, but you cannot say the bullies of the first article didn’t know what they were doing was wrong, and if by some strange chance they did not I hope they are never released because they will be a serious threat to the general public. While bullying of any nature is treated with kid gloves and the attackers right to anonymity continues to outway the victims right to not be forced to relive their experiences be having them published in every media outlet, then the victims are the only ones who will continue to suffer, and nothing will change.
Unfortunately my thoughts from yesterday have been reflected in the news today:
Their younger victim, aged 10, has told his mother: “I’m frightened they are going to get out and come and find me. They’re not going away for very long. They might want to finish it.”
His 12-year-old friend said: “Five years? Is that all? What will happen to us then?”