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Say sorry, and get off scot-free?

BillieTheBotBillieTheBot 🤖Posts: 8,657 Automated Account
According to the BBC: "Young criminals could avoid court if they apologise to their victims, under government plans. The Lord Chancellor intends to pilot the scheme in four police force areas in the coming year for first-time offenders guilty of low-level crimes. The plan is one of a number of measures proposed by Lord Falconer to help speed up and improve criminal justice." Click here for details.

So, is my reaction one of horror and disgust? Not quite. There are some interesting ideas being presented here. For instance, I like the idea where some offenders for low-level crimes would be brought before the courts within a day or two. Anything which brings about an end to the glut of minor cases that take weeks and months to clear up is welcome. Not quite sure what they're defining as a "low-level crime" here, but I welcome the concept. I also welcome the idea that some may not have to go to court at all, for instance, TV licence evaders. It doesn't answer the wider question of whether there should be a licence fee in this day and age, but no matter.

However, I've got my doubts about the idea that grabbed the most headlines. It does seem to me like the message is "say sorry for mugging that old woman and you'll be off scot-free". The document that had all these proposals claims "A face-to-face apology is often quite difficult for a young person to do". Really? Have they never heard of fake apologies? I mean, our politicians are perfectly capable of it - for instance, Patricia Hewitt's once completely insincere apology on Question Time on behalf of her boss for misleading the country into war - so why do they think that "young persons" can't do the same? I get the feeling this is one proposal that may not work.

Your thoughts...
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i don't think mugging old ladies will count as low level.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And obviously it doesn't matter that victims would like justice?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sofie wrote:
    And obviously it doesn't matter that victims would like justice?
    we're talking low level offences here ...like not having a tv permit ...what kind of justice are you looking for?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sofie wrote:
    And obviously it doesn't matter that victims would like justice?
    Of course it matters. That's what these proposals seem to be about. However, I doubt a victim of a crime is going to appreciate being fobbed off by a fake, insincere apology by some mindless thug. I certainly wouldn't. If I met someone who'd mugged me, for instance, I'd most probably end up belting them. I dare anyone here to say they wouldn't do the same.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote:
    Of course it matters. That's what these proposals seem to be about. However, I doubt a victim of a crime is going to appreciate being fobbed off by a fake, insincere apology by some mindless thug. I certainly wouldn't. If I met someone who'd mugged me, for instance, I'd most probably end up belting them. I dare anyone here to say they wouldn't do the same.

    I'm the same. It depends what exactly is classed as 'low-level crime'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Low level crime-stuff like smashing windows, petty theft, tresspassing etc etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    turlough wrote:
    Low level crime-stuff like smashing windows, petty theft, tresspassing etc etc.
    Well, let's take the case of the window being smashed. Were that to be my house, I'd far rather the offender paid for a replacement window rather than meekly apologise for the damage they willingly caused. When kids at my primary school broke windows by throwing cricket balls at them, for instance, their parents had to pay for the damage. So, why not hoodlums who deliberately damage other people's property?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote:
    Well, let's take the case of the window being smashed. Were that to be my house, I'd far rather the offender paid for a replacement window rather than meekly apologise for the damage they willingly caused. When kids at my primary school broke windows by throwing cricket balls at them, for instance, their parents had to pay for the damage. So, why not hoodlums who deliberately damage other people's property?

    Well that happens anyway, you pay for the damage and also go to court. What they want is to pay the damage and say sorry.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    turlough wrote:
    Well that happens anyway, you pay for the damage and also go to court. What they want is to pay the damage and say sorry.
    If the offender genuinely meant it when they apologised, fair enough. But I suspect with these proposals that the actor within will come out, that we'll see the crocodile tears coming out as they trot out meaningless words of contrition.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It doesn't hurt to try. Dialogue between offender and victim can lead to positive outcomes. Often, criminals have a barrier in their head, they lack empathy, they don't see that their actions have a negative impact on others. Dialogue with the victims can help them understand what they did was wrong and why it would be wrong to do it again. Certainly a lot better than sending them to a court where a stranger will judge their fate. Of course this would only work with low level crime.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sofie wrote:
    And obviously it doesn't matter that victims would like justice?

    Depends on what their view of "justice" is though, doesn't it?
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