Sentences and Sentencing
Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin (the father and wicked stepmother of murdered 6-year old Arthur) have been handed sentences of 21 years and 29 years respectively. Those seem stiff enough. But the Right Honourable Suella Braverman, in her capacity as Attorney General, has apparently asked that the sentences be reviewed, as inadequate to the severity of their crimes.
Another prominent court case this week is the guilty verdict on Ghislaine Maxwell for 5 crimes against under-age girls. Sentence has not yet been passed but she is said to be facing between 40 and 65 years in prison .
It is quite possible that the sentencing norms in the USA and the UK are radically different, and any comparison a mistake. And I am ignorant of the details of both cases and unqualified to judge the appropriateness of these sentences. But I do feel that the crimes of these two against the murdered six-year old Arthur are a great deal worse (more beastly, inhuman, unbearable) than the 5 crimes of Ghislaine Maxwell. They are enormously worse; in the way that dying is worse than having a headache.
I feel that the very real, and decades-long pain, suffered by the girls and young women ‘befriended’ by Maxwell and ‘cuddled’ by Epstein, may be on a par with that suffered by millions upon millions of women around the world and throughout the ages; child-brides, battered-wives, arranged or loveless marriages, under-age daughters of drunken fathers. I am not belittling either pain; just trying to get things into perspective.
Maybe there is some politics involved in the Maxwell trial. Maybe she is standing surrogate for many other cruelties that have long gone unpunished.
But maybe the sentencing of Hughes and Tustin also contains a political element. They may be paying for our guilt, yours and mine, that this crime was allowed to happen in our country, our town, under our very noses.
However, from a restorative point of view, both sentences seem to me to be bizarre.
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