(Original post by D.R.E)
I never said this case was benign. What I said was, the law will never be able to stop people from fighting with their fists, something which is very common and usually leads to negligible outcomes. The defendants here, did attack the victim, but were both were horribly unlucky for it to end in the way it did. As for the victim's age; that is a good point, but you have to look at the nature of this crime. It is just some kids doing something very stupid, which is what kids do.
You are focusing on the nature of the assault. If they had attacked the man using knifes, would your stance on the matter be different? One could also argue that the law will never be able to stop people from fighting using knives.
You say that kids do stupid things sometimes. This is true. However, people are meant to learn that they should not do such things. People regardless of age do stupid things, it's just something they do. Ignorance cannot be used as a defense in court. Thus ignorance of the consequences of their actions cannot be used as defense.
I fail to see how we can write off their offense as 'just one of the stupid things kids do', along with kicking footballs through windows or carving their names into desks at school.
Since no 2 crimes are the same, would it be fair to give disproportionate punishments to certain offenders just because you want to make a point? This is not how the law works. You are making an emotional judgement, fortunately, the judges we have know better than to do as such.
I am not arguing for disproportionate punishments to make a point. I am arguing for a proportionate sentence that would (if you read my post properly) deter these particular boys from reoffending. I am not making an emotional judgement. Please enlighten me as to exactly where I said: 'OMGGZZZ!!! dey shud b hung!!!!1'
Right. I'm glad you mentioned this. The 2 defendants are both very young and arguably, have ample opportunity to be turned into productive assets to society. This is the reason people under 17 are not sent to prisons. If these kids were sent to prison for 15 years, they would come out of prison having learned how to be better criminals, got more contacts and most importantly, no skills which are useful in the job market. Now do tell, what 'business' sector are they likely to end up in?
I highly doubt a 2 year spell in a young offenders institute is likely to turn these boys into pillars of the community. I would not think it audacious to suggest that there is a high probability that after their short sentence they will still fail to get much further in the job market than they would if they had been behind bars for 15 years. I doubt these boys will gain any valuable skills if not sent to prison. Furthermore, if you look at reoffending rates for those coming out of young offenders institutions, you might find that they are higher than you expect.
You argue that they have the potential to turn their lives around if not sent to prison. I would argue that if they have the mentality that they would like to improve themselves and perhaps gain manual skills/A-levels, they would be just as likely if not more likely to do this inside prison, where it is free and there are numerous resources devoted to an inmate's education.
Sentences for youth crimes are not as simple as just considering the custodial period, usually they are also given extra conditions to fulfil that the press always conveniently neglect to mention.
Conditions that are all too often broken. Venables is a perfect example.
The fact that you are so focused on the deterrent element shows, quite frankly, a profound lack of understanding of how the law works. Judges aren't there to mete out retribution on behalf of the victim and their family. They are there to give a balanced view and hopefully issue a sentence that fits the crime and also allows the criminal, if reformed, to live on as a human being. Unless of course, to you, criminals are just mindless machines that need eradicating from society?
The problem is that the sentence generally does not fit the crime. The situation is this. Prisoners in general are not reformed ater being in prison. It often makes them better at commiting crimes in future. If we solely sentence people in the way that is most likely to reform them, we would be having to hand out corporal punishments.
If someone is caught shoplifting, the most effective way of stopping them carrying out the same crime would be either to cut off their hands or to kill them, not to give them a small fine. I am not arguing for a second that we should start cutting off offenders limbs, but my point is that the sentence is not entirely about stopping them reoffending, or if it is, then it is not carried out in the most effective way.
Criminals are not just 'mindless machines' to me, if you belive that, you do not fully understand my sentiments on the issue.My stance is that I do not believe it is likley that this sentence will dissuade the boys effectvely from reoffending. It is not an emotional judgement, it is looking at the issue in a practical way.
There was so such inference in my words, all I said was the facts; they really did only just punch the victim. How you deemed this an endorsement of criminal behaviour is beyond me.
You would agree I'm sure that you are suggesting that the crime is less serious by the use of 'only' would you not? I'll try to demonstrate the point:
1) I kicked Dave
2) I only kicked Dave
1) is objective. I am stating a fact that I kicked Dave. 2) implies that kicking is not that serious and by doing so becomes at least partly subjective.
This is just an emotional diatribe.
NB: There is a debate to be had here, but you are making it extremely difficult with these emotionally charged posts which don't actually provide any real points. I agree that there are many things wrong with our criminal justice system, but I also think the judge sitting handle this case very well and to the fullest extent that was necessary.
If anyone is guilty of looking at this in an emotional way, it is yourself. By making gross generalisations regarding 'the stupid things kids do', you fail to look at the incident from an objective position. You draw upon your own experiences perhaps rather than looking at the incident in question. I am merely pointing out my opinion that the sentences are unlikely to be effective in preventing the defendants reoffending. Forgive me if this is emotional diatribe.