Editorial: Crime and punishment

POSTED: 03/7/14 12:19 AM

The notion that crime pays is obviously a dangerous one because it would tempt more people to choose a career in this field. It is therefore important to have a system in place that deals with crime in a way that does justice to society without trampling the rights of defendants.

In yesterday’s court ruling against three suspects in the largest cocaine transport St. Maarten has ever witnessed, the court seems to have arrived at an unusual mild sentence. In a constitutional democracy, it is proper to respect the independent court.

However, sometimes decisions are hard to explain to people who are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system. Transporting almost 1,500 kilos of cocaine valued at $1.2 billion and getting away with a 6- of 8-year sentence is one of those things that will get tongues moving.

It is not the end of the story yet, because it seems almost a no-brainer that the prosecution will appeal the ruling. That is the right way to do things, but in the meantime the discussion about what is right and what is too lenient will keep a lot of minds occupied.

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