Editorial: Missed opportunity

POSTED: 06/5/14 5:05 PM

Yesterday’s court decision not to impose community service on a young burglar because he lives in Guadeloupe and there is no guarantee that he will do the work, is a missed opportunity to shape cross-border cooperation between French and Dutch side justice and social systems.

The court opted instead for a ruling whereby the burglar still would have to serve 64 days in prison – knowing very well that verdicts against people who are not detained at the moment of the verdict are seldom – if ever – executed.

The experiment with cross-border community service would therefore have been no skin off anybody’s nose. The court seems to prefer a prison sentence on record that probably will never be executed to taking the small risk that the convict will not do his community service.

An 18-year-old boy will learn more from doing community service in another country – even if this remains invisible for the court in Philipsburg – than from a hypothetical prison sentence.

As always, we respect the independent court, but we disagree strongly with the outcome of the case.

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