Opinion: Horrible

POSTED: 09/6/12 11:41 AM

It is rather tricky to classify crimes, say, on a scale from 1 to 10 whereby 10 represents the worst possible crime. Most people would put murder in the highest category. But where to rank all those other law-breaking activities like rape, incest, burglary, robbery, theft, fraud, forgery – and so on?
Yesterday we saw in court two cases that fit the highest category as well and they are both sexual offenses. In one case, a 28-year-old man threatened his “girlfriend” with the police if she did not come with him to a hotel room at the Travel Inn in Simpson Bay where he raped her repeatedly. That’s pretty sick already. Is a 48-month prison sentence enough punishment for what the defendant did to this woman?
We’re pretty sure that victims of these types of crimes would rather see that rapists never walk the earth a free man again. Somebody who has raped once will most likely rape again, given the right circumstances. The defendant in this case saw his sentence seriously mitigated. The prosecution demanded 8 years, and the court cut those 96 months in half and also suspended 12 months of it.
Why? Two reasons: the crime was committed a long time ago (more than 2.5 years) and the defendant had a clean police record.
This way the victim is punished three times. First she is raped repeatedly, then she has to wait more than two years for the case to go to trial and in the end she sees how a lenient judge cuts the prosecutor’s demand effectively by an astonishing 5 years or 62.5 percent.
And it could get worse, if the rapist has to spend just two third of his sentence before justice Minister Roland Duncan grants him conditional early release after 24 months.
But wait, there is more: the question remains whether this defendant will ever serve any time at all. That’s because he is currently not detained. We’re not entirely sure about the procedure, but we figure that the defendant will at least remain free until the Common Court of Justice hears his appeal a couple of months down the road.
And then?
We still remember the case of Ramona Lupu, the Romanian bookkeeper of Bada Bing who was sentenced on appeal to 48 months for her involvement in an armed robbery on a money transport of her employer. Lupu simply walked out of the courthouse after hearing the verdict and as far as we know, she has not yet been picked up to serve her time.
Raping a grown up woman is bad, so could there be worse? Consider the case of two boys from Middle Region who, in their late teens, repeatedly raped their two younger sisters. One of them was a 3-year old baby. To add insult to injury, the boys’ mother has also been charged for creating the conditions under which the boys could abuse her daughters. The term pretty sick does not begin to describe the psychological and physical damage these offenders have caused their siblings.
It is of course clear, to put it rather crudely, that the boys and their mother are not what we consider normal people. One of the boys is not capable of having a normal conversation, the prosecution revealed in May. And the mother? She was served a summons to appear in court but she apparently did not understand that she was charged with anything. Her boys had done it, she figured.
The question is of course who is to blame for this situation. We sense here a breakdown of community safety valves. The boys will undergo psychiatric evaluation and the mother will most likely follow the same path. They may very well be found not accountable for what happened. But if they are not accountable, then who is?
The boys went to school, the family lives in a neighborhood. And no teacher, no neighbor, no family member –no one at all, ever notices something out of the ordinary? That is hard to believe.
What these boys did was horrible; there is no discussion about it. That the mother let it happen, again and again, may sound like too crazy for words too many, but the mental state of mother and sons will most likely explain a lot.
The most horrible of all is of course that this family’s environment let this happen – and did nothing, a bit like the night clerk at the Travel Inn who saw the 28-year-old rapist dragged his victim to his room.
And what did the night clerk do?
Nothing at all.
Now that is really disgusting.

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