QUOTE (SiMania @ Mar 16 2010, 18:03)
Who are these posters you talk about Glen?
Presumably they are the same posters who are so concerned with the rights of the criminals that they forget what happened to James Bulger. Hence Glen's need to detail everything the toddler suffered.
I read this article in today's Times over my scrambled eggs and bagel this morning and it certainly puts an alternative spin on the absurd suggestion on here that there should be no criminal age of responsibility in Britain:
QUOTE (David Aaronovitch)
Our attitude to kids shows we need to grow up Link
Imagine this, since we’re so fond of taking our ideas from Scandinavia these days. It’s the mid-1990s and a small child goes missing. Eventually a body is found — the post-mortem shows that the kid has been beaten, stripped and left to die. Two boys confess to the murder.
We all know what doesn’t happen next. What doesn’t happen next is that they go home. And then a couple of weeks later go back to school, albeit with watchful “minders”. It is inconceivable that, though everyone in the community knows who they are, no one names them. Or that the press knows their names, but sees fit not to publish them. Or that there is no adult trial, no petitions that they be locked away for life, and no vengeful bereaved parent. It is unbelievable that they should be young adults now, scarred by their juvenile crime but not by the adult judicial process or by an eternal desire for revenge.
Except in Norway, in the late autumn of 1994, just a year after the Bulger murder, the unimaginable is exactly what happened. That October Silje Redergard was killed by two six-year-olds. More than half a decade later, Terje Lund, the policeman leading the investigation, was interviewed by the BBC about the comparisons between the Redergard and Bulger cases.
Lund was shocked by what happened in Britain. “I really don’t like to hear that you can put children, ten years old, into custody,” he said. “I think it’s meaningless.” In Norway the age of criminal responsibility is 15.
But Silje was not his child. Her mother was Beate Redergard, who was traumatised by the loss of her daughter. Beate was asked specifically how she coped with the fact that there had been no prosecution for Silje’s murder. “It’s very difficult,” she replied. “I think it would have been much easier to put it all behind me if someone had been punished for the crime but I don’t think it’s right to punish small children.”
In another, later interview Ms Redergard added that she thought the boys understood what they had done, “but not the consequences”. “If these boys would have been treated like adults and locked up they would have lost out on so much — their grasp on reality, how society works. They most likely wouldn’t cope with being put on the streets at the age of 18. Would they have learnt something? I don’t think so.”
The views of Ms Redergard and Officer Lund were essentially those of the incoming children’s commissioner, Maggie Atkinson, when she spoke to The Times last week. Dr Atkinson argued that the age of responsibility — at 10 — was too low and that far too much emphasis was placed on punishment rather than on reclaiming the child for society and for itself. It had been wrong, she suggested, to try Venables and Thompson in an open, adult court.
It is impossible not to contrast Denise Fergus, Jamie Bulger’s mother, with Beate Redergard when examining her response, that “this woman” should apologise both to her and her dead child for her “twisted and insensitive comments” and then be sacked. But Mrs Fergus represents us in this matter, otherwise she wouldn’t continually be consulted and quoted as though she had been working for 30 years in the area of child offending.
That she is we, for the purposes of this discussion, was made clear by Baroness Butler Sloss, who presided over one of the later Venables- Thompson hearings. The Baroness did not disagree with Dr Atkinson on the age of responsibility and our treatment of children in the courts. In fact she tended to the same opinion, that “young people can be turned”. But she did “not believe the public will at the moment stand for murderers of ten years old being treated as if they are children and not having to face punishment”.
That’s entirely a calculation about us, and it’s rather a grim one. The argument stands for treating children as children, but we will not hear it. We will put our fingers in our ears and sing “lala” instead, and will savage anyone who tries to persuade us otherwise.
And am I so damn superior? Absolutely not. I am a man in a house of women and girls, and I want them protected from predators, and imagine condign justice being delivered to anyone who offends against them. So I have always been an instinctive believer in the need for, and the possibility of, delivering many more convictions for rape and sexual assault. If only everybody was to treat it as seriously as I do, I have allowed myself to imagine, then there’d be a whole lot more rapists behind bars.
Lala. Can’t hear you. And I’ll drown out with feeling the tiny, needling, sensible voice that says that there may be an insoluble problem, because, actually, it will so often be his word against her word, and there’ll be no one else around, and unless we alter the rule about the presumption of guilt, then there’s only so far we can go.
And then along comes Baroness Stern, given the job by Harriet Harman of reviewing the handling of rape cases. The baroness was sent to work a year ago amid specific ministerial reference to low conviction rates, but has returned with something else. Baroness Stern feels that, in the first place, conviction rates are not so very low once cases come to trial, and that to keep on saying they are is counter-productive.
Furthermore, they are never going to be much higher under the current legal system. There will always be a discrepancy between rape and other violent crimes.
And that means that we may have put too much emphasis on the criminal justice process, while ignoring “the actual needs of the human being who’s suffered this appalling violation.” At the very least they should be balanced. Much more effort should go into victim support and counselling.
I don’t want to misrepresent the baroness, who clearly feels that more could be done to co-ordinate efforts to catch serial rapists. But I feel that she’s asking people like me to be more realistic and to surrender some of our fantasies about how a perfect justice system should work and how the guilty will be made to suffer.
As fantasies go, this one — it seems to me — is particularly Anglo-Saxon. And it is far from harmless, because we drive ourselves mad with the impossibility of its fulfilment. Unlike the Norwegians, where, on contemplation, I find I prefer Beate Redergard and Terje Lund to Denise Fergus and to me.
though in the case of Venables and Thompson I think they would of just killed another kid even if they took it out of a garden when the parent nipped inside for a few moments.
This is purely speculation (as you acknowledge). There is evidence on record that Venables and Thompson skipped school that Friday afternoon with the intention to shoplift and "get a kid lost". However, there is nothing to suggest that they intended on going as far as murdering a child. Their erratic behaviour in the three hours between kidnapping James and leaving him to die suggests that once they took him, they really didn't know what they were going to do with him. They led him to a canal side and dropped him on his head, running off and leaving him crying. It is thought that they only returned to him when they realised that a passer by had become alerted by James's crying. They walked two miles, crossed several busy roads (if their intention was to kill him, why not leave him on the road?) and made themselves known to many adults along the way.