Friday, February 23, 2007

Gary Holness

It's always good to see the Daily Mail adopting reasonable and balanced views.

I won't bore you by going into a massive explanation of CICA, its Rules and its purpose. Suffice to say, that it is a statutory scheme set up to compensate victims of violent crime within the UK. Now, surely, having your leg blown off by a suicide bomber is enough to qualify as being a victim of violent crime? The outcome of CICA applications tends to be binary: If you can prove you have suffered an injury as a result of violent crime in the UK, you get an award in accordance with the tariff laid out in the Scheme (in this case, the 2001 Scheme). If you don't fit into the Scheme, you don't get an award. And yes, CICA has the right to reduce or refuse an award on the basis of the victim's conduct. For example, if you start a fight and end up with a broken nose, you shouldn't expect a payout from CICA. So, yes, CICA will, no doubt, take into account Gary Holness's conviction. However, it's hardly relevant to his application.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that the criminal justice system was supposed to be about rehabilitation as well as retribution. As I understand it, yes, the man was involved in a gang rape, which is a disgusting crime. However, he was convicted and imprisoned for 7 years, served his sentence and his conviction is now spent. Moreover, in the twenty odd years since the event, he has not been convicted of any other offences. Yes, I agree, convicted criminals deserve to be punished, and Gary Holness rather stupidly brought about the latest round of public scorn on himself by jumping into the media spotlight post 7/7, but surely there must be a point when we draw a line? The man served his sentence and later on in life, had his leg blown off. If CICA thinks he deserves a compensatory award, good luck to him. He has no job, is clearly not very bright and has attracted scorn and derision from the whole world. Don't we think he has been punished enough? Or does the Daily Mail think that anyone who has ever done anything wrong deserves to be left to the mercy of criminals for the rest of their life?

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