DRS GETS IT RIGHT...
Well, it may not be working in cricket too well but the judicial appeal process has come up with a couple of good decisions in the last couple of days. First there was the appeal by former Lost Prophet Ian Watkins to reduce his 35-year sentence for a string of sex offences against children, one of which was the attempted rape of a baby. But one of the judges who heard the case said that the punishment handed down was appropriate, saying, "These offences against children were of shocking depravity, which demanded a very lengthy prison sentence."
In another heartening judgement, two convicted killers who argued that a ban on prisoners voting in the Scottish independence referendum infringed their human rights, lost their bid to overturn it in the UK`s highest court. In yet another outbreak of common sense, the Tory Scottish justice spokesperson, one Margaret Mitchell, welcomed the decision, saying, "Voting is a basic human right and it is completely correct that you forfeit that right when you commit a crime and are sent to prison."
So, Judges 2 - Appellants 0. (Although the cynic and minor rebel in me suggests that giving the referendum vote to Scottish prisoners might just help the cause for independence - every little helps and all that.)
But to go by these two decisions at least, it gives hope that the judicial decision review system might be beginning to get it right. The other interesting decision this week seems to have been the awarding of £680,000 to Sharon Shoesmith, sacked as head of Children`s Services in Haringey Council following the appalling murder of Baby P on her watch. Now there has been a bit of an outcry about the amount of compensation involved here but it might be worth remembering that the Appeal Court ruled last year that the then Children`s Secretary, Ed Balls, removed Shoesmith from her post in December 2008 and was partly responsible for Haringey`s subsequently unlawful decision to sack her without compensation.
Justice is justice, whatever the circumstances and however much the massive amount of compensation might grate, especially with the Council taxpayers of Haringey, Mrs. Shoesmith had been denied due process which, at least in the eyes of the law, has now been recognised as another `basic human right.` Just a pity Baby P didn`t enjoy the same privilege.