21st January 2018

Recent attempts in Letters to Editors to defend our judges and magistrates against criticism entirely miss the point. Or, more accurately, the defenders try to divert attention by pretending to misunderstand the criticism – and that is really bad of them.
Their defence of the indefensible is very poor and we would have expected a more robust defence but alas their defence only reinforces the views currently held by the community – you are out of touch and your defence shows just how far.
We at the Community advocacy Alliance (CAA) have criticised judges and magistrates for making decisions on bail and custody matters – including sentences – which are entirely out of touch with community expectations and which do not protect citizens from predators.
We see such protection as a primary function of courts; they ought to be able to use the weapons the law gives them to minimise the chances of violent criminals re-offending. It makes little sense doing something that the offender perceives as “getting out of jail free”.
There must be adverse consequences for violent criminals who re-offend or who are convicted. If not, victims feel betrayed, police feel let down and frustrated, and the offender feels victorious.
If judges and magistrates are so hell-bent on NOT meeting community expectations, the very least they can do is stop expressing resentment at being criticised.
And the next thing they should do is expect to be made more publicly accountable for the manner in which they exercise the extensive discretion entrusted to them.
And finally they ought to accept responsibility for the consequences of their own incompetent decision-making.
Have a bit of backbone people! Stop kowtowing to the apologists for violent offenders, of any colour or creed. Stop releasing violent offenders again, and again, and again.