Only Wednsday and two big criminal justice stories this week - firstly the truly horrendous gang rape of a vulnerable teenage girl which merited truly derisory sentences - of six, eight and nine years for the three defendants. These three were resposible for luring a vulnerable girl to a disused flat - subjected her to an inhuman attack - filmed it - injured her with caustic soda to try and destroy any forensic evidence, and thereby left her with physical as well as mental scars.
And then pleaded not guilty - forcing a trial - and then throughout the trial smirked and played up to their friends in the public gallery. The Coppersblog website reports that the derisory sentences - which - in real time - allowing deductions for time spent on remand - will equate to about two and a half to four years in custody.
This is nowhere near enough, and the lack of a media led outcry against such piss-poor sentencing is a disgrace.
I cannot for a moment understand how the sentencing Judge thought this was even remotely appropriate. Even allowing for some really heart rending mitigation by M'lud's colleagues at the Bar - and let's face it - all three would have had to have claimed to have suffered similar fates themselves to even come remotely near arguing for some leniency - how are sentences like these a punishment or deterrence. They are more like a passing annoyance. Were any of these three first time offenders? I don't know - but I strongly doubt it.
On the other hand, a team of animal rights fanatics have been sent away for a range of sentences from four to eleven years for a campaign of threats, intimidation, blackmail and damage against Huntingdon Life Sciences. This group were involved a long standing conspiracy and were highly committed and motivated. They too terrified and intimidated their victims - but unlike Rogel McMorris, Jason Brew and Hector Muaimba - I don't believe the SHAC members actually maimed anyone. (But had they felt it necessary - I'm sure they would have done more than think about it).
Different Courts, different cases, different judges. One where the sentence fits the crime - the other pitiful by comparison. One where a single female victim was taking the stand - the other where companies and business people were attacked. One where the motivation was in the defence of helpless others - the other where the motivations were lust and hate.
The sentences in the rape case were bad enough - but when held up against another awful and horrifying record of criminal vileness - it makes me feel ashamed of what passes for justice in this country.