Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Terminological Imprecision

Sentencing an unbelievably callous and devious young man who gravely injured his girlfriend while driving unlicensed, uninsured, and drunk or drugged or both and then drove her battered body home, forbidding anyone to call the police until he realised that she had died, the judge, Alan Goldsack, QC, the Recorder of Sheffield, said:-

“When you found Kirsty seriously injured, you had no thought for anyone but yourself.

“This a not a sentence of 4½ years. It is effectively a life sentence where the minimum you serve is 4½ years. It might be very much longer.

The judge was careful to explain the sentence, and for once it was properly reported, at least in one paper. It reinforces my strong view that the life sentence needs a new name so that the public can understand just what is being done on their behalf.

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