Many years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Colman Treacy QC in action prosecuting an attempt murder in Birmingham. All I can say is you wouldn't have wanted to come up against him.
Today - now a judge - he has weighed off the killers of Craig Hodson-Walker for 34 years apiece.
It's not enough, but it's a damn sight better than most murderers get.
The above quote, from a police blog of course, expresses the usual view that no sentence is ever long enough. It does raise the question of how long would be long enough - although in my extensive saloon-bar research most people of that mindset go on to express a preference for capital punishment anyway.
Many magistrates go out to speak to schools and community groups on a regular basis, and some of the available handouts feature sentencing exercises in which the audience are taken through the facts of a real but anonymised case and it is always a pleasant surprise when ordinary people who have heard all of the facts and considered all of the options pitch their sentence, as most do, squarely within the range that the original bench chose.
Some sections of the media have a clear agenda to mislead the public about sentencing in the hope of stirring up indignation and selling more papers, the recent Hussain case being an example. The resulting cynicism doesn't help society, in my view.
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