Another poor sentence for a hate-crime against the disabled

I sat in my kitchen yesterday afternoon, switched on the laptop, and checked the Google newsfeed on the site. A headline from The Guardian attracted my attention and I clicked through. My wife wandered in looked at the screen and asked me the blindingly obvious – “whatcha doin?”

“Reading a news story on The Guardian”, I replied.

“Oh. What’s it about?” So I read aloud.

“The details are sickening. For three days a gang of 18-year-olds tortured a younger autistic boy. They kicked him, stamped on his head, scraped his skin with sandpaper, pelted him with dog shit, forced him to drink alcohol until he passed out and stuck tape to his genitals.” (With apologies to The Guardian for quoting from this article.)

My wife didn’t want to hear any more. So I read the full piece to myself. It’s written by a father of a child with profound learning difficulties so, like me, he probably has strong personal feelings about this rather than an unbiased view. But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Again, with apologies to The Guardian, the article went on to say “The thugs laughed as they filmed themselves abusing their terrified victim …  And why did they carry out these vile assaults? Simply because they were bored, they told a court this week … Apparently Jonathan Geake, the so-called judge in the case, sympathised with their predicament. The three assailants were given just 80 hours’ unpaid community work and a three-month curfew. No signing of the sex offenders register, despite the sexual overtones to the attack. No jail sentence. No justice.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself. This has nothing to do with boredom and everything to do with, ignorance, lack of respect for others, and living in a society that, by its apparent in-action, sends out a signal to idiots like this that it’s OK to do this kind of thing.

Mencap has reacted to the weak sentencing in this case (read their statement) by leading a campaign to get the attorney general to review it. Shame on him if he does not.

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