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Monday, February 12, 2007 

Scum-watch: Ignoring their own role in perpetuating misery.

The mother of the victim of paedophile Craig Sweeney today gives a moving interview to the Sun about how they're still living in agony, and how the system seems to have failed them, especially in how counselling took months to get. It should go without saying that such difficulties are completely unacceptable, and that more needs to be done for those who find themselves the victims of such traumatic and devastating crimes.

The main ire though is based on the Sun's story last week on how Sweeney might be getting a place in a "quiet wing". As ever, the reality may not be quite that painted by the Sun, as a spokesman for Wakefield jail makes clear at the end of the article:

Last night the Prison Service said: “HMP Wakefield is conducting a scoping exercise on whether a quiet wing in the prison is viable. No decisions have been made.”

Wakefield is also far from being a safe haven for its notorious inmates, as reports from the weekend made clear:

Bath snatch paedophile Peter Voisey has been beaten up in jail. The 35-year-old pervert, who kidnapped and raped a six-year-old girl after snatching her from the bath in her Tyneside home, was punched in the face by a Pakistani inmate after calling him a "terrorist".

His attacker, who is not a sex offender, said to him: "In my country you'd be hanged for what you did."

The Sun article also of course doesn't happen to mention their own role in making sure that Sweeney wasn't given a potentially harsher sentence. While Sweeney was given life, and may well remain inside for the full 18 years (or longer, if he's judged to still be a risk to the public) that the sentence set down, the judge followed the sentencing formula devised by the government which gives a discount for pleading guilty and then also sets a minimum term which has to be served before parole will be considered. Using the formula, this meant that Sweeney could potentially be free within 6 years, although to say that's unlikely would be the same kind of understatement akin to suggesting Hitler was only slightly naughty.

It was the Sun's outrage, picked up by John Reid, new in the Home Secretary hot-seat, that meant that the attorney general was unable to send the sentence to the appeal court to consider as unduly lenient. They are as much to blame as anyone else for the continuing misery of Sweeney's victims' family. As before, they're betraying the very victims of crime that they so pledge to fight for.

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