BBC NEWS | UK | Lords issue landmark abuse ruling
Does this ruling make anyone else uncomfortable?
I wholly support the ruling which enables, for example, victims of child abuse to pursue their abusers beyond the previous six year limit. That seems fair and sensible. However, in the specific case of the victim of the man the tabloids called the "Lotto Rapist", I am less clear. To be sure, the man’s crime was dreadful, he was rightly convicted and served the sentence handed down to him. Whether or not that sentence, or the compensation awarded, was sufficient should be a separate matter. The fact that the man won his lottery fortune with a ticket purchased whilst on day release from prison is also a separate matter – although the amazingly slim odds of that happening have made the man a tabloid’s dream. Had the man come by his fortune by any other means: an inheritance perhaps, or even through working hard after having served the sentence which the courts and society laid on him, would this have come to court? Would this have become such a public spectacle? Would the result have been different? I cannot avoid the feeling that the victim – deserving though she undoubtedly is – has been given a second bite at the cherry. This feels unjust.
And to be clear, I would support a law which placed an obligation upon criminals convicted of serious crimes that some percentage or proportion of any future earnings or good fortune be awarded to their victim. That to me feels just. Taking a second shot at a high profile, convicted criminal is not.