Society should set sentence for those who kill

From: Paul Emsley, Newton Way, Hellifield, Nr Settle, North Yorkshire.

WE demand justice when young people are slaughtered in Norway and Belgium. We expect international condemnation when children are killed in Syria and Gaza. We hope that an American soldier is executed for murdering young children in Afghanistan. So what do we do about a little girl maimed in south London?

The Justice Secretary and the author of the report on the 2011 riots will probably blame it on the breakdown of family cohesion and certain young people being deprived of good education and “things to do”? I believe that is disrespectful of people who make a life for themselves and their families, in spite of everything life throws at them.

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The thugs, who could have easily killed the little girl, will probably get a life sentence and be out in six years with a new identity. She will still be in a wheelchair.

It would be a lesson to a part of our population for the three to be executed. It would be a lesson for the three to get hard labour for life and die in prison. It would be a lesson for the three to be shot in the spine and experience permanent disability. But none of these lessons will happen.

Accepting that somebody who is killed by a hit-and-run driver is just as dead as somebody who is shot or stabbed in the heart, I believe that society should set the punishment for people who maim and kill. Allow the process of law to judge the case on the evidence, but allow people to set the punishment, not the politicians, judges and lawyers who seem to live on another planet.

I believe that society is far more level-headed than the above give us credit for and if society chooses the ultimate punishment, then who are the judiciary to refuse that?