IN THE week the Victims and Witnesses Commissioner Louise Casey criticises a ‘criminal’s justice system’ that ‘places the rights of lawbreakers above others’ I read in a single edition of the Examiner that in one case sentencing had been deferred yet again, another cannot begin because no court is available and another is scheduled to last at least six weeks.
What does that say about the efficiency of our judicial system? How much are these postponements costing?
Cases are taking months if not years to come to trial and can last for months. Victims, witnesses and defendants all suffer through these delays.
Perhaps the system of payments to members of the legal establishment should be tailored so that justice is meted out more quickly.
Ms Casey further states of the victim: ‘At virtually every stage of the criminal justice system they remain a sideshow compared to the processing of offenders or the interests of justice.
“They are a poor relation when it comes to how money is spent, how services are focused and how ‘fairness’ in the criminal justice system is pursued.”
She has hit the nail on the head.
I’m all in favour of a defendant’s right to have their day in court but all too often the victim and their family are treated as if they are the villains.
It’s just the job
CALL me old-fashioned if you like, but I think any of us who want the Examiner to give us space for our views should accept two bits of responsibility.
First, we should be willing to explain what we say, if asked to.
Second, unless we are in a witness protection programme to save us from the Mob, we should give our names.
So, I’m disappointed that Peter Garside and ‘JF’ (on public sector workers’ alleged uselessness) and Jerry Condon (on how Labour caused the economic crash of 1931) haven’t accepted my invitation to explain their views.
I look forward to reading their replies soon.
There is, after all, a huge difference between making a valid point and making a noise – between explaining your ideas, and blowing down a vuvuzela. The vuvuzela makes a huge racket, grabs attention, but drowns out thought and doesn’t contribute anything.
Mr Garside did reply to D Griffiths (‘Trimming the surplus,’ July 14). He accused DG of making a very general point, saying ‘...public sector employees trot out the same tired old mantras’ about loss of front-line jobs’.
However, he then went on to make a much more vague point about how the money he wants us to cut could come from council jobs such as ‘... European programme policy officers ...You couldn’t make these jobs up. But you can get rid of them.’
To be taken seriously, he needs to say how many of these jobs there are. And how much money would be saved if they went. I don’t have those figures, so might I ask Mr Garside to share his numbers with us? Mind, I have to say that there’ll need to be a huge load of these money-wasters.
Let me repeat my point. The Government is going to cut spending by £40bn more than even ‘the markets’ says it ought to.
I can’t see how it can do that without undermining the services we depend on, whether we realise it or not – and there will be a lot of folk who won’t know what they had until it’s gone.
I can add two details on these non-jobs. First, a European Programme Policy Officer’s main job is to get money from ‘Europe’ for his/her local council and area. We’re talking millions here. Most of us would be surprised at how much we get.
Second, one example regularly trotted out is Southwark Council’s Community Space Challenger Coordinator. OK, it sounds like a low-grade Star Trek technician. However, it’s based on the belief that the devil makes work for idle hands.
Juliette Green, who has the job, gets young offenders to take care of open spaces, to improve the area they live in. They’ve made community gardens and allotments. They’ve got rid of graffiti.
They’ve grown and given away seedlings for locals to plant at home. The result? Their area has got less trouble from youngsters hanging around. Shopkeepers say things have got easier for them. Sounds worth doing to me!
R A Vant
Hunting Act repeal bid
ARE readers aware that there is a major campaign running to repeal the Hunting Act, which would see a return to the horrendous barbarity of the past by making hare hunting and coursing, stag hunting and fox hunting legal again?
This multi-million pound campaign is supported by a number of senior politicians and the Government is allowing the House of Commons time to debate the issue once again – as if 700 hours of parliamentary time wasn’t enough last time around.
I support the League Against Cruel Sports and their campaign to keep the Hunting Act. Almost 140 people have been convicted under the Act and there are a number of cases going through the courts right now.
Almost nine in 10 of the public support the ban on hare hunting and coursing and we must all now tell our elected representatives how important it is that they respect our collective feeling, and vote to protect our wildlife – not vote to legalise ritualistic abuse for ‘fun’.
Praise for Praisers
ON behalf of Christ Church, New Mill, may I thank the many people who contributed to the Songs of Praise programme which was recorded in the Holme Valley on July 5, to be screened on Sunday, August 29 by the BBC?
It was a very special event with a wide array of local talent on show. It was especially pleasing to have Lesley Garratt singing in church, and to meet and work with Pam Rhodes. Hepworth Brass Band and Dr Geoffrey Lockwood on organ provided the beautiful accompaniment.
It was good for our community which has benefited from the long running TV series Last of the Summer Wine to be asked to provide a celebration of all that the programme has produced locally.
The Holme Valley is an all year round tourist hot spot. We host a vibrant go-ahead community which not enjoys excellent local musicians and singers but also inventors, poets, writers, artists, dancers and thespians. Soon we will be able to knit yoghurt!
A very warm and genuine thank you to all involved.
Team Rector, Upper Holme Valley Team Ministry
I WOULD like to say thank you to the very kind person who returned my daughter’s handbag which she lost on Friday evening in Huddersfield after celebrating her boyfriend’s graduation with his parents and friends.
Having spent a day cancelling cards etc it was a fantastic relief to receive back the phone, camera and the bag itself which had special significance. There really must be a God out there.
Resident of Shepley
Let’s be positive
AS a relative with personal responsibility for the well-being of a home care client, and thus for the service she receives, I would very much endorse the concerns over security.
Over the years I have had a number of concerns over various aspects of home care. However I do not go around peering into people’s cars, photographing the contents and getting it displayed in the Press, an action which denigrates home care staff in general and presents those who haven’t already thought of it with yet another possible means of anti-social behaviour.
I would suggest that the fault lies primarily with Kirklees for not dealing promptly with the problem and telling the complainant that they had done so.
It is evident that the material was from TLC, a company taken over in the last few months by Domus Homecare. My opinion is that there are considerable problems to be sorted out and that Julia Bland, appointed as manager only six weeks ago, should not be blamed and have her already difficult job made worse. I find her to be highly professional, caring and very approachable. Many of her carers are people of kindness and integrity. Please do not castigate them all for what was spied through a car window.
I am very confident that under Domus/Julia Bland we shall see a much improved service.
P A Lunn
Costly home care ...
THE potential increase in home care charges by 10% is disgusting.
I have used home care for my mother since 2001 and the care provided has never been satisfactory since it went to private companies.
We are still paying council tax. All facilities used are our own – food, lighting, heating and so on.
I would be very interested to see where the Crosland Moor and Netherton Labour member arrived at her figures – anyone can state there is ‘a massive subsidy’.
How about a breakdown as to how many people are using the service compared to how many people are unable to pay?
... and day care
I HAVE just read your article on the whopping 60% rise in day care charges, which I think is disgusting.
I have a daughter who gets day care five days a week. The service we receive isn’t brilliant, so there is no way that I’ll be paying the extra charges.