THE march in London by bereaved families shows the sheer frustration many feel they have with the criminal justice system.
The sisters, mum and grandmother of murdered Huddersfield four-year-old Ryan Hawkins are joining the high profile campaign by Families Fighting For Justice when they march through the capital’s streets on Monday, May 3 – just three days before the General Election.
Their timing is impeccable in that it will push law and order up the political agenda immediately before polling day.
The group believes that a life sentence should mean life in more cases and are angry that Ryan’s killer – his father Christopher Hawkins – will serve 21 years in jail for stabbing his son to death. He also savagely attacked Ryan’s sister, Donna, and she was lucky to survive. Ryan’s aunt, Helen Beresford, believes the starting point for a murder conviction should be 30 years.
Setting such a tariff for all murders may be unfair. Some are cold-blooded, evil killings and deserve that tariff and more, yet other killers may still end up with a murder conviction even if there may be strong mitigation for their actions. Women who kill violent partners are just one example.
So perhaps don’t set the tariff in stone.
But the courts owe it to the victims and their families that the sentence should fit the crime so the families’ opinions and victim impact statements should be given more emphasis by judges when it comes to passing sentence.
And, certainly, there are many who believe that Christopher Hawkins should never set foot outside a prison gate again.