Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cash for Good Causes

Like the Diana Fountain saga, which demonstrated the unique blend of sentimentality, fantasy and incompetence characteristic of much public spending, the Lottery Rapist story lights up the state of British 'justice' like a lightning flash.


For many years prisoners on release have been forbidden to enter licensed gambling premises. Meanwhile British culture has changed - the State lottery now enables gambling in the filling station, the post office, the supermarket. The rules for prisoners haven't changed though - our rapist is free to keep his £7 million.


The judge at his first trial in June 1973 jailed him for three years. In a British prison you never serve your full sentence - that would be too harsh. Hoare was released early and by November 1975, when he should still have been inside, he was back in court for another attack on a woman.


He had been released early once, only to offend again and be convicted. Surely that would be an end of early release ? But to the probation officers and social workers of the Criminal Justice system he was still capable of redemption, of being reformed. Give him another chance. Sentenced to four years in November 1975, less that THREE years later he was back in court charged with assault and indecent assault - crimes again committed when he should have been in prison. This time he got four years.

We must assume he was let out early and avoided being convicted again until June 1983, almost a year after he should have finished his sentence. This time the charges were rape and indecent assault, the sentence seven years. Naturally he was released early, and only five years after sentence was attempting to rape a retired teacher.

This time the judge had had enough.

"Paramount in my mind is that every moment you are at liberty some woman is at risk and I believe it to be my duty to protect, so far as I am able, women from the risk you represent.

"This is the last in a long line of appalling offences committed against women and the only sentence I can pass is one of imprisonment for life."

Life ? Fifteen years and he's on day release. He'll be out soon.

The superannuated hippies who make up the modern British probation service are convinced he won't reoffend. I wonder what odds you'd get at the bookies ?

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