Friday, May 25, 2012


Decent to me conveys a lot of meanings, from fair, to honest, good condition to a good human being in general. However it seems the courts have a different definition of decent to anyone else I know.
An accounts manager who left a student fighting for her life after smashing a wine glass into her neck walked free after a judge described her as a ‘decent young woman’.
Pretty blonde Claire Stephens, 23, attacked Rachel Spikula after the pair knocked into each other on the dance floor at Club 49 in London’s West End.
The American national was rushed to hospital in a passing ambulance after suffering a severed artery in the assault in the early hours of June 11, 2011.
Prosecutor Gavin Ludlow-Thompson said the victim would have been in serious danger had she not been treated so quickly.
‘Suggestions have been made that if the ambulance had not been there and the immediate treatment not been available this victim might very well have lost her life,’ he said.
But Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith spared Stephens from a jail term after hearing she was a ‘decent, hardworking, young woman.’
Now colour me sceptical,but anyone who goes out at night and glasses a random stranger who bumped into them on a dance floor does not strike me as being 'decent'. Drunk? Perhaps. Psychotic? Maybe. Shouldn't be allowed out in civilised company at night? Definitely.
As it is, she left a poor woman traumatised after the attack, with only three of the four arteries supplying the brain left intact. She's also become something of a recluse with severe emotional problems that may last a lifetime. Her attacker gets 10 months suspended for 2 years, so basically walks free and has a judges recommendation that she's apparently decent.
Steal stuff though and you could be looking at 5+ years, which shows you the weird and skewed priorities of our legal system, where property rights are treated far more seriously than violence.
I suspect rather than decent the Judge should have used the term 'of previous good character' which isn't the same as decent at all, but far more accurate.

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