9 votes

This is why we don't leave justice in the hands of victims

8 comments

  1. acdw Link
    This sentence, and the last paragraph, summarize a feeling I've been having in this "age of outrage" : we must remember that we are all people, with our complex inner universes that are...

    And we can only do this if we recognise that whatever horrors a person has committed, they remain a human being.

    This sentence, and the last paragraph, summarize a feeling I've been having in this "age of outrage" : we must remember that we are all people, with our complex inner universes that are inalienable from us. That's a big reason I think social justice programs like police reform and practicing antiracism are so important, but it's also important to remember that bigots and monsters are people too. I don't really know where to put this feeling, because it's hard to rectify with the very real thirst for justice and even vengeance. And even on a macro level: as I was reading the article, I thought about how thin this gruel must be for people of color or who are in communities that are consistently unfairly targeted by the police and the justice system -- where is their justice? If they don't deserve to be seen as people in the eyes of the law, why does this man, who's done far more heinous crimes for far longer, get the benefit of the doubt?

    7 votes
  2. [7]
    FZeroRacer Link
    I'm afraid I can't agree with this at all. There are two levels of which people are angry. The first is obvious: He committed an incredibly grave crime and got a relatively light punishment. Your...

    I'm afraid I can't agree with this at all.

    There are two levels of which people are angry. The first is obvious: He committed an incredibly grave crime and got a relatively light punishment. Your views on this are likely going to depend on whether you believe in rehabilitation or not versus the gravity of the crime. Not only that, but a witch hunt requires someone to not actually be a witch, so I think taking into account how he's been publicly vilified is an attempt to downplay the actual crimes he committed.

    The second is less so: People are angry at the trend of injustice across the world. The fact that people in positions of power can get away with crimes like this and receive a lighter punishment. Why? Because they 'lived a good life' or because he happens to have the right skin color. People are mad not just at the results of the case, but the fact that this continues to be a problem, that people continue to be let off relatively light and that there's a disregard for equality under the law. Obviously we should always be wary of making justice synonymous with revenge...but justice has to be weighed equally, or else it might as well not exist at all.

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      But there are four sets of crimes that Cardinal Pell is associated with: The ones he personally committed. The ones he may have helped to cover up when he was a bishop and archbishop. The ones he...

      Not only that, but a witch hunt requires someone to not actually be a witch, so I think taking into account how he's been publicly vilified is an attempt to downplay the actual crimes he committed.

      But there are four sets of crimes that Cardinal Pell is associated with:

      • The ones he personally committed.

      • The ones he may have helped to cover up when he was a bishop and archbishop.

      • The ones he was supposed to sort out when he created the Melbourne Response scheme to compensate victims.

      • The ones he had no association with, other than being a Catholic official while other Catholic officials committed them.

      The judge was careful to point out that Pell was on trial for, and being sentenced for, only the first set of crimes: only the ones he is known to have personally committed. A lot of people are venting their anger about all child abuse conducted by all Catholic priests at this one man - when he wasn't even vaguely connected to those other crimes. That's the "witchhunt" the judge was referring to. Maybe "scapegoating" would have been a better word. But the point still remains that Pell was not on trial for all child abuse conducted by all representatives of the Catholic Church, only for his own crimes

      Anyway, a 6-year sentence for a 77-year-old man in ill health is close to a life sentence. What would be the point of sentencing him to a total of 20 years in jail (10 years' maximum each for 2 crimes)? He wouldn't live to the end of it anyway. So he effectively got a near-life sentence for his crimes.

      Also, those maximum sentences have to be reserved for the worst crimes, or the worst offenders; they are maximums, after all, not minimums. I read earlier this week about another Catholic priest in Queensland who took primary school-aged boys into the forest and took naked photographs of them over a period of years. There are also priests who abused many boys in many locations across decades. Pell's crimes are not as serious as those crimes, and the sentencing needed to reflect that.

      4 votes
      1. [5]
        FZeroRacer Link Parent
        The judge was careful to point out the crimes he was on trial for, yes. But then to say that he lived a good life or had good character in the years since is to fly in the face of everything else...

        The judge was careful to point out the crimes he was on trial for, yes. But then to say that he lived a good life or had good character in the years since is to fly in the face of everything else we know about him. The judge's logic no longer holds under scrutiny because he's effectively throwing out everything else in order to assume that he lived a good life, which is absolutely outside of the scope of this trial. He is, effectively, cherry picking things outside of the trial and disregarding everything else.

        It would be no wonder that the victims would be upset with the judge's line of logic considering how absurd it is.

        1 vote
        1. [4]
          cadadr Link Parent
          Not really, it seems to me. I am totally unfamiliar with the case, but this belief that these criminals are evil antagonists is childish. It is totally possible that this guy abused people for a...

          The judge's logic no longer holds under scrutiny because he's effectively throwing out everything else in order to assume that he lived a good life, which is absolutely outside of the scope of this trial.

          Not really, it seems to me. I am totally unfamiliar with the case, but this belief that these criminals are evil antagonists is childish. It is totally possible that this guy abused people for a while, and then stopped it and carried on with his life, for a multitude of possible reasons, and in a decent way thereafter. It is also totally in the scope of the trial, given if he persisted throughtout his life on being a sexual offender, it is a different case from if he did it N times X years ago.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            vakieh Link Parent
            Every day he didn't admit what he did is a day he deepened his guilt. Every single goddamned day.

            Every day he didn't admit what he did is a day he deepened his guilt. Every single goddamned day.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              cadadr Link Parent
              Even tho I share the emotion of your comment, I have to admit this is irrational from a legal perspective. Who on earth admits to wrongdoing, especially if they'll need to face big damages as a...

              Even tho I share the emotion of your comment, I have to admit this is irrational from a legal perspective. Who on earth admits to wrongdoing, especially if they'll need to face big damages as a consequence? Especially when it is strategically possible to just cover up? I do not mean to legitimise such behaviour, but is it reasonable to expect it? Could we fill an A4 paper with the names of such highly ethical people who turn themselves to authorities out of repentance?

              1. vakieh Link Parent
                a) the answers are irrelevant. Behaviour can be both reasonably expected and abhorrent. b) there are PLENTY of people who have turned themselves in for crimes, from serial killers to petty thieves.

                a) the answers are irrelevant. Behaviour can be both reasonably expected and abhorrent.
                b) there are PLENTY of people who have turned themselves in for crimes, from serial killers to petty thieves.