Why are jail sentences so lenient?

I wish to express my disgust at the justice system that has given a lenient sentence to the four men who doused an elderly man with petrol in his home and set fire to him. He has fourth degree burns and will probably lose his ears. He has had his lips and eyelids removed. The victim is suffering from a mental illness. He is in terrible pain and will never recover from the attack.

The four men, plus a fifth who is yet to be sentenced, have received short jail terms of about three years. I don’t understand why these monsters did not receive the maximum sentence of fifteen years. It was probably because they said sorry. I wish that word would disappear from legal situations. How does saying sorry make it all better now?

Can you believe that after the scumbags were sentenced their own families called out “We love you!” What is there to love is a question I often ask.

No wonder we have no respect for the legal system which pays more attention to perpetrators than victims of crime. There is something to be said for the Code of Hammurabi.

Incidentally, these monsters will be held in protective custody in jail…away from the smoking inmates, I guess.


7 thoughts on “Why are jail sentences so lenient?

  1. The crimes the defendants pled guilty to carried a maximum of ten years (not fifteen.) The term they were given was five years (not three), and was one year short of the term requested by the prosecution. That’s a typical (not low) term for people who plead guilty at an early stage and have no priors.


  2. I know that the sentence was for five years but the media said that they would be out in three. They usually are let out early. Secondly, the media said the maximum was 15 years. So it’s 10 years and had they got that they would have been out in 5. They only pleaded guilty to shorten their sentence and because they could not get out of it anyway. This is a ploy by defence counsel to abbreviate their clients’ sentences which is what they are paid to do. It does not change the fact that society regards, 5 or three or even ten years too brief for the horrendous crime of setting this poor defenceless man on fire. These monsters have no right to ever walk freely among us again and if the law believes differently then it is not reflecting the views of the rest of society. Which was exactly my point.


  3. Well, your point was that judges are too lenient. But, your ire should be directed at the Victorian Parliament and the Director of Public Prosecutions (Jeremy Rapke).


  4. Jeremy it’s the system as a whole that is letting us down and it’s not confined to Victoria. Judges are the ones who bring down judgements and they are the ones whom we see as representing the failures of the law. We also see that public prosecutors appeal against a light sentence on occasion. I realise that is their duty but we see them as championing our values.
    As an aside, I did not like that judges could stay in their jobs long after the rest of us were considered to be of retirement age and beyond our capacities. That has changed, thank goodness.


  5. Beats me why you see judges and prosecutors the way you do; it has nothing to do with what they actually do. The sentence in this case was entirely due to Rapke’s decision to accept a plea bargain.

    As for judicial retirement ages, that changed 32 years ago! You voted for it (I assume) in 1977.


  6. You will notice that I wrote the bit about geriatric judges in the past tense. It happened before you were born that judges in their eighties were still judging while other professions such as teachers etc had to lose their jobs. There was no logic in that except that judges did not want to give up their status. As I said, it was an aside about a custom that made no sense and was unfair to other people.

    As for plea bargains, they seem like a cop out to me when the defence does not think it can win. I am not as familiar with the law as you are, but I wonder if one can force a defendant to go to trial instead of accepting a lesser sentence. Just a question and I suppose there is a good reason for not doing so, but it sure would help the public understand why criminals get off with a lighter sentence.


  7. You can’t force a defendant to plead not guilty. But you don’t have to accept a plea to lesser charges. Rapke clearly could have charged the defendants in this case with, say, attempted murder, or causing serious injury (both carrying much higher maximum penalties.) He chose not to, probably because he had concerns about the cost of the trial (including to the victim, who would have to testify) and the state of the evidence. The downside is the lighter sentences. That’s why your venom (if you insist on spraying it anywhere) should be directed at Rapke.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s