Justice must be blind – leader comment

Statues of ‘Lady Justice’ are usually depicted holding a set of scales, a sword and wearing a blindfold. The concept of ‘blind justice’ is an important one – the law should be administered without fear or favour.

The scales of justice should treat everyone equally

It is concerning enough that a sheriff in Dumbarton gave an absolute discharge to an 18-year-old dental student found guilty of sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl.

The sheriff concluded the teenager was “emotionally naive” and had acted out of “inappropriate curiosity”, rather than sexual gratification, according to the Judicial Office for Scotland.

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But the sheriff also took into account that “any recorded conviction for this offence would have serious consequences in terms of the accused’s future career” and “any sentence would mean that he would probably be unable to continue his university course”.

This begs the question would an unemployed teenager or a carpenter’s apprentice have been sent to prison? If so, that is an appalling affront to justice.

A crime is still a crime whether the offender is a pauper, a prince or anywhere in between.