Letter: Failures of justice

Your readers will be reassured that our justice system has been in good hands under the Labour, Lib Dem and SNP administrations.

Serial offenders are given jail sentences only after clocking up 30, 40 and even 50 convictions (your report, 4 February); and a mere four-year sentence was given despite a victim impact statement by a mother which "moved the judge to tears", asking for more sentences of the maximum 14 years to be imposed for causing death by dangerous driving (your report, 1 February).

Furthermore, more than 25 per cent of criminals given "life" sentences serve less than ten years; and under 25 per cent served more than 14 years, though that has increased to 50 per cent of those released in 2009-10.

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A sheriff complained last week that he was forced to give a career criminal, with 160 offences in 24 years, Scotland's first "community payback order" of 60 hours instead of jail.

Surely it is high time politicians set minimum sentences for crime categories, with judges determining maximum sentences without limitation. This was mooted during Michael Howard's disputes with the judiciary when home secretary, to no avail.


Horseleys Park

St Andrews, Fife

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