Sometimes I read stories in the press that make my blood boil. Today is one of those days, and the deeper I dig, the more furious I get.
The articles I have read today relate to two deplorable individuals that have been convicted of offences as serious and gut-wrenching as raping children as young as eight and attempting to murder a Police Officer. It would appear that the severity of their crimes have done nothing to prevent them being pandered to by the Criminal Justice system.
Morris Petch (above left) was originally convicted in 2007 for offences committed on various occasions between 17 September 1990 and 4 June 1992 at two addresses in Edinburgh.
Firstly he assaulted a girl who was just 10 years old (at the time she became involved with him) by making her perform oral sex on him and one other before repeatedly raping her.
Secondly he assaulted the same girl again at the same time as another, who was just 8 at the time. On this occasion he made them take off their clothes, lie on the sofa bed and perform oral sex on each other before, yet again, rape them.
Petch was sentenced to 12 years for these offences, and in my mind should have served at least that with a small surgical procedure thrown in for good measure!
Robert Foye (above right) was convicted in 2002 of the attempted murder of Detective Constable James Lafferty by driving a car at him in a cul-de-sac at Tarbolton Road, Kildrum, Cumbernauld, on November 6th 2001. He was also convicted of offences of theft of motor vehicles and dangerous driving. He was jailed for 10 years for these crimes.
In 2007, Foye absconded from Dundee's Castle Huntly prison after being allowed out to attend an "Alcoholics Anonymous" meeting. I have several issues with this....
Why on earth did the prison allow a violent criminal (who had previously absconded from prison just two years earlier) to leave for such a meeting. Also, after being in jail for five years, what on earth could have meant he needed such help! Surely he wasn't allowed to become or remain an alcoholic for all those years? I would have thought that being in prison would have guaranteed five years of sobriety - unless of course Scottish prisons are as close to Butlins as English ones seem to be...
Whilst on the run, on 24 August 2007, Foye committed a further sexual offence in a wooded area at Dowanfield Road, Cumbernauld. On this occasion Foye assaulted a 16-year-old girl by grabbing her by the neck, placing his hand over her mouth and pulling her into a wooded area. Once there he repeatedly punched her to the head, pulled her to the ground, kissed her on the mouth, kissed and handled her breasts, then pulled down her trousers and pants, forced her legs apart and raped her.
He was re-captured and faced trial for this latest offence, being convicted in October 2008 and receiving a sentence of a minimum of nine years in prison, in addition to an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR).
Both these individuals have demonstrated their complete lack of moral compatibility with other members of the population and, in my view, should be forcibly separated from it until they breathe their final breath.
However, as we still afford these monsters the same rights as those that have not raped our children and attempted to kill our Police officers, Petch and Foye have been allowed to challenge the length of their prison sentences. Their appeal was successful, and in March this year, judges overruled previous guidelines for setting the punishment part of discretionary life sentences and orders for lifelong restriction.
Based on the revised guidelines, judges Lord Osborne, sitting with Lords Woolman and Wheatley said Foye can now make a bid for release after serving four-and-a-half years - a reduction of 50%. Petch can ask for early release after just eight years - a reduction of one-third from the length of the original sentence.
In an attempt to justify his decision, Lord Osborne who oversaw the appeal, said it may be of some comfort to those concerned that, after that time, Foye would only be freed if the parole board were satisfied he no longer posed a threat to the public. It is also true that no prisoner given an OLR, such as the one imposed on Foye, has been freed, no matter how short their minimum sentence.
If this is the case, I fail to see the benefit in any reduction. All the judgement serves to do is open the door to a future appeal once the reduced minimum term has been served, and allow the possibility of a further ruling allowing the release of these two animals into an unsuspecting world; free to offend again.