One of this government’s big ideas for
wrecking with ill-considered populist measures modernising the justice system is, when a trial really is unavoidable — you can’t hand out on the spot fines for murder, after all — to give the victims and their family ‘a greater say’ in the sentencing process. This has had a less than enthusiastic reception from many people involved in the administration of justice, but Lord Falconer is keen, nevertheless. Back in June,
Lord Falconer told the North of England Victims’ Association those who lost loved ones to crime were in effect handed life sentences.
He said a pilot scheme to let relatives make court statements before killers are sentenced must show “just” results.
I just hope they don’t come across any grieving relatives like Zarvari Bibi, the mother of the taxi driver Jamshed Khan, who was allegedly murdered in Pakistan by Mirza Tahir Hussain Mr Hussain is from Leeds and is to be hanged on New Year’s Eve, despite grave concerns about both the quality of the evidence and the legality of his conviction in Pakistan. His execution was supposed to be on November 1st but was postponed because it might spoil Charles’ and Camilla’s visit, with which it would have coincided. We’ll all have our minds on other matters come New Year’s Eve, obviously, and politicians will be taking a well-deserved break so they won’t be making a fuss, either.Anyway, here’s the victim’s mother:
Zarvari Bibi, the dead man’s mother, said last night: “I visit the graveyard every day and spend the whole day sitting near [my son’s] grave and return in the evening.
“God has done justice and it should be pursued and they should also provide justice. I demand it from them.
“They should do what is right and what is the will of God. The case has been decided by all sides and that decision should be implemented.”
She said that if Mr Hussain is not hanged, she will take her own life by setting herself on fire.
Mrs Bibi’s family could have had the death sentence commuted, had they been willing to accept a financial payment from Mr Hussain’s relatives in return.
While obviously Zarvari Bibi should have everyone’s deepest sympathy for her terrible loss, it’s difficult to see what assistance she — or someone who, understandably enough, felt as does she — could be to any British court in determining an appropriate sentence; she’d demand a full term life sentence and would be dissatisfied when the judge had to tell her, as he would, that her son’s murder didn’t attract one. And it wouldn’t bring her son back, of course.
Technorati tags: Mirza Tahir Hussain, death penalty, Pakistan, UK, Press, Victims’ Rights