A rare thank you to the Government for putting a bit more justice into the justice system, says Mercy Muroki
I will take any win where I can get one on this issue
Regular punters will know that I speak a lot about how we don’t hand down long-enough sentences for people who abuse and kill children.
And for new viewers: Hello, I’m Mercy and I bang on a lot about child killers.
Because, for me, it is THE single most pressing criminal justice moral question of our day – at least here in the United Kingdom.
Why are people in this country allowed to traffic, torture, sexually abuse, and even murder children knowing full well in all likelihood, they will be let out of jail?
Please, someone make it make sense.
You might recall recent cases such as Arthur Labinjo Hughes and Star Hobson.
Star was brutally murdered after months of neglect and cruelty, at 16-months-old. Her mother’s female partner was jailed for a minimum of 25 years for her murder, her mother was jailed for 12 years for causing or allowing her death.
You might also remember the absolutely harrowing case of little Arthur Labinjo Hughes, tortured, poisoned, starved.
His father’s partner was given a minimum of 29 years for murder, his father was sentenced to 21 years.
Now you might think – well 20 years is a LONG time. But, is it? Lets go back 20 years. This time 20 years ago, 9/11 had already happened.
Brazil’s Ronaldo’s two goals saw Brazil win their 5th World Cup.
The Queen Mother sadly passed away.
We saw double-child Killer Ian Huntley charged with the murders of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
But there was some good news that year: the Queen had her Golden Jubilee, and Girls Aloud‘s debut single ‘Sound of the Underground’ was Christmas Number one.
Now, I can actually REMEMBER these events – and I am but a mere adolescent. 20 years is really not a long time.
But do you remember this name? Tony Hudgell.
Tony is a gorgeous little boy, now the same age as my daughter actually, who lost his legs after being abused by his parents when he was four months old.
His parents were each sentenced to… get this: TEN years in prison… in 2018 for leaving him with injuries the doctors did not even expmect him to survive.
10 years was the maximum at the time – which is bonkers.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to report that there IS GOOD NEWS today on the child abusers front.
And I can’t believe I’m saying this to be quite honest but from this week, child abusers WILL be facing tougher penalties.
The new legislation has been dubbed ‘Tony’s Law’, named after the now seven-year-old. It comes after tireless campaigning by Tony’s family.
Under the changes, brought in by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, anyone who causes or allows the death of a child or vulnerable adult in their care will now face up to life imprisonment – rather than the current 14-year maximum.
Now, there’s a long way to go. For instance, the offence of causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child, and cruelty to a person under 16, now has a maximum of 14 years – which is still too low, in my opinion.
But, my goodness, I will take any win where I can get one on this issue. They really don’t come around often.
So, a big thank you to Tony’s adoptive family for their love and commitment. And a rare thank you to the Government, for putting a bit more justice, into the justice system