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Monday, January 26, 2009 

A true victims' champion.

It's a truly inspirational choice on the part of government to make Sara Payne "victims' champion" for just one simple reason. If she was to get her way, the one thing you can rest assured there would be is more victims. Payne's campaign, thankfully mostly frustrated, has been to introduce a version of Megan's law in this country. The NSPCC published an extensive report which looked in detail into the evidence for whether the law had worked - and found that there was nothing to suggest that any child had been made safer as a result. On the contrary, there is evidence to suggest the opposite - that registration levels of sex offenders, which had previously been over 90%, had dropped to 80%, while the recording of vigilante attacks against those "named and shamed" was hardly bothered with. When the purpose of the law is to make offenders more visible and children as a result safer, that seems as close to failing as it's possible to imagine.

Payne's appointment if anything seems to be a government attempt to deflect flak. Having already buttered her up by giving her an MBE in the New Year's honours, she's doubtless to be more inclined to defend the government than say, a Helen Newlove. She's already stated that she thought she was treated excellently by the system, while Newlove complained bitterly about her experience. Whenever a tabloid now complains about how shoddy the criminal justice system is, they can point to Payne and say look, we are doing something, honest!

While Blair's mission to "rebalance the justice system in favour of the victim" has been quietly abandoned under Brown, again thankfully, Payne's appointment is still the hint that the government is beholden to the view that the criminals have it all their own way and that prison is now comparable to a stay in a more regimental, same-sex Butlins. Louise Casey's report last year, the introduction of the "community payback" jackets, and Payne's own view that it's the criminals who have all the organisations supporting them, similar to comments by Jack Straw late last year about the "criminal justice lobby", are all part of the government's attempts to try to fight this increasingly popular opinion while still giving succour to it. Along with the deliberate suffocation of individual liberties, the casual attitude towards things such as the principle of being innocent until proven guilty, as well as the increasing implication that rights are things which only criminals and terrorists have, this all invariably leads to the same ultimate conclusions: that prison works, that it's better to be safe than be sorry and that suggesting the opposite is approaching seditious. The CJS can and should be improved, and victims' rights as well as those of the accused have to be respected, but nothing whatsoever is to be gained by pretending that until convicted one has more than the other.

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Once again we are in total agreement on Sara Payne's appointment.

LETS GET SOMETHING RIGHT. PEDOPHILES DO NOT HAVE ANY RIGHTS OR AT LEAST SHOULD NOT.TO BE HONEST THEY NEED TO BE LOCKED UP FOREVER.AS YOU CAN NOT CURE THEM.THE SYSTEM AS IT WORKS(WE DO NOT HAVE SARAHS LAW IN ITS FULL,OR ANY PART) DOES NOT WORK,I HAVE SEEN IT LATELY WHERE I LIVE.ALSO OUR WONDERFUL SYSTEM LET SARAH PAYNE DOWN ALONG WITH MANY MANY OTHER CHILDREN.REMEMBER ALSO THAT SARAHS PEDOPHILE MURDERER WAS CAUGHT ONCE BEFORE OUT OF MANY ATTACKS,BUT AN EXPERT IN THESE THINGS GOT HIM A SOFT SENTENCE .AND HE WENT ON TO KILL SARAH.SO JAILHOUSE LAWYER AND ANYONE ELSE WHO THINKS EVIL SCUM HAVE RIGHTS .THINK AGAIN BECAUSE WE WILL GET TOUGHER SENTENCES FOR PAEDOS AND WE WILL EVENTUALLY GET THE FULL SARAH LAW.

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