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Saturday, June 17, 2006 

Sun-watch: M'luds crack down thanks to us!

The Sun is always quick to claim that it is personally responsible for subsequent changes in the law, or in this case, to seeming harsher sentences by judges following its campaign at the start of the week. As usual, the Sun's claim in the main is nonsense.

The main article highlights the sentencing of the two men who beat Jody Dobrowski to death to a minimum of 28 years in prison before they can be considered for parole - even though both men had already pleaded guilty. What the Sun doesn't mention until the end of the article is that although their guilty plea was taken into consideration, as it was in the cases involving Craig Sweeney and Alan Webster, what was also taken into consideration was that the men had set out to commit a hate crime, as the killing was aggravated by the men's homophobia. Also taken into consideration was the suffering inflicted on Dobrowski, who was beaten so badly that his family could not recognise him. The Sun also makes clear in its article that the judge told them that there was no guarantee they would be released after 28 years. This is in contrast to how they glossed over how the judge in the case of Craig Sweeney told him that it was "unlikely" that he would be released after five years. While the Sun mentions that one witness said that the men had told him that:

“We don’t like poofters here — that’s why we can kill him.”

it doesn't mentioned that they while they were beating Dobrowski to death they had shouted:

fucking queer, bastard, faggot and poof.

Which may be a bit strong for a "family newspaper" that nonetheless prints photographs of lovely ladies in few clothes on its third page with relish.

It does however print the words of Dobrowski's mother Sheri, who said:
Tragically, he will not be the last to suffer the consequences of homophobia in this society. This is unacceptable.”

Quite right. After all, it was only a few months ago that the Sun was talking about rear gunners, limp dems, biting pillows and Simon Hughes hanging around toilets, as they'd found a plaque which stated that Hughes had opened one such brick shithouse. While the Sun's homophobia against men is still there for all to see, they by contrast led with the news that an army lesbian couple were the first of those in the armed forces to get a civil partnership, and who could forget their shameless trouser rustling antics in claiming that two of their page 3 girls had fallen in love? While women being gay is fine, presumably because that's a red-blooded heterosexual male fantasy, men being gay obviously involves biting pillows and hanging around toilets, which isn't so attractive in the Sun's eyes.

The paper additionally doesn't mention that while Dobrowski's family had concerns about the probation and parole system, as two weeks before Jody was killed, another gay man was attacked by the pair. This was while Scott Walker was out on licence. Their attack on Dobrowski occurred the day after Walker's licence expired. Unlike the Sun though, that blames everything and everyone other then the men, such as the judges, the probation service, the human rights act and the politicians, Jody's stepfather said that the blame lay with only two individuals, Walker and Pickford. A shame that such a refreshing statement wasn't mentioned.

The Sun then mentions two other cases that seem rather like a contradiction. While an illegal immigrant who was jailed for six months was recommended to be deported as soon as possible to save on the prison bill to the taxpayers, a man who indecently assaulted a 12-year-old girl in 1970s was sent to prison for 10 months, with the judge saying she felt obliged to jail him because of “current views about sentences”. What purpose is served sending a man who committed a crime such a long time ago at taxypayer's expense to prison for 10 months when he could have been heavily fined or placed on a tough community service order, working to pay back his debt rather than sitting in a cell for 5 months, is not explained. Deporting one man to save costs is therefore marred by another judge not showing mercy when she previously may have done. It's another example of judges being tougher when the topic is being raised by the media and causing controversy with politicians, as has been documented in the past.

Also revealed today is the fact that the actual time being served by lifers today is 50% higher than it was a decade ago, that number given life in the last 10 years has doubled, and that the courts are actually getting tougher. This no doubt will be ignored by the leader writers and populist public protecting crusaders in Wapping.

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