It was one of Portsmouth’s most famous sons who popularised the expression ‘the law is an ass.’
While the phrase is actually believed to date much further back, Charles Dickens used it in Oliver Twist.
Nearly 200 years on, it remains in common use.
At The News we do not criticise the judiciary lightly. They are tightly bound by sentencing guidelines and deviating from those would open them to an appeal which could see the original sentence possibly reduced and even overturned altogether.
But one look at the results of an investigation into the length of sentences imposed on those found or admitting guilt of causing death by dangerous driving shows that something is amiss.
Since the upper limit for the offence was increased from 10 to 14 years, not one person has been given the full tariff.
It is staggering to think that here in Hampshire, of the 37 drivers convicted of the offence between 2005 and 2015, four only received suspended sentences.
There are those in the ‘hang ’em and flog ’em’ brigade who will never be satisfied by anything less than a life sentence for any number of criminal transgressions. One only needs to look at the online comments after any number of court stories to see this.
However, with regards to death by dangerous driving, it beggars belief that not one case has satisfied a judge that they should impose the full weight of the law. And that is why The News, along with its sister papers in Johnston Press, is launching the Drive For Justice campaign, calling for changes in the law to make sentencing fit the crime for this offence.
There are far too many examples of families that have been torn apart by these cases. We can never bring those victims back, but we can try to get justice for them.