Interesting piece looking at a comment Greville Janner made in 2012. In it he stated that justice, especially for crimes of great magnitude, should always be carried out no matter what the age of those involved.
His comment came when looking at prosecuting 90 odd year old people involved in the Nazi party. Obviously in light of his recent situation this may for some be very poignant. Very briefly for those who don’t know, Janner was brought up on sexual abuse charges on minors. However, the court ruled that his alzheimer’s prevented him from standing trial.
Now many have come out in protest of this, but whether it is right comes down to many issues.
Firstly what is the purpose of punishment and enforcing justice? If it is retribution for the victims then judging from their responses the tial should go ahead. However, if it is to reform or to get the individual to recognise the injustice they have caused then it would be pointless. If the victims want him to pay for what he did or if they want him to come out and admit what he did are very different. Alzheimer’s means that an admission or acceptance isn’t going to happen and if he’s suffering like my nan did then it’s unlikely he even recognise he was in jail.
But maybe that’s irrelevant, maybe society needs to be showing that it supports the voice that says this is wrong. Maybe it needs to be seen to be behind the individuals who came out in this case. Just like innocent until proven guilty, should society not trust claims until proven false. It’s and argument I often hear over the workings of rape case.
Once again I will withhold my view, it’s hard to make a judgement when the case will never be heard. But for many it will bring up questions about the purpose of our justice system and the weight of responsibility when age and mentality become an issue.