07 April 2007

Gross Distortions

Scales of JusticeA Lesbian teacher was awarded £20,000 for being refused paternity leave while a colleague raped by a pupil received just £11,000, it emerged last night.

So begins a piece in the Telegraph about the "unacceptable" imbalance in the compensation culture as both the Conservatives and trade unions call for a shake-up of the law governing criminal injury payouts. In another case, a member of the second biggest teachers' union won an unbelievable £330,000 after being assaulted by an intruder in her school.

However, it's not just the compensation culture that is imbalanced. The whole area of sentencing needs reform. Drivers who kill while under the influence of alcohol or distracted by their mobile phones may be out again after just two years - just twice as long as a man convicted of stealing a monkey from a theme park, four months less than a man convicted of stealing buses, and a year less than the teenager who stole an ambulance!

Am I the only one who thinks the system appears to lack a sense of perspective and underestimate the value of people's lives?