March 10, 2017

A new petition launched via ever-popular petition launching platform change.org is proposing a radical new approach – or perhaps a radical old approach – to justice when it comes the the theft of motor vehicles.

Its author and original cause, one Marty Flowers of Preston Lancs (but let’s not hold that against him until we’ve given him as fair a hearing as anyone from that side of the Pennines deserves) reckons we should change to law to make sure vehicle nabbers suffer fully and appropriately the consequences of their crimes.

Marty’s no fan of the bang ‘em up school of thought. “Prison does not help it makes people worse,” he argues. Wanting as more particular readers may find this claim in strictly grammatical terms, it has at least the wholesome savour of unadorned truth about it.

What he proposes instead harks back to the so-called Lex Tallonis, a principle of retributive justice whereby matters are arranged in such as manner that the perpetrator suffers injury or inconvenience in exact proportion to the injury or inconvenience suffered by the victim of a crime.

For does not the Holy Bible say that “a man who injures his countryman – as he has done, so it shall be done to him, a fracture for fracture, an eye for eye, a tooth for tooth. Just as he has injured a person, so it shall be done to him.” (Lev. 24:19–21)”? It does.

On this principle – or a close derivative thereof – Marty Flowers proposes (and getting on for 2,500 people endorse) is that “all the financial hardship that the victim suffers should be passed onto the one who has caused it.”

This would mean that if the victim of a theft finds their motor insurance premium increases as a result the thief should be required to make up the difference each month between the old premium and the new – a bit like making regular child maintenance support payments.

It would mean that the thief should be required to pay the full cost of replacement or repair (or presumably the excess, if we’re talking about an insured vehicle) including any recovery or other associated charges incurred by the innocent party.

It would also mean that the thief would be required to replace or refund the value of any property in the vehicle at the time of its theft that is not subsequently recovered in good repair by its original owner.

Rather than quibbling over whether a tin of ‘travel sweets’ was half full or only a quarter full at the time of the theft, thieves should presumably be required to replace the entire consignment of confectionary as new.

All of this makes excellent sense and might be seen as providing a valuable template for similar back-to-basics reforms to other aspects of the UK’s criminal justice framework.

After that the petition starts rambling a bit, banging on about how the police have lost touch with ‘the community’ and aren’t doing anything about known villains due to quote unquote lack of resources.

But it you think Old Marty’s heart is in the right place and you’d like have his petition presented to Prime Minister Theresa Definitely-Will, Jeremy Cornbin and 16 other ‘decision makers’ why not sign it right now by clicking here.


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