Alex Massie

A Shocking, Startling Outbreak of Good Sense

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Meanwhile, good sense vis a vis the criminal justice system is going viral at an alarming rate. At the Scottish Parliament MSPs voted  - 63-61 - to reject a (typically illiberal) Labour amendment (backed by the Tories too) that would have imposed mandatory six month prison terms for anyone found carrying a knife in a public place. And now they've only gone and endorsed a proposal that creates the presumption that prison sentences of fewer than three months are generally to be avoided on the reasonable grounds that they don't do much good for or to anyone.

It's probably necessary, alas, to point out that opposing mandatory minimum sentences for carrying a blade does not mean one supports blade-carrying or stabbing. However, simply possessing an object should not, generally speaking, be a criminal offence and, fundamentally, mandatory minimums pervert the justice system since where justice has no discretion justice is almost bound to be denied and corrupted.

My thanks to Lallands Peat Worrier for reminding me of this.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleSocietycrimescotland