Joanna Hughes

What were the CPS and the courts thinking? 

What were the CPS and the courts thinking? 
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A mother jailed for retracting allegations of rape by her husband, (allegations she now says were truthful) has been freed. A few days ago, appeal judges overturned the eight-month sentence of which she had served seventeen days, ordering her immediate release.  A triumph for common sense and compassion, but why was she jailed in the first place? Yes, the CPS thought she’d lied under oath and invented a rape claim - and that’s serious – but, as it turns out, her husband intimidated her into retracting the claim. In any event, an eight-month sentence is excessive. It is precisely the sort of sentence that the government should be reviewing in its drive to save money and reduce prison numbers, because it is precisely the sort of crime that community service or commuted sentences were designed for. What threat, exactly, did this Welshpool mother pose to society? Did she need to pay retribution for her actions? And did she need to be reformed by the penal system?

There are social questions too. Even if the rape allegations had proved untrue — she still has small children who need her at home. When their mother was taken away, the children’s violent father defaulted on the agreement to hand them over to his wife’s sister. But no one was too worried about that. It’s a sad world where stringent justice has such savage consequences.