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But, Seriously?

When I posted my previous offering, I commented that I was unsure about doing it, as it was such a step away from what I usually write about. Unsurprisingly, it garnered fewer ‘likes’ than I normally get, but those who took the trouble to read and comment were kind enough to say that I had been right to post it and warn of the dangers that can lurk on social media. However, there is another statistic that I would like to attach to that post, as I think it is very meaningful: I’ve been doing this, on and off, for approaching five years now, and that post is already the second most read of any that I have posted – and this is my 250th. The majority of those readers are not regular followers of my blog, and have – rather ironically, perhaps – been directed here by the number of retweets my post has received on Twitter. So maybe it isn’t all bad, after all! And most of those readers probably don’t have a WordPress account and would have been unable to ‘like’ and comment – well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway! Importantly, the message got to a wide audience, and that is what I was hoping for.

Quite a few of the people I follow – and am followed by – on Twitter are victims of Parental Alienation Syndrome or, in Twitter terms, #PAS. Because of the links to my friend, who is very much a victim of this, I am on the fringes of a Twitter family of like-minded people. My friend has become a figurehead for victims – if you want to know more, his feed is at @fatherscontact and he has nearly 7,000 followers now. There are many out there who are suffering this abuse, and I hope you’ll take a look, follow some of the links and learn about what some people are prepared to do to their children as a way of exacting some perverse revenge on their former partners.

But that, whilst being extremely important, isn’t my main reason for this follow up post. Cast your mind back to the previous one, or follow this link back to it. Did it strike you as odd that, despite the horrible nature of Guerrero’s crime, he managed to avoid prison? To put his sentence – 21 months in prison, but suspended for two years – into context, it carried a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment. Worryingly, this appears to be part of a recent trend of apparently lenient sentences imposed on men who have been found guilty of similar crimes, but who have somehow avoided immediate incarceration. I know that our prisons are very overcrowded, but that shouldn’t allow people who deserve to be in one of them to be spared. The law appears again to be becoming an ass, as Dickens so succinctly put it.

These two screenshots from the website of the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, Guerrero’s local paper, contain a report on the trial and sentence:

But despite those strong words, the judge still gave Guerrero a much lighter sentence than he could have done, and then compounded this by suspending it. Why? There is an implication in the wording of the report that this was because he is a high earner, paying a large monthly sum to support his child. Two points: 1. Did they check the validity of his claim on this with his ex-partner, and 2. Does the judge really expect that Guerrero can continue to earn such sums? Remember, he is an IT expert who has breached the trust of the companies who employed him, and I somehow doubt that potential employers will be queueing up for his services now. So, Judge Pawson, can you SERIOUSLY justify the leniency of your sentencing?

Guerrero deserves to be in prison, paying a suitable penalty for his vile crimes. I saw a comment on Facebook to the effect that ‘he’s only looked at pictures, he hasn’t actually done anything.’ I can’t begin to describe how stupid I think that is: did the woman who said that stop for a moment to consider the serious harm done to the very young children coerced into making the images and films that Guerrero and his like take their perverted pleasure from? Is she a mother herself, and if so how would she feel about this if it had been her children involved? Any participation in such horrible acts deserves a prison sentence. Until this case, I hadn’t realised that it was open to anyone to request that the Attorney General review for undue leniency in a sentence – you don’t have to have any involvement, other than being a concerned, caring citizen. This screenshot from the AG’s website explains the procedure:

I have emailed the AG to ask for this sentence to be reviewed, and know of several others who have done the same. It actually only needs one such request, but the more emails that the AG receives the more likelihood there is that the department will have to take this seriously. The deadline for making a request is 31 August, so there is still plenty of time if you feel like adding your voice to this. I hope you do, and I hope Guerrero then receives the sentence he really merits.

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  1. August 20, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    The law needs to pull it’s knee high gartered stockings up tout de suite. I get SO angry when people who are committing crimes against innocents get paltry sentences. Keep fighting the good fight, keep banging the good drum and lets see if the law might be persuaded to stop behaving like an ass. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you, your support is very welcome. I know a lot more about Guerrero than I’ve shared in these two posts, but wouldn’t want to break confidences. I’ll just say that he is a dangerous individual who should have been removed from society, and I hope the AG gets the sentence appealed xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        The thing that enrages me is that there needs to be an appeal at all. The sentence should have reflected the very real nature of the appalling crime this odious creep has committed. We seem to be living in an age where sentencing does not fit crime and whilst I appreciate that prisons are overcrowded it also seems to me to be a glossing over of the real issues. It isn’t just a question of looking at pictures – there will be a dreadful backstory behind the pictures of one sort or another and these are perverts who are capable of harming children. Let’s run that in slo-mo h.ar.ming. Ch.il.dren. I fail to understand when it became ok to be involved in anything that is harmful to innocents. Actually to anyone but that’s me speaking and as you know I believe in total harmlessness. And do as you would be done by. Perhaps that is the answer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm

        Sadly, as I said in the piece, it’s not an isolated failure of the system. I know of at least five other cases in the past month or so where a conviction hasn’t led to prison. These people are psychopaths and will feel they’ve got away with it. Worse still, some will see it as a licence to carry on doing it. The effect on the poor children involved is incalculably horrible, and only prison fits the crime. At least the review system is there, but there needs to be a review of judges’ performance too. There are too many failings like this one xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 20, 2017 at 4:08 pm

        Agreed. A review of Judge’s performance is long overdue. I personally feel that a single person cannot possibly, however wise and experienced be trusted to make a judgement and that the only sensible way is to have a panel in addition to a jury and yes, I know – money,, money, money. It’s a good debate which I hope takes off and gets real traction on SM xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. August 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I haven’t been able to keep up to all of my blog reading this summer, so may have let some of your articles slip by me. Your previous post (He fought the Law) was a surprise and departure, as you warned. A shock, as well. But I’m glad you took it on, and let us know about this dark side of social media, and, actually society. We should all be aware!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 20, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      Many thanks Diane, I’m glad you thought it worth my while. We do need to be aware that all may not be as it seems, as social media are such a large part of our lives. And don’t worry, I don’t think you’ve missed much!

      Like

  3. August 20, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Well done! As I live outside the UK’s jurisdiction I won’t send in a complaint, but I agree that the sentence seems derisory given the nature of the offense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 20, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      I think you’re right, you’re probably outside jurisdiction, but your support is welcome nonetheless!

      Like

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