Saturday, 22 August 2009

Great News of Foreign Justice

It seems that the justice system in Brazil shows wisdom and compassion beyond many European courts, and certainly some in Britain.

Two English girls, Shanti Andrews and Rebecca Turner, who were bumming round the world before trying to find work, were caught out in an insurance scam. It is a fairly common one apparently, and often successful. They have just been served a sentence amounting to about 8 months of community service (up to 16 months if they only do one hour a day).

Not only does that sound a more realistic sentence than the one or two hundred hours they might have served here but they might do some good, both for the people of Brazil and for themselves. Bryony Gordon in the Telegraph speculates (an opinion piece) that they will probably clean in the favelas, teach English and read to orphans. This sounds entirely just, and beneficial.

However I can see how they ended up as criminals. The family of one criticised the Brazilian justice system for treating them harshly even before sentencing, one parent calling the fraud a “misunderstanding”. It is just an extension of the parents who support their obnoxious children against teachers in school, thinking their little darlings should be excused every misdemeanour. Personally I think the sentence is light, even on top of the short time they spent on remand.

They are now appealing to commute the sentence to a fine, so they can get home early. I thought they wanted to experience the world?

Presumably they tried fraud after running low on funds, so they could not pay the fine themselves. More parental coddling, how is that going to teach them anything? I hope the court keeps the sentence, hoping that real work in such poor communities will give them some perspective and insight and help make them better lawyers. Yes, these were law graduates, likely to end up practicing law or as politicians.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Post a Comment