Not for the first time, this publication is left scratching its head wondering just what is going on when it comes to the punishment being handed out by those who sit in judgement on our local magistrates’ benches.
This current bout of criticism is brought about by the case of an Aberystwyth man who has been fined for breaking a chip shop window in the town centre.
Gethyn Jones admitted causing criminal damage to the G-One chip shop on 5 May this year, and was handed a fine of £80. The 53-year old was also ordered to pay £85 in costs.
It cost £3,300 to replace the window.
In this instance, the sentence handed to Mr Jones did not include any order for pay for the replacement of the window.
The owner of the business, given the high cost of cooking his food, could not afford to replace the window, and the bill has been picked up by the landlord of the building. One would presume that his property insurance might at least cover the cost of replacement.
But that is not the point.
There is a culprit who has admitted his guilt.
Why did those responsible for administering ‘justice’ not find it fit to make an order for restitution and compensation?
Why should hard-working, decent people, trying to earn a living, be left out of pocket and inconvenienced, or with higher insurance premiums, because of the actions of a thug who has not been held sufficiently responsibly for his criminal actions?
In Llanelli courts last week, a man was handed a suspended jail sentence for having a machete in Carmarthen. Who on earth in their right mind possesses a machete in a street? Given that violent crime in Wales accounts for 38 per cent of all crimes reported in our nation, those sitting on our benches should take the sternest action to take violent perpetrators to task.
Unless thugs are held to account for their actions either through paying compensation and putting right those they have wronged, or with stiff sentences, the decent people of our communities will remain victims, and our hard-working police will remain overburdened.
Make the punishment fit the crime.