Punishment matches the crime for Florida boy

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The Independent Online
If any country believes in extracting an eye for an eye through its criminal justice system it is surely America. Consider its appetite for punishing its most heinous murderers with execution. But yesterday, a Florida court succeeded in applying the Old Testament doctrine in the most literal of ways.

Judge Cynthia Mackinnon of Orlando sentenced a teenager to one year's imprisonment for hurling a chunk of concrete through the windscreen of a car and partially blinding its driver, a German tourist. She additionally ordered, however, that he should wear an eye-patch throughout his incarceration.

The judge said that the eye patch must be worn by the boy, Zakee Chambers, 15, during every waking hour of his term, so that he can feel first hand the consequences of his crime and the pain that he had caused the tourist, Andrea Hartmann.

"I think it's important for you to understand what this lady has gone through and will continue to go through for the rest of her life," the Judge told Chambers. The teenager was also ordered to pay $24,000 (pounds 16,000) in restitution to Ms Hartmann and write her a personal letter of apology.

Ms Hartmann was driving her car in Orlando, a favourite destination for European tourists in America, on 15 October last year with her husband and two friends when the concrete lump smashed through the windscreen and hit her. She and her passengers were lost and looking for their hotel.

She was recently fitted with a glass left eye, but is apparently having trouble seeing through her right eye as a result of the attack.

Chambers, who pleaded no contest in the trial, testified that he had been loitering with a group of youths throwing bottles and stones at passing cars when he apparently heard someone suggest that they only target vehicles carrying white passengers. He was convicted of throwing a deadly missile and aggravated battery.