Letter: Sentence should reflect rape victim's court ordeal

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is normal for judges passing sentence to take account of evidence of remorse on the part of the criminal, and a guilty plea is generally thought likely to be rewarded with a lighter sentence than an unsuccessful defence.

Surely it is therefore proper and just that the recent court behaviour of a rapist who subjected his victim to a six-day ordeal in the witness box, which most people would probably regard as a callous public extension of the offence, should be considered as an aggravating factor and reflected in the sentence passed on him.

Calls to limit defendant's rights in such cases must be viewed with caution, but this option at least offers the opportunity to punish appropriately and create a precedent which might cause future sex offenders brought to trial to consider that the best interests of their victims might in fact be their own.

PETER KELLY

London E8

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