The power of the Home Secretary to alter a particular sentence on the strength of public feelings is a modern equivalent of the lynch mob. In the Bulger case, half a million citizens called for blood and 33 for mercy (report, 23 July), and Mr Howard, sacrificing principle on the altar of political expediency, gave them blood.
The principle of equality is not some 'Platonic abstraction', as Mr Lake would have it; it is just one of those little eccentricities of any just legal system which, when applied, helps to keep us safe from barbarism.
PHILIP F. ESLER
University of St Andrews
St Andrews, FifeReuse content