There have been murmurs of disquiet over the harshness of the sentences some Courts are handing out to those who looted during the recent riots on the streets of London and elsewhere in the UK. Bleeding hearts have been awash with sympathy for the youth of the country who went wild for a few days, committing acts of wanton vandalism and violence with joyful abandon, before heading home to Mum.
However, if you were one of those who lost their homes in the fires, or a business through theft, you would want the perpetrators strung up, never mind locked up and it is right that the Courts are taking tough action. But judges and magistrates should not act under political pressure or for want of a media headline.
Some of the sentences have been on the side of extreme, although even seemingly small acts of larceny like the removal of a bottle of water, or some chewing gum, were done on vandalised premises. Those responsible for meting out justice have to consider the circumstances surrounding each charge and sentence accordingly.
The demand for vengeance from those directly hurt by the shocking behaviour over those few days is understandable and it is important that the consequences of such brutal acts of criminality are met with strong action, if we are to avoid a repeat performance.
It is a credit to the police that they have already arrested suspects for the deaths of the three Asian men in Birmingham and the 68 year-old man who died from a single punch in Ealing, London, but whatever the provocation, it is important that the rule of law is maintained and that corners are not cut in the pursuit of justice.
Sadly, for many of those who took part in the rioting, a criminal conviction will have absolutely no negative impact on their futures, already set in the ways of the perpetual underclass, while others will forever be haunted by that single mad act of disgraceful behaviour.