Bellfield’s claim, which adds to the £4million legal bill he ran up trying to escape justice, provoked a storm of condemnation.Added to this £4 million will be the cost of incarcerating him, hopefully for the rest of his life, which in his case will probably run to around £30K per year. And there's one other cost which is always overlooked: that is the cost of his crimes.
Let me digress for a moment by flagging up this recent comment from Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance, which is one I fully endorse:
Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, on LBC with Andrew Pierce of The Daily Mail, on Tuesday the 2nd August 2011. They discussed whether criminals are being sent to prison for long enough.
Sean says yes and no for these reasons:
- Many people are being sent to prison, or threatened with prison for crimes that should not exist and that often did not exist until recently. For example, there should be no laws against the sale and possession of recreational drugs where only adults are concerned. It is wrong to make a crime of doing with yourself as you please. Again, it was scandalous that Nick Griffin of the BNP risked seven years in prison for uttering words about Islam that would once have gone utterly unremarked.
- At the same time, many people who are convicted of serious crimes are often let out of prison after derisory sentences, or even before these sentences have been fully served. in prison, they are given comforts or even luxuries that people outside often struggle to buy.
A libertarian response to the perceived crisis of criminal justice is to stop punishing people for non-crimes, and to make sure that those who do commit crimes are not allowed to escape after little more than a slap on the wrist. This may not mean longer prison sentences or stricter conditions in prison. It may mean moving the whole system away from punishment and deterrence, and toward some system of restitution to victims. Thieves should be made to restore what they have stolen, or its value. Violent criminals should be made to compensate their victims in the same manner as in the civil courts. Those who cannot afford to pay damages should be set to forced labour until they have earned enough.
There are obvious problems with a system based on restitution. What about rich criminals, who enjoy hurting people and are willing to pay for their tastes? What about the companies running the forced labour gangs? They would become another corrupt special interest in a country already tending towards a plutocratic police state. But these are problems to be discussed and settled. They do not compare with the existing fact that our criminal justice system does not work, and cannot be made to work.
Returning to the original case in point, I have often wondered why criminals convicted of such crimes as Bellfield are not pursued for damages through the civil courts by the victim or the victim's family. For all I know there is a legal impediment, or maybe it's never occurred to anyone! Any lawyers out there who can shed some light will be thanked for their trouble.
Back to Bellfield. Let the judge in his compensation case treat him with the utter contempt he deserves and award him tuppence for his pains (and may God visit boils and locusts upon his whorish lawyers), but along with his compensation award, let him be presented with the bill for his incarceration, followed by a writ for damages from the families of his victims. Sure, he won't ever be able to pay more than a pitiful fraction of this, but every single thing he owns should be taken and sold and given to the victims' families, and he should also be put to work in whatever capacity is possible so that at least there is some good wrung from his disgusting, ill-begotten life.