Published On: Thu, Oct 19th, 2017

Harsh enough or too lenient?

That the Court in First Instance put suspects of looting on yesterday’s schedule for its first session since Hurricane Irma in the courthouse in Philipsburg is a good decision.

The looting that took place after the hurricane is still fresh in people’s mind and these cases should not be shoved onto the back burner.

What to think about the sentences so far? Fact is that the court went along in almost all cases with the demands from the public prosecutor. On one occasion, the judge considered even a higher sentence but she opted in the end not to do that.

How will our citizens perceive punishments that vary from 6 weeks conditional plus 120 hours of community service to 4 months behind bars?

Is that realistic and harsh enough? Or is it too lenient?

We’d say: don’t forget that – no matter how ‘light’ a prison sentence is, it means that defendants on the receiving end of these verdicts now have a criminal record.

That hampers for instance travel plans (in particular to the United States) and it certainly does not look good on the CV of job hunters.

So in a way, justice was served yesterday in court and the effect of the sentences goes way beyond the time these people will have to spend in prison.