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Felix | Forgive and forget? Impossible

We may not be able to forgive, but restorative ?justice and rehabilitation helps both ?sides says Felix

14 December 2012

The other day I was asked what and how and if the criminal law ever ‘did’ forgiveness. This got me thinking, particularly as we approach Christmas. There are a few extraordinary tales of the most incredible forgiveness – parents who have lost children in terrorist atrocities, as well as other victims of ?violent crime.

The criminal law does not ‘do’ forgiveness. The sentencing judge does not have any remit to allow him or herself to proffer forgiveness on behalf of the state and/or the victim. Indeed, ordinarily any semblance of forgiveness being taken into account is positively discouraged – especially in domestic violence cases when the victim often expresses her love and hope for the future with the very man who has inflicted such hurt and misery on her.

Often such statements urge and indeed beg that the court should not send the offender to prison, because...

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