A year or so ago we published a story of a 20-something barmaid who stole about £3,000 from her employer. Her ‘punishment’ was to repay just £500 to her former employer, at the rate of £5pw for 100 weeks.
I can’t recall if there were mitigating circumstances in that case, but two pieces in the latest Hucknall Despatch – Ian Young lives in Hucknall – reminded me of the story. Time after time, female criminals aren’t punished appropriately because of claims of stress, depression, or alcohol problems. Male criminals wouldn’t be shown the same shocking leniency, whatever the truth about their problems.
The first story – stress, depression, alcohol – concerns a woman who was ‘punished’ for stealing £3,641.60 from her employer, by having to pay him back… er… £3,641.60.
The second story – stress, depression – concerns a woman who stole £205 from her employer to pay for her dead dog’s cremation. She had four previous convictions for theft dating back to 2008, including stealing from previous employers. Her ‘punishment’ for stealing £205? To pay £240. The final line of the article is a gem:
The Lead Magistrate said the offences were a very serious breach of trust.
Not ‘very serious’ enough to merit an appropriate punishment, clearly. You couldn’t make it up, could you?