Did the Stephen Lawrence do more harm than good?

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

The latest Stephen Lawrence case has finished and his murderers are going to be sentenced shortly.  Great, let’s get this over and done with and get it out of the news.

National Black Police Association

Still no National White Police Association?

It is because of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry that an accusation of racism when committing a crime automatically makes that crime worse than if it was committed against a white person.  It is because of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry that the police have to consult “the community” if they want to do anything that specifically targets members of an ethnic minority – even if that something is a terrorist raid.  It is because of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry that black police officers have special status and are fast-tracked for promotions to fill diversity quotas.  It is because of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry that police are criticised for stop and search statistics that show them disproportionately targeting black people despite said statistics proving that black people commit a disproportionate number of crimes.

The two people who murdered Stephen Lawrence were wrong and committed the ultimate crime but why is there this fixation on it being racially motivated?  So what if they killed him because he was black?  If they’d killed him because he was short or because he had brown eyes then it would have just been a “normal” murder, their prejudice against short people or people with brown eyes wouldn’t have even been mentioned or if it was mentioned it would probably only be to prove that they were mentally ill.  Murder is murder, it is the worst crime you can commit and it doesn’t matter whether your motivation is the victim’s colour, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality or any other prejudice – it’s just murder.

I’ve no doubt that racism existed in the police before the Stephen Lawrence inquiry and I have no doubt that it will continue to exist long after I’ve shuffled off the mortal coil.  The Stephen Lawrence inquiry undoubtedly did some good in tackling it but it’s done a lot of harm as well.  It’s put ethnic minorities on a pedestal where the law is concerned and the police spend an inordinate amount of time pandering to over-sensitive “community leaders”.  The special treatment ethnic minorities get at the hands of the police does nothing to promote community cohesion, it just causes more racial tension.

The pair got minimum sentences of 15 years, 2 months and 14 years, 3 months.  The judge sentencing them said that he was handing down long sentences because it was a racist crime despite the fact that they were supposed to be sentenced as if they were teenagers (which they were when the murder was committed) and under the guidelines in place at the time which didn’t impose extra punishments for racially-motivated crimes.

Thirteen years ago, before the Stephen Lawrence inquiry published its findings, everyone was equal before the law regardless of their race, colour or ethnicity.  This is no longer the case and that isn’t a positive thing.  If a crime is committed against me then it’s not right that the same crime committed against someone else with different colour skin to me is automatically considered worse and the perpetrator more severely punished if they did it because of the colour of that person’s skin.

5 comments

  1. Revenai (5 comments) says:

    Just so; and in addition, now we can keep on and on and on and on until we get the verdict we want. What happened to Double Indemnity; the concept that you cannot be tried twice for a crime?

    If this sets the standards, then let’s really get really vocal about the racist elements of that group of black muslims kicking the head in of a white girl, while screaming racial abuse. The situation is exactly the same; but they got off with a caution I believe, and the racial element was disregarded.

    Maybe we can ask Mrs Lawrence to become vocal about this injustice as well – because we know how she feels about racially motivated crime don’t we??

  2. wonkotsane (1130 comments) says:

    That’s a good point actually. I forgot to mention that double jeopardy, where you can’t be tried for the same crime twice, was abolished because of the Stephen Lawrence case.

  3. Stan (222 comments) says:

    Hi Wonko

    I get what you are saying that murder is murder and I agree that the justice system should treat all people equally, but I just want to get a couple of things clear.

    1) Are you saying that the sentence was too harsh in this instance or that all murders should have sentences equal to this one?

    2) Are you saying that all degrees of murder should be equalized, for example murdering a policeman should be considered only as serious as murdering an ordinary member of the public?

  4. wonkotsane (1130 comments) says:

    The sentence for any murder isn’t harsh enough, it should be life in prison and life meaning life. However, in this case the sentence was loaded because it was racially motivated but at the time the crime was committed there was no extra penalty for racial motivation. The judge has probably acted sub-judice and I expect this pair will appeal and successfully get their sentences reduced. And yes, I’m saying that murdering a policeman should be considered the same as murdering a member of the public.

  5. Stan (222 comments) says:

    Cheers for that

    I’m with you on all murders being equal and life meaning life.

    The abolishment of the double jeopardy law was a good thing. It’s very rare to try a case twice as it’s not easy to get it past the dpp. As far as I’m aware only a handful of cases have been allowed, the very first case led to the confession of Billy Dunlop to the murder of Julie Hogg.

    Revenai – We should all get vocal about all murders, racist or not, and I agree that you case you refer to was a ridiculous miscarriage of justice
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV_XU0JpHaU
    However I’m not sure your remarks about Mrs Lawrence are fair – Don’t forget that her son was murdered. Given the choice I’m sure she’d rather not be a spokesperson for anyone.

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