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The "lonely man" defence

(5 Posts)
SapatSea Mon 09-Mar-20 11:50:03

Over the past year or two I have been noticing sexual assault and posession and distribution of child pornography image cases where the man has been given a suspended sentence (and a community order) where the defence is that he is lonely and socially isolated (despite these men often being married) and being quoted in (apparent mitigation) the sentencing summary by the judge.

I saw this today about a 64 year old who dressed up as a schoolboy went to a local school and squeezed a girls bottom. The girl has since self harmed, suffers anxiety and her life and mental health is in pieces. The "lonely" man was given a suspended sentence as he also has a good work record and is intelligent. Wouldn't want to ruin his life, Judge, eh?? The ongoing effects of sexual assault are just not given any weight. Makes me so angry.

A tiny selection of other cases where a lonely but hard working man has got a suspended sentence:

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BlindYeoSees Mon 09-Mar-20 12:49:21

Oh yeah the lonely excuse. Like it makes you forget child sex abuse and sexually assaulting women are no-nos.

If I was the prosecution I might argue that if they are socially isolated, perhaps their propensity for doing dodgy things is the cause not the symptom.

SapphosRock Mon 09-Mar-20 12:54:02

Oh FFS. It's as bad as the bored and curious excuse. The victim is often completely disregarded and everything centres on the poor man who just couldn't help himself.

Goosefoot Mon 09-Mar-20 12:59:45

I think what lawyers say isn't always meant to be a good defence, if that makes sense. Often it's more like an explanation because there isn't a good defence available. It's the job of the lawyer to present every client as sympathetically as possible, so that will include the ones that really are unsympathetic.

I am sure there is in many cases a connection between people like this being loners and the types of offences. Probably in both directions, many people who have social issues have a number of them, they are difficult to be with, and may have poor boundaries. Isolation as a result of that can also cause more problems.

In some of these cases I think its difficult for judges to make a good decision. Putting a guy like this in jail is not likely to improve things much, he will be out soon enough having lost his job, becoming more isolated, and being in contact with very dodgy types. It may be that the best approach would be to have someone like this working, not living with other questionable people, but under some sort of real supervision. That sort of situation isn't easy to create though and the judge can only work with the options available.

SapatSea Tue 10-Mar-20 08:52:34

Goosefoot of course you are right about sentencing and rehabilitation constraints. I just think more should be done for victims such as providing extensive therapy for as long as needed which many people end up having to fund themselves if they can afford it. I think victims need to be supported much more in an ongoing fashion and to feel their pain is being recognised and can be dealt with.

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