Criminals have only themselves to blame

Editorial

PEOPLE who commit crimes should not be allowed to avoid punishment.
A good number of offenders these days tend to use personal reasons in order to seek leniency from the court and avoid jail time.
We have reported over time magistrates and judges telling suspects that before a person commits an offence, he must first consider the interest, welfare and well-being of his family and his personal circumstances.
One cannot blame anyone for their mess before embarking on a path of crime.
The suspect committed the offence alone and so must face the consequences alone.
Sexual crime must be dealt with severely in every instance.
Crimes of this nature are more to do with a spur of a moment act than a calculated course of action.
Offenders are usually opportunists who take advantage of a situation; nevertheless, these are serious crimes and should be punished accordingly.
Corruption and the abuse of power, including the misuse of public money by those in positions of authority, are unforgiveable.
Papua New Guinea is considered one of the least developed and most corrupt countries in the world and regularly scores poorly on social, governance and health indicators.
It has also earned a reputation as a nation with a crime problem.
Violent and white collar crimes are problems society is trying to deal with and part of the effort is for the reinforcement of the attitude and mentally that when you commit a crime you must pay.
The courts are right to sentence people to years in jail for sexual crimes and violent crimes such as murder.
That is a given.
The message must be clear – that you cannot injure or hurt anyone and hope to evade the lawful process by paying restitution or settling things in a customary or traditional way.
That mode of thinking has no place in modern PNG.
In terms of corruption and the theft of public money the courts must not drop the ball.
If anything, this crime is a bigger problem than the above-mentioned crimes because it has far-reaching consequences for the country as a whole.
The misappropriation of state money for personal benefit or for use outside the bounds for which the money is intended is criminal.
There can be no two ways about it.
These people are no better than thieves and robbers and should be treated as such.
Some have asked the court for leniency and to justify their actions claiming a range of excuses from an ignorance of the processes and mechanisms in place for the use of the money; medical grounds or poor health or the effect imprisonment will have on their health and; family responsibilities.
Some have even had the nerve to shift blame minimising their involvement in the crimes and pointing the finger at other individuals.
Others have developed serious medical conditions almost overnight after sentencing.
These ploys should be seen for what they are nothing more than spineless and pathetic attempts to avoid what is deemed a just punishment for the crime.
While there is some sympathy for those such as family members who will be affected when their father or main provider is jailed the blame for this dilemma should lie solely with the person who broke the law.

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