Short sharp shock – or crazy sentencing?

Neal Metcalfe tipped off the police when he found his son, Paul, stashing some bullets (allegedly on behalf of somebody else). The police uncovered a handgun and Paul was charged.

Now that’s tough love on the part of a parent but he doubtless believed that he was doing the right thing. His son needed to learn a lesson, and Neal’s actions may have saved Paul from involvement in some violent crime.

But what are we to make of the three year sentence dished out to Paul? Remember, he hadn’t used the gun and apparently had no intention of ever doing so. As reported in the Times:

Mr Metcalfe, 45, said: “He’s got three years when people who do GBH get only two years. It doesn’t make sense. I think I would do the same thing again but I’d have to think about it a little harder.

“I feel sorry for him. He had not even touched the gun – it was bagged and sealed. He had no intention of using it and should have only got about 18 months.”

There’s a balance to be struck here, surely, and this case seems to have it all wrong. If we want parents and mates to report weapons in the hands of others, they’re going to be much, much less likely to do so if the consequence is a three-year jail term. What happened to the notion of a short, sharp shock?

What do you think?

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