Ronnie Biggs - A personal tragedy for his family but justice is being done

The ongoing media fuss over Ronnie Biggs being in intensive care in Norwich is certainly filling some news gaps locally and nationally in what is usually referred to as the silly season, but it does serve to highlight that elements of our justice system do work.

Firstly, I have every sympathy with his family who must be going through a very difficult time at the moment. I can understand why they are arguing so strenuously for his release, but sadly i completely disagree with them.

Biggs family argue that as an elderly ill man he represents no risk of re offending and should be released on this basis. Presumably Saddam Hussein was in no position to re offend when removed from power in Iraq when he was deposed too ? This argument hold no water given Biggs circumstances. The reason he is in no position to reoffend is because in those years when he might have been able and active, he chose to live out of reach of british justice in Brazil, sticking two fingers up to the UK, rubbing out noses in his freedom when he should have been serving his punishment for his crime.

If Biggs had served his prison sentence if he had shown any kind of open remorse for his crimes rather than simply feeling sorry for himself, he would be free now.

As it is Biggs only chose to return to this country in order to receive free health care when his health had deteriorated. In many ways this makes his hiding from justice worse. He didn't want to respect our laws when hiding in Brazil, but wants to make full use of his rights to claim NHS care. He wants all the rights with none of the responsibilities.

So whilst I extend my sympathies and understanding to his family and his son, who has spoken up well on his fathers behalf, I have to agree with the judgement Jack Straw made a few months ago that Biggs should remain in prison serving the sentence he was given all those years ago.


jamesmanning said...

I personally disagree - on the grounds that this is a dying man, no threat to society, being kept in prison for a robbery he committed nearly 50 years ago.

I blogged about this just yesterday:

I'd be fascinated if you or any of your readers had an opinion on it.

Paul Pinfield said...

I disagree with him being kept in prison. If it was anyone else, they would have been released on compassionate grounds. This is revenge based decision making because he made the government look stupid for years.

DC said...

Damn straight! As you sow (etc.)

Norfolk Blogger said...

The point is simple. he spent the best days of his life at liberty when he should have been in jail.

Paul Pinfield said...

Nich, this is simply wrong.

How can it be right for a crippled human being to die in prison? No matter what a person has done, once it has been ascertained that the person is not capable for committing further crime, the only humane thing to do is to release the person to their family so that they can end their days in peace.

The treatment of Biggs is as disgraceful as his crime.

Dan said...

The fact that Biggs had a parole application indicates that he has served enough time on his sentence to be eligible for release. One other factor to take into account is the length of sentence - the 30 years was a political statement at the time.

The bottom line is that Biggs has reached Parole eligibility and is assessed as presenting a low risk of further offending.The fact that he is unrepentent doesn't alter this assessment.

The issue of Biggs' health is important but not a deciding factor. A proportion of prisoners do die naturally in custody each year, either they had not yet reached eligibility for release or were assessed as still too risky. Biggs falls into neither category and therefore should be released.

rachel said...

Do any of you remember exactly what he was part of? Is it just the money you remember or does anyone recall the injured guard??

Here is a man who deliberately evaded justice and then chose to return when he wanted us to pay for his health costs. Let him stay where he is, and if he dies there then well and good.