13 June 2012 (Wednesday) - Justice...?
The electronic age is wonderful. Through Friends Reunited, Facebook, ICQ, Yahoo, email and the like I keep in touch with people I've known for years. There are some people with whom I squabble daily, some not so often.
There is one old friend from school with whom I've been in touch over the net for some years now. Sometimes we message each other on a weekly basis. Sometimes years go past between communications. He had a hankering to be an actor; doing ghost walks in Hastings Old Town. He was in a Typhoo Tea TV advert playing the part of a dancing train guard. And on stage he actually has been the very model of a modern major-general.
Today that chap is the subject of gossip on my old school's Facebook page. I couldn't believe the news. He has gone to prison for five years; having apparently defrauded a local firm of the best part of a million quid. I remember the bloke in question very well. Even as a teenager he was a true gentleman. In many ways old before his time, he was a leading light in his local community. He was on the committee of the social club my brother goes to.
Surely that story couldn't be true.
So I did a little finding out. And saw that the damning report came from the police's own website. And, as is always the case, to coin a phrase "quis custodiet ipsos custodes." A more balanced report of the whole sorry tale is given by the local newspaper. My old mucker had done wrong. A little wrong. A small wrong. He'd temporarily "borrowed money" from his employer to help out a friend who was in difficulties; with every intention of giving the money back. But people far more unscrupulous than he found out what he had done, and blackmailed him into stealing more money from that employer over a period of some years.
And so he got caught, and he went to prison. Interestingly neither the local newspaper nor the police website make any mention of what happened to the blackmailers.
I've blogged about miscarriages of justice before.... I shall drop the chap a line. Maybe not as often as I've written to prisons in the past; ink and stamps aren't cheap in this new world order.
But I shall send him a letter. And some stamps too. There's not much that I can do for him, but I can do that much.....