We wrote yesterday about the sentences handed down on Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams for the fraud that they had been involved with.
We said that this was the sort of case where the sentencing remarks would be published. They haven’t been yet, but we can still hope.
But, we do have some further, and quite interesting, details from the papers today. The sentencing Judge (HHJ Goymer) commenting that the banks had “undoubtedly acted carelessly … Indeed [the Bank of Scotland] was given clear and precise warnings by its lawyers about the risks of accepting assurances in a letter from an alleged co-conspirator, a Swiss lawyer. It almost beggars belief senior management chose to disregard that warning and rushed to complete the deal at all costs. It is apparent … both the defendants took full advantage of the prevailing banking culture in which corners are cut, and checks on them superficial and cursory.”
This raises the interesting and difficult question of to what extent the conduct of the victim can play a role in the sentence that is passed. There is a fine line between noting the failures of the banks and introducing the idea of contributory negligence. Does the cavalier attitude of the banks make the fraud less serious? Probably not we would suggest. It may impact on the question of whether the victim should be compensated for their losses (probably not relevant in this case).
Judges, for obvious reasons, shy away from blaming the victim, but it was interesting here to see the Judge say “While I do not equate the position of the banks with that of car owner or householder who forgets to secure his house or car and becomes the victim of theft, the banks do bear some degree of responsibility for what happened.” What is still not clear is whether the Judge made any reduction in sentence because of this.
What do you think? Is it the Judge’s place to criticise the victim’s behaviour? Does it mitigate the sentence in any way? If so, what sort of offences should this apply to?