Case study 5: Burglary victim was one of the first victims to meet his offender as part of the pre-sentence opportunity
The victim explained that at the time the offence took place, the couple were in the process of moving houses. He described it as an ‘exciting time’ because they were keen to move from the area and start a new life together. He said that on the day of the offence, he went to the property to move the last few items to his new address and was shocked to discover that the house had been broken into. The whole experience left him and his partner feeling ‘frightened’ and ‘annoyed’.
The victim was offered an opportunity to meet Mr Robertson prior to sentence. He said he initially felt dubious about meeting him and questioned how much impact it would have on both him and the offender. He also recalled feeling anxious about the meeting because he remained annoyed at the offender. However, he said he wanted to know why he was targeted and what he did with the items he stole. The offender’s behaviour casted a dark cloud over what was meant to be an exciting new start for the young couple and his actions impacted upon the rest of the family.
A face to face restorative justice meeting took place in a local Police Station between the victims and the offender. The meeting enabled both victims to ask the offender several questions and they were satisfied with the offenders’ level of remorse and responses. The offender described a substance addiction and was suffering from withdrawals at the time.
Following the conference, the victim said he felt satisfied that he was given an opportunity to ask the questions he wanted and said the conference allowed him to ‘get everything off his chest’, describing a positive experience. He feels he gained some closure following the offence and the couple are very happy at their new address. Judge Christopher Prince said it appears the victim was satisfied with the opportunity to speak to the defendant, gaining “some closure” from it, while all involved in the restorative justice project, feel the procedure was worthwhile in this case.
The offender received a 20 month sentence.