Oh dear. Judge Peter Bowers said that it took bravery to commit burglary – and now the Office for Judicial Complaints is going to launch an investigation. According to the Guardian, Judge Bowers told a miscreant before him for sentencing: “It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody’s house. I wouldn’t have the nerve.”
Handing the 26-year-old man a suspended 12-month term, the judge said: “I’m going to take a chance on you.”
Silly judge. He knew his statement would land him in hot water – he admitted he might be “pilloried” when he spared the burglar jail at Teesside crown court – but he said it anyway. And you know what? I think it wasn’t just silliness – Judge Bowers was being brave.
Of course Dodgy Dave Cameron stuck in his tuppence worth. He said he’d been burgled twice and it was like being violated. And he’s right there: I’ve also been burgled, and it made me feel awful, some creep in my house going through my stuff. But then Cameron said “I am very clear that burglary is not bravery. Burglary is cowardice.” And that is a load of crap.
Some burglars are cowards, targetting the old or the weak. But other burglaries must take courage. Going into a stranger’s house, knowing full well that you might get beaten up, even murdered, never mind court punishment. Calling all burglary “cowardice” is ignorant. You can be brave doing wrong things. Were all the German soldiers in World War 2 a bunch of snivelling cowards? Of course not: a great many Germans accomplished acts of great valour on the battlefield.
Saying that those who do “wrong” are “cowards” is stupid. Just what I’d expect from Cameron. But if the Office for Judicial Complaints find against Bowers, they are the cowards, too scared of public opinion to do the right thing and tell the truth.