Mr. Justice Peart has been a most busy man of late. After ruling in Bono's favor in regard to the trousers and hat, he turned around and ruled that it was all right to kidnap children. Not that he said it like that, but it's the essence of his decree.
Tim and Ethel Blake are apparently not fond of their new son-in-law, and Mr. Blake hates the U.S. so much that he once said he'd rather see his grandson dead than raised as an American bastard. Sounds like a lovely man, doesn't he? Real salt of the earth. Would you be surprised to learn that the daughter did not seem to get along with her parents? By the way, her second husband (she was widowed at an early age) just happens to be in the United States Navy. So you hate Americans, Da, well, I've got me a sailor, and stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
A few years back, they came to Winthrop Harbor, north of Chicago, to visit their daughter's youngest. Poor aul' Tim, said he was dying, he did, and wanted to see the boy one last time, and could he perhaps spend a bit of time with the lad? Would you be surprised to learn that the daughter insisted that her parents give her their passports first, so that they could not steal the child and run off to Ireland? Would you then be surprised to learn that Tim and Ethel had two sets of passports, and gave their daughter the false ones?
In Illinois, where this crime took place, it's called aggravated kidnapping, and it's a Class X Felony. In Ireland, apparently, it's really nothing at all, at all. Why, Mr. Justice Peart doesn't see where this particular crime rises to such a level. After all, there were no guns involved. No one issued any ransom demands, and there was no injury. Surely he means a physical injury. One can only guess at the emotional damage that Tim and Ethel inflicted on the nine-year-old child.
But Tim proved in court that he's a sick man. Physically sick, I mean. The judge took that into account, and then pondered the fact that the man was facing a minimum of six years in prison. Considering the state of the Irish health care system as compared to health care for inmates, I'd say Mr. Peart did a serious dis-service to Mr. Blake, but then again, the judge did not think it was a good thing to separate Mister and Missus, as they'd been together for so many years.
As for the issue of extradition to face trial in Chicago, Mr. Peart turned down the request of the people of Illinois. He said that the minimum sentencing requirement would preclude a fair trial for the Blakes. With a minimum, there is no room for the pity and the hair-splitting and the feeling sorry for the kidnappers that they could expect from an Irish court. Now, if the Blakes could have the same sort of trial in Chicago that they'd have in Cork, well, that's the crux of the problem. The judge in Illinois won't get to consider the Blakes' pathetic excuses and give them a shorter sentence, not with that legally mandated six years behind bars.
To detain the kidnappers in an American prison "would represent for each of them an appalling vista" according to Mr. Peart. As for the appalling vista that the grandson viewed upon being kidnapped, well, Ireland's not exactly child-friendly. The age of the industrial schools and the Magdalen laundries is not in such a distant past.
The only good thing to come of this is the fact that the Blakes can never set foot in America without getting arrested. At least their grandson can sleep at night, knowing that they can't come and steal him away again. That's one way to deal with a control freak.
Technorati tag: child abduction