Most people are aware of the tragic discovery made by police on the 14th of Feb 1993.
This was the day the body of Jamie Patrick Bulger was found. Jamie was only two years old when he was abducted, subjected to torture and then murdered by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. These boys were only 10 years of age when they committed this crime. We saw the two sent to prison for life, although they were freed from imprisonment, given new identities, all at the expense of the tax payer. We have recently seen Jon Venables go back to prison on sex charges, which is said to include possession of child pornography.
Denise Fergus had to somehow keep going through all these events. She recently appeared on television and expressed how much this new development regarding Jon Venables has affected her. To add insult to injury, the Children's Commissioner, Dr Maggie Atkinson, has now said that the pair should not have been charged with this awful crime. Dr Maggie Atkinson believes that the two boys were not old enough to understand how morally wrong their actions were. She believes they may have thought the crime was simply bad behaviour.
As we know, there are different types of murder. Some murders are committed on the spur of the moment, through inability to control ones reaction to a situation. The opposite of this is pre-meditated murder. This is when the crime has been planned, meaning the killer is fully aware of what they are about to do. The crime committed by Venables and Thompson was pre-meditated. They told of how they had planned to go out and abduct a child, which they were then planning to push out into traffic.
DR Maggie Atkinson is sadly mistaken if she still believes they did not realise this was more than bad behaviour. The pair planned their crime just as any killer, they were obviously aware that merely abducting a child was wrong. If they believed otherwise then there would have been no need to plan this.
Dr Maggie Atkinson had tried to get the age of criminal responsibility raised from 10 to 12 years old. As she believes a child of ten hasn't developed enough to understand what they are doing. Children are just as aware as adults that killing another human being is wrong. Long before a child reaches the age of ten. Many, if not all, will be playing computer games. Most of these involve killing something. Many also involve being chased by the police. Children are aware that police arrest people that have done something wrong in the eyes of the law. Children will also hide bad behaviour such as bullying from teachers for fear of the consequences. Does this not show that they know right from wrong? Surely if they were unaware there would be no reason to hide this.
Venables and Thompson were tracked down through the use of CCTV cameras, which clearly showed them with Jamie. If they were not aware this was wrong, then what would there be to stop them mentioning this to their mother or friends? Two people challenged the boys while they were with Jamie, they lied to these people saying Jamie was either their younger brother or he was lost and they were taking him to the nearest police station. Again if they did not think what they were doing was wrong, would they of felt the need to lie?
Jamie (or James ) Bulger was not only killed by the two boys but subjected to torture, as they hit him with bricks, threw paint in his eye, they also hit him with a iron bar weighing 10 kilos and placed batteries in his mouth. A child in school will be punished for merely pinching another child, in my view the two were completely aware of how bad their actions were.
If we look at the Children's Commissioner's argument again, there are also many adults who do not know what they are doing is wrong. Following Dr Atkinson's model we should not punish these people when they commit murder. Can that be right?
The authorities were right to punish these boys, these boys knew what they were doing. Their age does not entitle them to walk away from this without charge, it does however mean that the children be treated accordingly within the penal system. Which I am sure was the case.
Dr Maggie Atkinson was wrong to have made the comments that she did in regards to this case. She did not consider the feelings of Denise before she spoke. It is my belief that she should not have even made reference to the case of James Bulger at all. Atkinson was appealing to have the age of responsibility raised, this was not part of a particular case. We all know that everyone is different, so how can Atkinson justify pin pointing one particular case to support her argument. When Atkinson was appointed as Children's Commissioner by Ed Balls, various members of parliament expressed their belief that she was not entirely suitable for the job. The Commons Committee had in fact called for Ed Balls to start the selection process again, which he rejected. Mr Sheerman of the committee stated;
"On the broader issues of the commissioner's role we did not think she was quite the person.”
Atkinson started her job on the 1st of March this year, taking over from Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green. Denise Fergus has called for her resignation due to the insensitive comments she made on her son's case. She has already showed us her lack of suitability for this job, surely it is better to appoint a new commissioner before she makes another mistake? We need to put a lot more thought into decisions that affect children as they are fully reliant on us, unlike adults.