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Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:58 am
The Queen has granted a pardon to a convicted murderer who tackled the attacker in the London Bridge terror attack in 2019, while he was on day release from prison attending a course.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... k-pardoned
In an extraordinary turn of events, the family of firefighter Barrie Jackson, whom Gallant killed outside a pub in Hull, backed the decision to free the murderer early.
Jackson’s student son Jack, 21, said: “I have mixed emotions – but what happened at London Bridge goes to show the reality that people can change,” adding that he would not rule out meeting his father’s killer one day.
I'm always humbled when I read about people offering forgiveness to others who have done them a great wrong. It's what Jesus told us to do, and what he himself did. Could you?
Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:37 am
This story made that National News this morning with a twist. It said that he had been granted an early hearing with the parole board, nothing about the Queen having granted him a pardon?
But the story of the family of his victim giving him forgiveness is one that we all could consider and pray about. We are promised forgiveness for ourselves if we repent, but how hard it can be to forgive others who have caused us harm.
Yes, people can change, and we can forgive their actions in our mind, but in our heart it might linger on. I recall Arch Bishop Rowan speaking about "Cheap forgiveness" and how hard it can actually be for people who have been damaged by the actions of others.
When I preach, I sometimes speak of forgiveness and how hard it shall be and I am reminded of Jesus' words to Peter about seventy times seventy on the number of times we need to forgive others.
But if the family of the person harmed by his actions can forgive, it is a great example for the rest of us.
Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:19 am
Very good points, Ernest. I too am wondering about the accuracy of the report that says he's had a pardon. It doesn't seem to fit with keeping his conviction and staying incarcerated for the time being. In the ordinary way, assisting in the apprehension of a rampaging terrorist would get a member of the public a medal of some sort and perhaps a financial award from the court. I suppose if a 'hero' is currently a convict then some other form of reward has to be found. A reduction in sentence might be deemed appropriate.
My guess is there are two stories and the press have mixed them up. At the time of the incident his victim's family were reported as being annoyed and distressed at his being hailed as a hero. If they really are forgiving now, it must be the result of time and a lot of thought.
A criminal is usually pardoned only for doing something so tremendous for the public good that its value overwhelmingly outweighs anything to be gained by continued punishment. An example is Bletchley's mathematician Alan Turing whose conviction for sexual abuse of a minor was overturned posthumously, by a royal pardon not a retrospective finding of innocence, when it was eventually revealed how great a contribution to the war effort he'd made. We' can't know how many of us are alive now because of his work.Whether any young man Turing 'corrupted' ( the term of the time ) notwithstanding the 'victim' of the crime for which Turing was caught, is still alive and in his old age considers his seduction forgivable, who knows.
Personally, I would take a lot of convincing before I'd forgive anyone who'd harmed me or mine. Change and any good that had come out of the situation would have to be huge before I'd even begin to think about it.
Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:16 pm
Regarding the Queen’s actions, the story I linked to says:
Steven Gallant, who was praised for risking his life to stop the attack, has been granted the royal prerogative of mercy, an extremely rare case of absolution for a convicted murderer.
Gallant, 42, will see the 17-year sentence he received in 2005 reduced by 10 months, and could apply for parole next June, the Mirror reported.
The Ministry of Justice said the Queen was advised to grant this pardon as a result of Gallant’s “exceptionally brave actions […] which helped save people’s lives despite the tremendous risk to his own”.
The word ‘pardon’ might have come from the journalist, but the ‘royal prerogative of mercy’ sounds genuine enough.
As I understand it, people who are sentenced to life imprisonment, even if they leave prison on parole, are always ‘on licence!, which means they can be recalled to prison to serve the rest of their sentence if they commit further crimes. Perhaps this action has something to do with that?
I was more interested in the forgiveness aspect when I posted, rather than the legal aspect. But it’s an interesting point. The Queen’s action seems to have been prompted by the Ministry of Justice.
Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:04 am
I was very pleased to hear this story, Pam. Too seldom does such a positive light shine on prisoners. I shudder to think how difficult it must be to get through a prison sentence and come out a better person. I would like to feel compassion, hope and confidence in our prison system, and make no apology for appropriate and fair punishment. The big BUT is, does it work? The answers seems to be "sometimes", which is just not good enough. It's a huge area of concern, and friends and colleagues who work or have worked in prisons get my heartfelt admiration.
Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:51 am
One way we can help is the Prison Fellowship, a charity which works in Prisons, but also with Prisoners families. The do an enormous amount of good work.
Their website :.https://prisonfellowship.org.uk/
I support their work through charitable donations and prayer.
Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:38 am
We all benefit if criminals reform rather than come out and do it again. Anyone who contributes to a change in prisoners' ways of life,whether working in prisons or aftercare, deserves admiration and support. The two young people who were killed by the London Bridge attacker were just that sort of person. Such a loss. So sad.What a betrayal of the help they thought they were giving him.