The Old Bailey appears to have radically changed notions of punishment in the criminal justice system. Satpal Kaur-Singh, 44, confessed to forcing his autistic son, Ajit Singh-Mahal, 12, to drink bleach to kill him. She succeeded in Barking, England. Her sentence: seven years — less than what you get in this country on some burglary charges.
Prosecutors allowed Kaur-Singh to plead guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London,explained “I recognize how difficult Ajit was to care for.” Really? Is that now a viable defense or mitigating circumstance to murder?
He noted that she was worn down and traumatized as a result of the care (which I agree is a mitigating circumstance), but hardly on the level of a reduction to seven years. Moreover he noted “You faced the prospect of Ajit being taken away from you, but you killed him.” That would appear a countervailing aggravating circumstance if she knew that he could be cared for outside her home. Beaumont then added the world’s most understated conclusion: “You were, in my judgment, making a statement, without any consideration of his interests.” Well, yea. I would put bleach ingestion as a lack of consideration and then move to other descriptions.
Once again, I am not against mitigation, but the decision to kill the boy and the manner still deserved a more severe punishment. This sends a rather chilling message to those in charge of special needs children, doesn’t it?