Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The Prodigal Son

How long should someone be punished for taking someone else's life? Does it make a difference if the act is deliberate or reckless? Is it right that someone can serve their punishment and move on when the lives of so many others will be scarred by their loss forever?

These are some of the questions raised by Lee Hughes return to league football today. I don't pretend that the answers are easy.

Hughes was involved in a car crash in 2003 following a drinking session. He was driving and 56 year old Douglas Graham was killed. He ran away from the scene, only handing himself in 36 hours later.

In 2004 he was jailed for his crime and has served 3 of the 6 year sentence before being released on parole.

I heard him read out a statement at a press conference today as he announced that he will be playing for third division Oldham. OK it was a scripted statement, which might well not even have been written by him. But presumably he agreed the content. I thought it offered a balance between respect for his victims and a courageous facing of the world.

During his speech he mentioned that he had met the father of his victim. Whatever you may think of Hughes' crime, that takes guts.

Nothing can put back the clock or bring his victim back. But he can use his talents to bring pleasure to others. He can use his fame to act as a positive role model to others. He can try to draw some good from the awfulness of what he did.

It won't be easy but I wish him well on his journey.


CunningFox said...

Another well-written post.

Georgina Best said...

Thanks mate