Dead wrong?

“Fishing fraudster Derek Atkins believed writing his own obituary for a trade magazine would help him escape justice. The 56-year-old from Portsmouth was set to be investigated by the Marine and Fisheries Agency over suspicions he had filed filed false logbook and catch information” – BBC News

There’s no doubt that fishing’s Reggie Perrin had to face the severity of the law – two-and-a-half years for faking his own death – but the full severity…?

I’ve long had a sneaking feeling that in crimes that involve neither violence nor theft from an individual, there should be a little mercy extended to those who do wrong with a modicum of wit. And surely there was at least the flicker of a smile crossed Atkins’ fevered brow when he went for his fraud in earnest, writing…

“He was totally dedicated to his career and had little time for officials, MPs or political parties, whom he believed were mostly a waste of time, money and effort……People found him to be a gentleman at sea with a great sense of humour who would always help anyone. He was a quiet family man and will be deeply missed by his family and friends.”

How many of us, for crying out loud, get to write our own obituary (surely even a more thrilling subversion of nomality than reading it).

Simple test: if what you’ve done is highly likely to raise a chuckle across all strata of Society when recalled ten years from now, you should get your sentence cut by 25%. For service to the public.

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