Terry Martin (second left)

Caught out then lie. The only defence is ignorance of age. But what about the age-old legal maxim that scoops so many of we innocent law-breakers into the graball…ignorantia juris non excusat? The Law does not excuse us simply because we don’t know the law.

The simple test of innocence or otherwise lies in the number of clients this child had in one weekend. Prostitutes advertise their services every week. Does one ad pull in so many each week? Maybe evidence should have been adduced before Mr Porter of just how much business one prostitute gets in one weekend.

Methinks in this case there may have been an enthusiastic buzz. A 12 year-old girl has come onto the meat-market this weekend.

Mr Justice Porter has delivered a good verdict and a sermon on the mount. Let this be the end of it. The DPP too is a good and courageous lawman and he has dispelled the myths and numbers surrounding this case, giving us a due serve with his summary which translates as ‘get over it’.

This was a good community test. Outrage at ourselves really was at its epicentre. That with all our safeguards and our moralising and self-imaging we disgust ourselves with the reality of our most obscene fantasising. I’m reading a social history of England at the mo’ and have seen this case reflected in its pages. Girls as young as five were betrothed to dirty old men way back in the dark ages of our society. Today pornography on the WWW could well lead the way to global economic recovery.

I have also had the chance to talk to a girl, a street kid.

“Mum is a drug addict and she left us.”

We talked at a get-together where family have taken her in and are perplexed at her outlook. At the end of my sermon on the mount, she simply asked: ‘do you have a smoke?’

There is great irony here. One of her siblings, also taken in after desertion, has discovered her inherent genius and is kicking butt in tertiary studies.

Society and its complexity of laws and its claims of sophistication has failed to protect a 12 year old child from outcomes of parental failure.

The wider family of my 14-year-old contact have come out of their comfort zone to take over parenting the deserted teenagers. Contrast this with the outraged family of the exploited 12 year old girl.

They naively look to The Law to deliver a panacea for their own failings as a wholesome wider-family unit.

We who strive to correct wrongs are often outraged at outcomes, particularly when we look to The Law for the ultimate judgement.

Martin walks back into society appearing equally a victim as his young client. But he no longer has to live with the burden of guilt, for he’s been dealt with.

Somewhere out there in the shadows of decency, scores of men who have had their way with a 12 year old kid have to live with their own failings, their inability to control urges that ride on the same cart as Depravity. They too are the unknown victims of this brave foray into social justice. To me their self-disgust is the real justice.

This opinion first appeared as comment on this article, HERE