Just when you thought you had heard everything.

The new year stumbles with some shocking news that nearly rivals what you would read in any trashy British tabloid.

In one court report out of Kamloops, a man who hit his wife and choked her unconscious (twice) at a family gathering was given a conditional sentence . . . to be served at home with his wife. Yes, with his victim. No doubt some people had to read this twice to make sure their brain was processing it correctly.

House arrest at home is common these days, but to serve it with the victim is not what some might consider judicially appropriate. But the judge believed it was considering the abuser showed remorse and good behaviour since the attack, which was reportedly witnessed by the children.

It is commendable that the defendant is thinking more clearly on the road to his rehabilitation, but a man who has prior convictions for assault, and then renders his spouse unconscious by choking, presents a risk to his family. That’s not even touching on the argument whether a conditional sentence represents justice for such a serious offence.

The next bizarre revelation is that embattled former US President Donald Trump won a landslide victory in Iowa during the primary. Wait a minute; is this the same Donald Trump facing a slew of charges for everything but the kitchen sink? Afraid so.

It’s not a shocker that Trump would have the nerve to run for president again, but that people would still vote for him after the chaos he caused and the rules he broke leaves one to question the electorate’s morals. To think that many Americans still idolize him is something only a revered psychologist could explain.

Speaking of standards of behaviour, the recent swarming of a young girl in West Kelowna was another wakeup call that we aren’t doing enough to teach our youth respect and compassion. This defenseless girl curled up in a fetal position was kicked, punched, spat on, vomited on, and mocked during the brutal attack that was recorded by a group of teenagers.

Nobody can legally publish the video due to the suspects’ ages, and of course the victim’s. Therefore, the attackers remain anonymous and protected for the time being. A couple of arrests have been made but you won’t likely hear any more than that. Which brings us to accountability (or the lack thereof).

Many people can recall the time when youth were identified and held accountable for their crimes, from stealing a farmer’s horse to breaking a window in town. But over the years something went awry and it was deemed too harsh to identify these delinquents out of fear for their safety. What about the victim’s?

Without accountability there is no justice. The current system teaches our youth that they can swarm and beat anyone and still be protected by the law, and once all is said and done, the legal consequences will be minimal and eventually be forgotten.

Lyonel Doherty, editor