Tag Archives: paul kohler

Paul Kohler and restorative justice

I switched on my car radio earlier this week and was surprised to hear a familiar voice.  It was Paul Kohler, the Lib Dem PPC in our top target constituency of Wimbledon. In fact I had been in a meeting with him the evening before when he was talking about his campaigning strategies.

But Paul was not engaging in a political debate on this occasion. Instead he was discussing a horrific incident that had involved him and his family some years ago. The series title is “Forgiveness: Stories from the Front Line” and each programme features someone who has had to, as the programme notes state, “struggle with forgiveness in order to be free”.

One day Paul answered his front door and was pushed over by four masked men asking him where the money was. Apparently they had gone to the wrong house, but they attacked and beat him badly, and also threatened his wife. Unknown to them Paul’s daughter and her boyfriend were in the house and they managed to call the police, who came quite promptly and probably saved Paul’s life. Two of the intruders were arrested immediately and the others were tracked down later. All four were given prison sentences.

The crux of the story was not this awful experience but what followed. The family were invited to take part in a restorative justice meeting with one of the assailants. It is this encounter that Paul describes in a way that I found powerful and moving. You really do need to listen to it to understand why. The meeting ended with the two men shaking hands, and Paul realising that he could forgive him.

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