I write regarding your news item of 11 July: ‘Peer slams production-line justice’.

Lord Beecham is absolutely right about the iniquitous nature of the victim surcharge, both as to the specious principle behind it and its arbitrary imposition irrespective of means.

First, the charge is an additional tax by stealth upon defendants, many of whom (like us) have already had a chunk of their taxes levied as a contribution to the cost of the criminal justice system.

Second, hands up those of you who actually believe that those sums raised go towards supporting victims and their families. No, I don’t believe it either.

Third, it is contrary to natural justice for an additional sanction to be applied over and above each defendant’s just deserts in the penalty proper already imposed and with no regard to means. Whatever next? An additional levy for patients after NHS treatment?

Malcolm Fowler, solicitor and higher court advocate, Dennings, Tipton