"We agree with the Commissioner that Mr Hain's failure to register donations on this scale is both serious and substantial. We are bound to take this into account, notwithstanding the facts that Mr Hain has apologised unreservedly, and that he acted with commendable speed to rectify his omissions once he discovered them, without waiting for others to invite him to do so. Because of the seriousness and scale of this breach and noting the considerable, justified public concern that it has created, we would ordinarily have been minded to propose a heavier penalty. However, we accept that there was no intention to deceive and Mr Hain has already paid a high price for his omissions. We therefore recommend that Mr Hain apologise by means of a personal statement on the floor of the House."
So Peter Hain escapes with the equivalent of slapped wrist, despite his failure being described as "serious and substantial", partly because he has already paid a high price - presumably this means losing his Cabinet job. Is this the sort of plea in mitigation that any barrister can use from now on?
"M'lud I would ask that despite finding my client guilty of murdering his wife you take into account the fact that he has already suffered enough by virtue of recently becoming a widower and so not send him to prison."
The BBC spent so long tearing Caroline Spelman apart when she was accused of impropriet, who will forget the Newsnight expose. I wonder now that Peter Hain has been found to have failed to register donations in a way that is "serious and substantial" if Newsnight will spend even half as long on this story. I think we all know the answer to that.