Blog : Posts tagged with 'justice'

*

Legal matters

In which we talk about a Grimsby court case


Last autumn, a friend-of-a-friend back in Grimsby was having a quiet evening at home, when he saw some teenagers messing around in the street outside. They were attacking a neighbour’s fence. “Someone ought to say something about that,” he thought. He’s a fit, healthy, well-built chap, someone who can stand up for himself, so he didn’t see why it shouldn’t be him. He works in a security-type job; just in case something happened, he put on his stab jacket before going outside.

Just in case.

He was stabbed, several times, and beaten with planks of wood, fracturing his skull. He survived by backing into a corner, and because of the jacket.

There were several witnesses, and arrests quickly followed. The trial date was set to: July 2nd, this year. The witnesses agreed to testify, on the proviso that they would be granted anonymity.

You know what’s coming now. On June 18th, the House of Lords ruled that convictions should not be decisively based on anonymous witnesses. The government plans to change this within the month; but, nevertheless, the CPS did not want to try delaying the above trial. Yesterday morning, the trial opened, and the prosecution witnesses suddenly all found that the promised anonymity was no longer on offer. None of them would stand, so the magistrates threw out the trial.

So, nothing is happening. The alleged attackers have been released. Whether or not they can or ever will be charged again is a mystery to the victim. The local paper, the Grimsby Telegraph,* which loves to be tough on crime, tough on the reporting of crime, has apparently not reported it, although they normally love filling up odd column inches with reports from the magistrates. I suspect this is because they’re just as unsure about the legal status of things as everybody else involved.** I said to the people involved: “go to the national papers, they’ll be interested”. Whether they will do remains to be seen.

* regular readers will remember how much this blog loves the Grimsby Telegraph and vice-versa. Some day I do still plan to get hold of a copy and count what proportion of its content is actually reporter-written, and how much of it is wire reports, reader’s letters and photos, events listings and so on, so I can justify my previous description of it as “rather news-thin”.

** unless it’s a deadline thing, but I’d have thought a court report from Wednesday morning could have made it into Thursday’s (lunchtime-published) paper. When the attack happened it was, I think, a front-page story, complete with a big “injured victim” picture.

No comments yet. »

Keyword noise: , , , ,

*

Dirty Books

In which we consider the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act


The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act gets its Royal Assent today. And it might have banned extreme porn. It might have banned some quite ordinary books, too. Nobody knows. Lord Hunt, who pushed the bill through the Lords and defeated opposition amendments, stated in the form letter he sent out to correspondants that he didn’t know what pictures would or wouldn’t be banned by the bill he was promoting; that would be up to the courts. The government defeated an opposition amendment which would have explicitly said the bill would only cover material also covered by the Obscene Publications Act. However, at the same time, the Ministry of Justice says that it does only cover this material, in any case, even though the government refused to say this in the text of the bill. Campaigners are celebrating their “fight” to criminalise Things They Don’t Approve Of; but at the same time, The Register is reporting that the law hasn’t yet taken effect, and – when they wrote that, at least – nobody had decided when it would. So, in other words, nothing is certain and nobody knows what is happening. The government hastily inserted a clause to state that it does not cover photos of events you participated in,* but nobody knows exactly what counts as “participation”. There may be more debates on what the bill actually should and should not do, or a select committee. There may, indeed, be jam tomorrow – it would certainly fit in with the general tone.

Meanwhile, people are still hard at work campaigning to get the thing dropped, or, at least, to raise enough of a stink that its unworkability becomes obvious. It’s good to see, too, the effect all this has had on kinky people around the country, too. The public face of BDSM in the UK isn’t a very good-looking one; but with this legislation on the way, lots of sane and ordinary people** put their heads out, went to the press, and said: I’m your ordinary man or woman in the street. There’s nothing wrong with being kinky, or with liking the things I like, and I don’t do anything illegal, so why are you making it illegal to own photos of the things I do?

* assuming that everything is consensual and above-board, everyone else taking part was happy and smiling and so on, of course.

** part of the reason the public face of BDSM is so ugly is that the people who stand out aren’t the sane, ordinary people; they are the ones who shout loudly because they’re in it for the money and their ego. For more on how the UK BDSM “scene” is broken, I suggest reading Bitchy Jones, when you’re not at work of course.

2 comments so far. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , ,

*

Authoritarianism

In which power goes to people’s heads


I said yesterday that politics hasn’t been interesting me lately. It’s not so much that I’m feeling a lack of interest, but I’m trying to block out just how authoritarian this government is becoming. As was shown by yesterday’s prime-ministerial speech on Justice: “Justice should mean summary justice” was one of its messages. The other was: “I want to lock up anyone I don’t like, but those nasty judges won’t let me.”

The one thing I fear, more than anything, from all of the politicians in power or likely to get into power, is that they all have a love of power more than anything else. They are addicted to legislation, swingeing, unenforcable legislation, to try to pacify whichever newspaper editor has been loudest recently. They let themselves be pushed into draconian laws by whatever cause will sell papers, purely because they think it will help them stay in their beloved offices. They have a grand, noble cause: the grand, noble cause of self-interest.

Anyway, I’m off on holiday now. I’m going to sit back, relax, and try to stay away from the latest news updates; and blog about random passers-by in the street.

No comments yet. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

*

Flash, boom, bang

In which we suggest some healthy and Government-approved alternatives


It’s November the 5th, and so it’s time, of course, to celebrate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, the cunning plan to murder the King, the government and the parliament, 400 years ago today. I’ve always thought the November timing to be a bit convenient for an event involving warm fires and pretty explosions. What would we do if the Opening of Parliament was in, say, June? You can’t have a nice big effigy-burning in June – that would be silly, and everyone would overheat. You’d have to stay up damn late to see the fireworks, too.*

Just remember, though, if you’re at a bonfire or if you’re watching the fireworks, to make sure you don’t make any jokes along the lines of “we could do with fewer politicians anyway,” or “shame they didn’t finish the job properly.” That would be glorifying terrorism – you can probably get away with saying it now, but this time next year comments like that will be strictly illegal and liable to land you with a lengthy prison sentence. Instead, the Symbolic Forest management would like to suggest the following alternative, appropriate Government-approved phrases for use at fireworks displays:

“God save the politicians!”

“Hurrah for torture-extracted confessions!”

“Look at that nasty terrorist burrrrrn!”

The legality of using the phrase “Wooo!” when a rocket explodes is, at present, unclear.

* Yes, I know that both the French and Americans manage to have firework celebrations in July. It gets darker earlier in France and America, though. So there.

2 comments so far. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , ,

*

Over time

In which we consider Ian Huntley


The big news of the day: convicted child-killer Ian Huntley will not get parole until at least 2042. It’s even bigger news here, because it counts as a Local Story. After lunch, it was all anybody in the office could talk about.

“Oooh, they should lock him up for good,” people said, “after what he did.” “Forty years isn’t enough!” said other people. Everyone seemed convinced: there was no way a 40-year-plus sentence was long enough for him. Everybody was very sure of themselves.

I kept quiet at the office, because I’m doomed to never feel sure of myself on issues like this. No doubt all these people talking are far more experienced than the judge, and no doubt they all know far more about Ian Huntley than the judge does too. Unfortunately, I don’t. I have no idea about criminal sentencing, and I’m entirely willing to admit that Mr Justice Moses probably knows much more about it than I do. All I know is that forty years and more is a very, very long time.

3 comments so far. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , , , ,

*

Search this site

*

Contact

E: feedback [at] symbolicforest [dot] com

IM: Ask me if you'd like to know

*

Post Categories

Artistic (118)
Dear Diary (349)
Feeling Meh (48)
Geekery (109)
In With The Old (34)
Linkery (37)
Media Addict (164)
Meta (79)
Photobloggery (94)
Political (113)
Polling (7)
Sub category (19)
The Family (31)
The Office (70)
Unbelievable (53)