Skip to main content

Aiming for a century

D.W. Cameron Batting for a hundred


Continuing his legal fuckwittery, David Cameron, Prime Minister, has announced that he would like to see courts bowling defendants out with 100-year sentences because the nasty European Court of Human Rights has said that whole life sentences are unlawful in the case of Vinter v United Kingdom.

As usual I’m annoyed by this because it is nothing more than a bid to shift the politics of the UK in an ever more xenophobic direction.

The start of 2014 saw the Labour party, led by the son of an immigrant, shift a bit further to the right when they joined the Conservatives, UKIP and a collection of other anti-foreigner types by scaremongering about the hordes of Bulgarians and Romanians due to sweep across the UK on the 1st January 2014.  Labour took the ironic decision to send another immigrant in the form of Keith Vaz (born in Aden, Yemen to Indian parents) to monitor the arrival of immigrants arriving in the UK.  He was left looking somewhat stupid when flights arrived (often only two-thirds full despite claims by many than all flights were fully booked) carrying mostly people returning from their Christmas holidays rather than new immigrants coming here to steal, beg and claim benefits we were promised.

Given the political-classes hatred of all things foreign you shouldn’t be surprised to find out that the European Court of Human Rights did not ban the UK from imposing whole of life sentences on the most serious offenders.  What the ECHR said is that such sentences breach article three of the European Convention on Human Rights because there is no mechanism for reviewing the sentences once passed to ensure that a whole life sentence remains appropriate.

A long long time ago in a slightly less xenophobic Britain we had a law called the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, section 29 of which allowed the Secretary of State to release whole life prisoners on the recommendation of the Parole Board and following consultation with the Lord Chief Justice and the trial judge.  Such reviews were carried out, I believe, 25-years after sentence.  This provision allowed us to be certain that the whole life sentence remained correct and that the intervening years had not rendered the sentence unjust.

The Labour Government of Tony Blair enacted the Criminal Justice Act 2003, section 303(b)(i) of which abolished the Secretary of State’s power to release whole life prisoners and thus the review that went with that power was abolished as well.  No equivalent power was handed to anybody else meaning that once a court imposes a whole of life sentence there is no further review unless the individual appeals – although it’s worth remembering that the review dealt with prisoners who were correctly sentenced not those who’s sentence was manifestly excessive at the time it was imposed.

The current Government under the increasingly foolish David Cameron and his increasingly frightening Secretary of State Theresa May seeks to argue that we should abolish the Human Rights Act 2008 and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.  They cite the ECHR’s ruling in Vinter as a reason for this withdrawal.  Let’s consider what other steps could be taken?  Well, they could simply reinstate the review after 25-years, which would render the whole life sentence compliant with article 3 of the ECHR and thus lawful once again!


But then if they did that they’d lose all the capital built up in attacking “Europe” for their outrageous infringement of the sovereignty  the UK and in doing so will again allow the British public to confuse the European Court of Human Rights with the European Union, which of course have nothing to do with one another.

Comments

  1. *Bulgarians and *Romanians - apostrophes don't pluralise words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite right - the dangers of trying to write while simultaneously talking to a 3-year-old about Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom and occasionally being jumped on.

      Delete
  2. More immigrants coming here-undoubtedly more work for you!
    Jaded

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why undoubtedly more work? Feel free to state any actual evidence you have.

      Overwhelming majority of my clients are British.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ched Evans

Before I begin, I will say that at around 4,500 words this is probably the longest blog I’ve ever posted but I think it’s all necessary to set the scene for this case and explain the background that has been largely ignored or airbrushed in the press. Despite its length, I have not attempted to include every little detail of either fact or law but have done my best to provide a balanced picture of the Ched Evans case, what happened and why the courts reached the decisions they did. There has been so much written about the Ched Evans case over the past weekend, much of it based on a very shaky grasp of the facts and law, that I decided I would read up about the case and weigh in (hopefully on a slightly firmer footing than most of the articles I’ve read so far).

Broadly speaking there seem to be three groups who have opinions on the case:
1.Sexual violence groups (including people describing themselves as “radical feminists”) who appear to take the view that the case is awful, the Court o…

How do the police decide whether to charge a suspect?

A question I’m often asked by clients (and in a roundabout way by people arriving at this blog using searches that ask the question in a variety of ways), is “how do the police decide whether to charge or take no further action (NFA)?”
What are the options?
Let’s have a quick think about what options are available to the police at the end of an investigation.
First, they can charge or report you for summons to attend court.  Charging means that you are given police bail and are required to attend court in person.  A summons is an order from the court for you to attend or for you to send a solicitor on your behalf.  In many cases where a person is summonsed, the court will allow you the option of entering a plea by post.
Second, you may be given a caution.  These can be a simple caution, which on the face of it is a warning not to be naughty in future, or it can be a conditional caution.  Conditions could include a requirement to pay for the cost of damage or compensation, etc.  Either…

Bid to prevent defendants knowing who accuses them of a crime

When I read The Trial by Kafka and Nineteen Eighty-Four by Orwell, I took them as warnings of how a bad justice system wrecks lives of those caught up in it. Sadly, some Members of Parliament and the House of Lords seem to view the books more as a guide to how they would like our Criminal Justice System to run. Today, I read of plans to hide the names of accusers and witnesses from defendants in a large number of cases. Victims of sexual offences, such as rape, have had the right to lifelong anonymity for many years now. This means that it is a criminal offence to publish information that will lead to a complainant being identified. A Bill currently being considered by Parliament would extend that anonymity to bar defendants and their lawyers knowing the name of the person accusing them. This would apply not only in sexual offences, as has been reported in the press, but also in violent offences.
The anonymity currently offered to victims of sexual offences is not total, the complainant…