Showing posts from April, 2018

Off to war

The UK government recently launched airstrikes against targets in Syria alongside the US and France. The result was a lot of criticism from people in the UK arguing that the use of force is unlawful because it either breaches international law or because the UK Parliament was not consulted.
Lots of this furore seems to be stoked by Russia who are already upset at having been accused of poisoning one of their former spies in Salisbury recently and who have responded with an upsurge in propaganda aimed at the West in general and the UK in particular, including bizarre claims that the UK staged the chemical attack that triggered the air strikes.
So, what is the law on committing British forces to military action?
I’m going to gloss over international law for two reasons. First, I don’t really understand it and do not feel qualified to comment on it. Secondly, I’m not entirely convinced it exists. Sure, there are rules but they are really just political agreements and there is little that c…

Sentencing drink drivers: analysis of the Ant McPartlin case

I haven’t blogged about drink driving for a while, which is a bit of a shame for me since drink driving cases form the bulk of my case load. So, with the conviction and sentencing of Ant McPartlin, of Ant and Dec fame, this seems like a great time to talk about how sentencing works in drink driving cases using this case as an example. Mr McPartlin entered a guilty plea when he appeared in court, which negates the need for a trial because he admits that he committed the offence. The maximum sentence is six-months imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a driving disqualification. The minimum driving ban is 12 months but there is no cap on what the magistrates can impose, although I have yet to personally witness anybody receive a ban longer than five years and first-time offenders will rarely get such a lengthy ban. It should be noted that although the ban may end after a year or two, the conviction remains recorded on your driving record for 11 years. Once the defendant pleads guilty, the m…

What's so wrong about hacking an MPs website?

Kemi Badenoch, Conservative MP for Saffron Walden and, bizarrely for an MP with just a few months experience, Conservative Party vice-chairman with responsibility for selecting candidates in the 2022 election today confessed that ten-years ago she hacked into the website of a Labour MP to make changes to that MP’s website to “say nice things about Tories”.
This is a problem for two reasons so far as I can see.
First, we live in a climate where allegations of underhand and barely legal election tactics are thrown about regularly, apparently with some evidence to suggest that they are more than just allegations. Do we really want people in the House of Commons and at the top of the governing party who have confessed to engaging in completely illegal behaviour to influence voters?
Secondly, I mentioned that this sort of thing is illegal because it is a serious offence. It would appear likely that the MP whose website was hacked was Harriet Harman, then deputy leader of the ruling Labour Par…