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April 19, 2006

Fuck Him

Via The Englishman we get this:

Spending on compensation paid to those wrongly convicted of crimes is to be cut by £5m a year, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced.

Those who win their appeals at the first attempt will get no compensation. Others who have spent years in prison will see any pay-outs capped.

A discretionary compensation scheme, introduced in 1985, which paid out £2m a year would be scrapped immediately because it had become "increasingly anomalous", Mr Clarke said.

Scrapping that scheme means people will not be allowed compensation if their cases have been quashed while going through the normal appeal process - winning at the first attempt.

And new limitations will be placed on claimants under a statutory scheme - which will remain in force - which currently pays out £6m a year.

"The changes I have announced today will create a fairer, simpler and speedier system for compensating miscarriages of justice," Mr Clarke said.

"These changes will save more than £5m a year which we will plough back into improving criminal justice and support for victims of crime."

So let’s think through what happens when someone is wrongly convicted shall we? They lose some years of their life to the prison system.  Sad but true and there’s no way we’re ever going to have a justice system where this doesn’t actually happen to some unfortunates at least occasionally.

What matters is what we do when it does happen.

There are a few other trivial things that happen too. They miss seeing their children grow up perhaps, lose their jobs and careers. Most will probably lose their house, whether rented or mortgaged. Some trauma perhaps at finding the State imprisoning you for no good reason.

All in all you could say that there’s some direct damage, both economic and psychic, from such wrongful convictions.

So what does Charlie the Safetly Elephant suggest? That if you’ve only spent, what, 20 odd months, damn near two years inside (the length of time it usually takes to get an appeal heard), lost perhaps your house, job, children, maybe even marriage, well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, eh? Y’know, bad things happen, not my fault Guv?

And for what? To save 5 million a year? 5 fucking million? Out of 500 billion that he and his wastrel compadres are spending each year?

That is, 0.001% of public spending is going to be saved by not compensating those whose lives have been irretrievably fucked up by the actions of the State?

Have these people no shame?

Do you know what else costs some 5 million a year? Subsidising the snouts in the trough in Parliament. Literally:

parliament's £5.7m annual catering subsidy

Talk about your misplaced priorities mate.  Nope, sorry, I don’t care how nice he was to Rachel and her Dad (eventually), think  nothing of whatever laws have been passed about the incitement to terrorism and give, quite frankly, two shits about the consequences of this statement.

Charles Clarke should be hung from the nearest lamp pole, assuming we can find one to bear the weight of the fat fucker, the assembled political parties forced to watch as he tap dances on air and happy children gambol at his feet.

If we as a society get things wrong and imprison the innocent it is our duty, as that very society, to both say sorry and to compensate them as best we can. What we offer can only ever be inadequate but to deny this moral fact, to save the price of MP’s pork pies?

You fuck Clarke, for shame.

April 19, 2006 in Politics | Permalink


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» Charles Clarke - shame on you from The Filter^
Charles Clarke continue his assualt on justice, human rights, and liberty:Spending on compensation paid to those wrongly convicted of crimes in England and Wales is to be cut by £5m a year, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said. Those who [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2006 5:22:26 PM

» Hands up if you like charles clarke from Chicken Yoghurt
I wish Id written this. ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 20, 2006 9:04:33 PM

» We are frightened and disgusted by this Labour regime from NuLabour
It is hard to comment sensibly on NuLabour. We are frightened and disgusted by this Labour regime. Apart from the ongoing Loans for Peerages and City Academies scandals, we have been reading: The Observer has some emails between Henry Porter... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 23, 2006 6:11:30 PM

» We are frightened and disgusted by this Labour regime from NuLabour
It is hard to comment sensibly on NuLabour. We are frightened and disgusted by this Labour regime. Apart from the ongoing Loans for Peerages and City Academies scandals, we have been reading: The Observer has some emails between Henry Porter... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 24, 2006 4:06:32 AM


I wish I had said that!

(You will, Oscar, you will!)

Posted by: The Englishman | Apr 19, 2006 1:04:09 PM

One presumes he also supports his predecessor's policy of making the victims of miscarriages of justice pay for their own bread and board while incarcerated.

Posted by: James Graham | Apr 19, 2006 1:31:00 PM

Couldn't agree more.


Posted by: James C | Apr 19, 2006 1:34:30 PM

>>Charles Clarke should be hung from the nearest lamp pole, assuming we can find one to bear the weight of the fat fucker

Why not tire-necklace him instead, then?

Tim adds: Might harm the gambolling children. Altogether now "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

Posted by: Jamie Young | Apr 19, 2006 1:38:11 PM

Good post, agree entirely.

Posted by: John Middleton | Apr 19, 2006 1:45:06 PM

Spot on Tim, FWIW

Posted by: CB | Apr 19, 2006 1:53:42 PM

I agree with the sentiment, but rather than reintroduction of the scheme where the taxpayer pays for the fuck ups of the system we need to introduce a method whereby Charlie, Lord Wallpaper and the assorted other fuckwits are made to pay the compensation directly.

Failing that aux lanternes with the whole fetid crowd of them.


Posted by: The Remittance Man | Apr 19, 2006 2:10:35 PM

I entirely share your outrage over this, Tim. We seem to be moving backwards towards the once deeply embedded legal concept of Crown Immunity because of the ancient notion that "the Crown can do no wrong".

Saving £5 million by capping awards for miscarriages of justice in the context of total public expenditure of over £500 Billions is so obviously paltry that I suspect undeclared, ulterior motives on the part of the government.

One of the especially alarming causes of successive embarrassments over miscarriages of justice is where faulty convictions have derived from juries believing flawed expert testimony from prosecution witnesses because the such evidence appeared logically compelling and indisputable in the course of the respective trials.

There is also the can o' worms created by the government's Anti-Terrorism legislation. Perhaps recall that pensioner at the Labour Party conference last year who was arrested under the Anti-Terrorism legislation for having unwisely dared to call out, "Rubbish!" during the Conference speech by Jack Straw. Incidental examples like that do help to illuminate the course of official thinking.

Posted by: Bob B | Apr 19, 2006 3:09:44 PM


To be fair, it isn't usually Clarke and other government ministers who are to blame for such miscarriages of justice, but the police. I'm also not convinced that saying that people attempting to prosecute the guilty should be financially liable for any mistakes would exactly encourage justice to be done. In fact, it would lead to the opposite.

Posted by: James Graham | Apr 19, 2006 3:14:39 PM

"Charles Clarke should be hung from the nearest lamp pole"

You do know you can get five years for glorifying terrorism, don't you?

Tim adds: Since when was calling for the trial and execution of a sociopath akin to terrorism?

Posted by: Chris Lightfoot | Apr 19, 2006 3:48:47 PM

I suspect he's doing this because he expects a massive rise in the number of cases of miscarriages of justice due to his idiotic 'anti-terror' legislation. That and the fact that he's a mean, arrogant bastard.

Posted by: Davide Simonetti | Apr 19, 2006 3:50:47 PM

Typical Neo-Labour. Trial by jury and free speech are threatened by the ever more powerful state, we are to be forced to carry ID cards and now the state doesn't want to compensate those it has incorectly convicted of a crime. A few more years of this government and we will lose our right of appeal against any conviction. The state is always right.

Posted by: pete | Apr 19, 2006 5:06:32 PM

Well, if you will elect a crowd of "Christian" Fascists, why are you surprised by this sort of thing?

Posted by: dearieme | Apr 19, 2006 5:18:08 PM

When I heard the news I nearly crashed the car - in hysterics.

There is the proof if any was needed - Blair isn't the only psychopath.

Yes as David Simonetti says above false imprisonment for 'terror cases' can be the only rationale - however idiotic. Either for those already in the pipeline or the huge number he is planning for.

This government is truly ***ed, and thay want to take us with them.

Posted by: Refresh | Apr 19, 2006 7:14:33 PM

Your language has gone a bit Devil's Kitchen, Tim, but I agree entirely. Perhaps the government, increasingly nervous about the cost of the National Identity Register, is desperately trying to claw back as much cash as it can? It's the only explanation I can think of.

(Am I the 'Oscar' referred to by The Englishman? Thought not.)

Posted by: Oscar Wildebeest | Apr 19, 2006 9:50:48 PM

I'll have to go with the conspiracy theorists on this one... £5 Mill is such a paltry figure for a controversial plan like this.

I'd lump this one in with the earlier news about moves to block civil action vs foreign officials who commit torture against Britons abroad.

Stinks to high heaven of protecting vs some future court cases... Extraordinary Rendition?

Posted by: Jherad | Apr 19, 2006 10:01:41 PM

Does anyone know what Charles Clarke actually stands for? What was it that drew him to politics? When looked at former South African Law and Order minister Adriaan Vlok I used to see pure evil. I see the same level of evil in Charles Clarke, pound for pound Adriaan Vlok was more evil (I don't think Charles Clarke has had anyone murdered or bombed opponents, yet) but Charles Clarke's gross mass makes up for that. Would someone with spare time on their hands please start an anti-Charles Clarke blog?

Posted by: Doc Bud | Apr 20, 2006 12:16:27 AM

Your post regarding the Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP is a disgrace.

It is far too complimentary. There should be at least five times as many swear words, and your chosen method of death is too pleasant.

Given his previous policies, I suggest we send him off to Zimbabwe to be tortured for a bit (the government is pro torture), okay, well a lot then, and *then* hang him, slowly.

Incidentally, I suspect the only reason that Clarke is less visibly evil than this Vlok guy is to do with opportunity rather than desire

It appears to be NuLab spite. They seem to have this mentality that everyone accused of a crime is guilty, so we must abandon the justice system and just lock them up.

Except for them, of course, and their cronies.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 20, 2006 7:06:57 AM

There've been few positive headlines for the givernment in recent weeks on the populist front.

The thinking here is that such victims of miscarriages of justice will attract little sympathy in the tabloids, so they can safely be marginalised.

Think Guildford and Birmingham bombings. The average Joe still probably thinks they 'got away with it' and got paid for it too.

And the positive spin can be gained by talking of redistributing this compensation to 'victims of crime'.

Applause from the Sun and the Mirror.

Job sorted.

Though a rational man would say if you want to cut compensation to victims of miscarriages of justice, then work harder to arrest, charge and convict the real criminal in the first place.

Posted by: Geoff | Apr 20, 2006 7:25:46 AM

James - most of the gross miscarriages of justice (Guildford Four, Birmingham Three, Sham 69 - oops forget the last one) can be at least indirectly pinned on political interference in the investigatory and judicial process.

Chris - it's only terrorism until we win. Then it's a legitimate struggle for the freedom of the oppressed masses. Ref: Adams, McGuiness et al.

As to the Clarke v Vlok debate. It took the Nats 40 years to get down with the idea of political assassination. Given the chance, I don't think Charlie would take that long.


Posted by: The Remittance Man | Apr 20, 2006 7:49:01 AM


My take on the matter: you have got half the problem (it is wrong to cut compensation for victims of errors by the state), but not the particular venality of the proposed diversion of funding.

See here.

Toodle Pip!

Posted by: The Pedant-General | Apr 20, 2006 10:37:54 AM

If he wanted to save some money how about this shocking proposal. Imprison less innocent people. Radical I know, but it might just work.

Posted by: chris | Apr 20, 2006 9:19:54 PM

"To be fair, it isn't usually Clarke and other government ministers who are to blame for such miscarriages of justice, but the police."

Up to a point Lord Copper.

In the famous case of Sally Clark, the failure was her defence Counsel, whose Rolls Royce mind failed to challenge Meadows stupid statistical inferences and ignored the (written) question raised by the jury about blood tests. Which when found provided the basis of the successful appeal - and over which the pathologist who was asked about then had lied and refused to turn up for the appeal - when Mrs C had furnished herself with a new counsel.

see http://www.williambowles.info/guests/sally_clark.html

for the full details.

This sounds like a pre-emptive strike before all the people who get slammed up under the new Fascist Terrist laws, Sect. 59 etc.,

The savings are what m'lern'd friends call nugatory - economy cannot possibly be raised in the defence of such disgusting inhumane proposals.

Should anyone manage to string the fat bastard up, I will happily hang on to his legs.

I am not a lady, but if I was I should not like him to be stoof behind me whilst I was doing some photocopying.

Posted by: Jolyon | Apr 20, 2006 11:16:19 PM

The condemned used to pay people to hang onto their legs, so they would die faster and suffer less. Let him dangle.

"We've fucked up the NHS, we've turned Iraq into a big money-pit, most of our IT contracts run weel over budget, the boss likes to fly RAF and his wife can burn through £250 a day at the hairdresser's. Add in the PFI hangover that's starting to kick in good and proper and it's clear that we need to start cutting corners more visibly now. So we're starting with our usual trick, kicking people who are already down and nicking their wallets.

We didn't expect a third term, you see. This was supposed to implode with the Tories in charge, but the boss took a shine to his office, and it messed up our game-plan..."

Posted by: Niels | Apr 21, 2006 3:32:13 PM

It is my feeling that the compensation should more than 'compensate' for your potentially lost earnings etc. It should be like a lottery win to try and make up for something so irretrievably unfair... Would anyone really mind?

Niels, I like your thoughts!

Posted by: Gavin Ayling | Apr 23, 2006 11:12:17 AM