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June 27, 2007

More Legal Changes

There are times when I despair, I really do:

Other measures include: stopping “plainly guilty” offenders having their convictions quashed as a result of procedural irregularities;

How can you determine whether someone is guilty or not unless you've followed the procedures to determine their guilt or not?

Summary justice, that's what this is. We don't like the look of you so off into pokey you go.

June 27, 2007 in Law | Permalink

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» Criminal Justice from Murky.org
Last night, with all attention on Blair regenerating into Brown, a new criminal justice bill was announced, which contains this little gem. Other measures include: stopping plainly guilty offenders having their convictions quashed as a resu... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 27, 2007 4:39:39 PM

Comments

...urinating in a public convenience?

"Looking at me in a funny way..."

etc.

Posted by: Roger Thornhill | Jun 27, 2007 11:59:53 AM

I've always liked the idea that when "procedural irregularities" occurred, then instead of automatically releasing the bad fellow (you'd have to establish whether the irregularities were minor enough that you can still treat him as bad), you fine the Chief Constable or the Prosecutor. Personally, I mean - no recourse to public funds.

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 27, 2007 12:20:13 PM

Why the surprise?

This is the outcome of one of the final acts of Dr John Reid, the retiring Home Secretary, who as a young man with a PhD in economic history joined the Communist Party in 1973 despite Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin at a secret session of 20th Congress of the Soviet Communit Party in 1956:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/25/newsid_2703000/2703581.stm

At the Congress, Khrushchev "revealed that in 1937 and 1938, 98 out of the 139 members of the Central Committee were shot on Stalin's orders."

As members of the Central Committee, they were dedicated Party members.

No wonder then that several years later in 1964, Leonid Brezhnev, considered ordering the assassination of Khrushchev:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/monitoring/41624.stm

For all that . .

"[Dr John Reod] joined the Communist party in 1973, leaving it to become a professional Labour party activist with close links to Neil Kinnock. He reaped his reward in 1987 when he won the ultrasafe seat of Motherwell North (now Hamilton North and Bellshill). He voted for Tony Blair as party leader in 1994 and by the end of that year was deputy spokesman on defence."
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/profiles/story/0,9396,-4372,00.html

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 27, 2007 12:50:00 PM

Sorry about the typo: Dr John Reod should, of course, have been our retiring Home Secretary Dr John Reid.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 27, 2007 12:54:04 PM

Maybe I've read you wrong, but if someone has been convicted then doesn't that mean you've followed the necessary procedure (albeit with "irregularities") ?

Tim adds: "irregularities" mean things like beating up suspects, fitting them up, not having evidence etc. So, no, conviction does not mean that you've followed the necessary procedures: that's why we have such procedures.

Posted by: IanCroydon | Jun 27, 2007 2:39:58 PM

Looking at the long record of successful appeals against convictions for serious crimes in the British judicial system since WW2, many of the appeals have turned on flawed, false and dubious forensic evidence and expert testimony.

Whatever the moral objections to capital punishment, its reintroduction is no longer a practical proposition in serious politics nowadays because of the many convictions for murder which have been eventually overturned as "unsound" on appeal. Far too many innocent people would have been hanged because of phoney science or lying or posturing experts.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 27, 2007 3:31:29 PM

Readers may be interested in this website dedicated to fighting cases of miscarriages of justice, past and ongoing:
http://www.innocent.org.uk/

Among its many valuable features is a running (and frightening long) catalogue of cases.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 27, 2007 3:45:36 PM

""irregularities" mean things like beating up suspects, fitting them up, not having evidence etc. "

I rather think things like "irregularities" refer to stuff like flawed jury instructions or direction, like that which got "plainly guilty" Nicholas van Hoogstraten off the hook.

Posted by: IanCroydon | Jun 27, 2007 3:50:49 PM

Possibly I'm mistaken but IME not many folks besides social science professionals know about what is usually called the "Milgram Experiment" in the literature:
http://www.new-life.net/milgram.htm
http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/psychology/milgram_obedience_experiment.html

The implications are horrifying.

Posted by: Bob B | Jun 27, 2007 3:58:59 PM

You have got to be fucking kidding me. If there were any sense in the world the worm who thought this up would be looking out of his window at the baying, pitchfork-wielding mob gathered outside intent on wrapping his intestines around the nearest oak tree before dousing him in something flammable and burning him to death.

People actually died to obtain the legal safeguards we enjoy today against arbitrary prosecution, double jeopardy and attainder. Yet every single one of those fundamental underpinnings of our system of justice have been violated or weakened under NuLabour. God help us.

Posted by: David Gillies | Jun 28, 2007 7:58:58 AM