The Majesty of the Law


Reid pleads to keep offenders out of jail
By Laura Clout

John Reid, the Home Secretary, has written to judges asking them to consider alternatives to sending criminals to overcrowded prisons, it was disclosed last night.

The letter, co-signed by Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, and the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, reminds judges and magistrates of the importance of dealing with the prison population as the Government attempts to contain the overcrowding crisis.

so it is just as well that

Soca is 'paralysed by bureaucracy'
By Laura Clout
Last Updated: 7:57am GMT 24/01/2007

Britain’s answer to the FBI, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, is beset by “major problems” just ten months after it was created, it was claimed last night.

Soca, set up to combat high-level drug and people-traffickers, was said to be failing to take up the majority of the drugs cases referred to it by Customs.

Some officers are already seeking to leave to return to conventional police work, it was said, due to low morale and a perception that the organisation is “paralysed by bureaucracy”.

but never let it be said that we are not being protected from dangerous criminals, especially those who keep slavering canines ready to tear victims limb from limb:


8in tall Lucy in 'danger' trial

By Jeremy Armstrong
A TINY sausage dog is facing being put down - for biting a neighbour's ankle.

Friends of owner Melanie Hobson, 25, cannot believe her eight inch tall Dachshund Lucy is being brought before the courts.

Stunned Melanie, who lives with husband Stephen, 33, and their two children, said: "Lucy is a lovely dog. I would never have her round my kids if I thought she was dangerous.

"You only need to look at her. She's tiny - how can she be classed as a dangerous dog? "I just want this whole nightmare to be over.


War Hero
And who says that crime doesn't pay? the fact that you can con the taxpayer out of £22 000 worth of benefits, get a 10 month jail sentence, admit your guilt and be out in five months says it all.

To put it into perspective you could get paid £1500 pcm for 6 months in Iraq......£22 000 five months holiday camp, £9000 ish getting your arse shot off..... makes you wonder who the fekkin mugs are.


War Hero
And who says that crime doesn't pay? the fact that you can con the taxpayer out of £22 000 worth of benefits, get a 10 month jail sentence, admit your guilt and be out in five months says it all.

To put it into perspective you could get paid £1500 pcm for 6 months in Iraq......£22 000 five months holiday camp, £9000 ish getting your arse shot off..... makes you wonder who the fekkin mugs are.


That the Executive are seeking to instruct the Judiciary to disapply the law enacted by the Legislature is a novel concept that would have exercised the mind of constitutional observers such as Professor AV Dicey and Sir Ivor Jennings who had much to say about the separation of powers and the rule of law in our unwritten constitution. Indeed, the separation of powers was a concept that originated in Aristotle and developed as a doctrine by John Locke in the seventeenth century who, in his Second Treatise of Civil Government in 1690 wrote:

"The three Organs of State must not get into one hand..It may be too great a temptation to human frailty, apt to grasp at power, for the same person who have the power of making laws, to have also in their hands the power to execute them, whereby they may exempt themselves from obedience to the laws they make, and suit the law, both it's making and execution, the their own private advantage."

The 'Cash for Honours' investigation by London's finest illustrate the contemporary nature of Locke's rationale for the doctrine as much as they illustrate the truth that the executive (that is to say, the 'Government) have long dominated the Legislature who comprise Parliamentary MPs. A combination of the Party system of discipline, the 'whip' system, the domination of Parliamentary procedure and business have resulted in much ill thought-out and bad law of which the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is but one example of how such laws impact upon the ordinary day to day life of the Subject, bring the law into disrepute and alienate the public from it.

This morning, the BBC presented the news by saying that Ministers were calling upon the judges to send people to prison only as a 'last resort'. The truth is that judges do not engage nor have they ever engaged in modern times in sending people to prison as a 'first resort'.

The 'first' resort of prison occurs when Legislation is enacted which overrules the judges discretion in the sentence he awards. Murder is an obvious example where a judge has no discretion at all but to award a mandatory life sentence to someone found guilty of it. There are, of course other examples where judicial discretion has been completely or partially removed by an encroaching executive anxious to be seen as being 'tough on crime'. Possession of an unlicensed firearm for example will find an individual 'banged up' regardless of the circumstances of how it came into his possession and there are other increasing examples where the willingness of the executive to ensure the passage of increasing array of draconian legislation panders to the populist but expensive 'lock-em-up' mentality 'trumps' the idea that prison is the measure of last resort for those too dangerous to be turned loose on society.

This prevailing punitive approach championed by the 'Prince of Darkness' Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary and accelerated under a succession of like-minded sociopaths which followed him, culminating in the present incumbent: "dinna mess wi me ya Bassa' Reid sees the culmination of this testorerone approach to criminal justice since Reid himself has been responsible for the programme of early release of the very same dangerous offenders released in preference to those who are either languishing in Prison who would never have been there before the law was manipulated to ensure they would be, or because prison in the United Kingdom is no more than a social dumping ground for the mentally ill, the functionally illiterate who were sacrificed to a failed 'care in the community project pioneered by Virginia Bottomly when she was Minister for Health in a Conservalabourtive government.

What would judge John Deed say?

I suspect he would say to the Home Secretary that an independent judiciary has never, since the abolition of the 'Star Chamber', existed to do the bidding of the executive and nether will it allow itself to be used to dig the executive out of a hole it has dug for itself and for which it retains the political responsibility of addressing.

I suspect that Deed J as a fictional judge, as well as Denning before him in the real world could well point to Laura Clout's headline in the Telegraph: "SOCA Paralysed by bureaucracy" as a paradigm of the state of affairs that exists in the Home Office. That the Home Office itself is simply a microcosm of the state of affairs of the party of which John Reid is a prominent member which is itself 'Unfit for Purpose' and that our judiciary will not allow itself to enter the political arena and allow itself to be accused of colluding in what the Government have been rightly criticised for, since if the Government are guilty of culpable neglect by releasing dangerous offenders into the community, the judiciary, for its part, will not be criticised for failing to send them there in the first place because those which they send there were deemed by Parliament to be dangerous enough to be locked up as a measure of first resort!

Regards and best wishes


Time to follow the example of the world's newest Super Power.

Execute all convicted murderers, sex offenders, terrorists and drug dealers. Then strip the bodies of any useable organs.

Result: Lots of free space in prisons. And the waiting time for transplant surgery comes down.

Alternatively - do fcuk all. Let the scum back out on the streets. Watch violent crime go through the roof and the ordinary, decent people of this country lose any faith in the police to protect them. And start taking the law into their own hands.

Either way, lots of dead criminals. Problem solved!
Iolis, well said. The problem is that modern politics (forget the Party issue) has become focussed on quick fixes that make good listening/viewing/reading.

After Dunblane, when firearms were effectively banned, large amounts of illegally packaged SAA were moved around the country by the Police. The ammunition was not moved as EOD Arisings by the Military Authorities.

This law was passed quickly, without much thought and was a knee jerk reaction - but "something" was being seen to be done.

I use this as an example only as I was very involved in the arguments at the time. I suspect the same is true of many other laws passed, virtually on the spur of the moment.


True. If you outlaw guns, then only the Outlaws have guns.

While we have'nt, thank God, had another Dunblane, shootings in Glasgow are an almost weekly occurance. The rest of Scotland does'nt have the same problems...yet. But here, like everywhere else, violent crime is on the rise. Coppers are out-numbered and sometimes literally out-gunned.

Only a matter of time before AQ realises what a big, juicy soft target we are.

And the terrible irony of Dunblain? If the police had enforced the Laws that existed at the time, Hamilton would never have been able to keep guns in the first place.



Very well written, although, against Home Office direction, you are using very long sentences.

I feel the real problem today is that the erosion of long established principle for short term gain. This applies to the executive and legislature as well as the general population. The media are perhaps the worst offenders though. The seperation of powers and firearms laws being prime examples.

The second loss is that of the discipline to enforce principle (and I suppose the education to understand it). We have a generation of parents feeding their children what they want, rather than what is good for them. They feel that showing love is giving them what they want now, rather than teaching them self-discipline, the benefits of deferred gratification and a life-long ethos to pass on to future generations. These are, of course, broad generalisations but 'm having a 'bah, humbug' moment.

As to countdokku's well-made point about Dunblane, clearly what was needed was discipline, not new laws. As ever, our dreadful politicans played to the tabloid inspired gallery, again.


The credibility gap - that gap which exists between objective evidence of the existence of a state of affairs and official denial of its existence continues to be wider than ever. One wonders therefore why the judiciary should be prevailed upon to refrain from using prison in light of the Prime Minister's statement at Prime Minister's questions a week last Wednesday as recorded in the Commons Hansard:

17 Jan 2007 : Column 782

The Prime Minister: "I can assure my hon. Friend that we will continue to invest in our police services. The work that has been done in Lancashire is remarkable: it has had an excellent record over the past few years. Given all the criticism of the Home Office, it is worth pointing out that crime has fallen, not risen, over the past 10 years. That contrasts with the record of the Conservatives, who doubled crime and, in the last few years before we came to office, cut the number of police. We have record numbers of police officers, we have police and community support officers, and we have falling crime."

Apart from Reuters, Hansard is always a very good source of news!

Regards and best wishes


"Falling Crime". From the same Government that brought you "WMD's that can be used in 45 minutes!"

How do you know when a politician is talking sh1te? His lips move.

We do have more police officers. Unfortunately, the mjority of them are doing paperwork, attending training courses in vital skills like "equality" or Walting around in sexy black kit protecting "VIP's", e.g. whatever bint is spreading her legs for William or Harry this week. Last year the Met spent more on VIP Close Protection than they did on protecting real people.
And from Sunday Telegraph - Christopher Booker's notebook

Harriet the cow had 22 officers out to kill her

This column has reported many strange confrontations between officialdom and the British public over the years, but none more bizarre than the drama which unfolded 10 days ago in a field near Newent in the Forest of Dean. At 10.30 on the morning of January 10 no fewer than 22 officials – two state veterinary officials and eight trading standards officials, supported by 12 policemen – turned up, without warning, to slaughter Harriet, a perfectly healthy, nine-year-old pet Jersey cow.

Last week, more details emerged of this latest twist to a barely credible story which has been unfolding for many months and was raised in Parliament last November by the local MP, Mark Harper. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is determined to kill Harriet (known to Defra as "bovine animal UK OX0564 00177") because another calf, born five months later, belonging to a different herd on another part of the same Oxfordshire farm, eventually developed BSE. Under the EU rules which were drawn up as part of ending the British beef ban, Harriet would have to be destroyed as a "cohort" of the infected animal, because she had been born within a year on the same farm.

In vain did Harriet's owner, David Price, point out that the two animals had never met and could never have shared the same food, and that the EU directive only applied to animals intended for the food chain. When this was raised in the Commons by Mr Harper on November 7, the agriculture minister, Ben Bradshaw, ritually intoned that there was "no exemption under EU or domestic law for live cattle, whether or not they are considered to be pets". If Defra allowed Harriet to live, Brussels would sue.

A fortnight later, however, a message came from an official in the European Parliament to say that, from the end of this month, a new EU regulation will mean that an animal need not be destroyed until it reaches the end of its "productive life" (which, for Harriet, would mean when she dies of natural causes). The message ended: "I hope this helps. All the best for you and Harriet."

Perhaps this was why Defra sent in its hit-squad. On January 10 at 9.20 am, Mr Price had a tip-off that they would be there within the hour. At 10.30 he and a small group of supporters were astonished to see a body of police blocking the road, while officials took a bolt-cutter to the chained gate of Harriet's field. (This, they said, was quite within their powers under the new Animal Health Act.) They planned to invade the field, corner Harriet, and haul her off to be killed and incinerated.

A stand-off ensued, lasting four hours, with much mobile telephoning on both sides. The local vicar, the Rev Patricia Pinkerton, having asked someone else to take a service, arrived to say that Mr Price's lawyers were applying for an emergency injunction, forbidding Defra to take any further action until the case was judicially reviewed. Eventually Mr Price's solicitor herself marched sternly up the muddy lane in her smart suit and high-heeled shoes, clutching papers to confirm that the injunction process had begun. The yellow-jacketed officials departed in their fleet of vehicles, leaving Pat Innocent, the observer on whose evidence this account is based, to muse on the famous 1960s experiments by Stanley Milgram showing how easily people can be persuaded by authority to obey foolish orders which result in inflicting unnecessary pain on others.

No doubt the 12 policemen will be shown as 'on the beat'

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