Filed under Crime & Punishment

When ‘dogged pursuit’ turns into ‘lunatic obsession’

Welsh teacher Paul Davies drove like an idiot in May 2006. This isn’t especially surprising – if you’re a driver and claim you’ve never driven like an idiot, then you’re an arrogant liar.

Unlike most people who drive like idiots, Mr Davies was unlucky: he span out of control and hit another car, driven by a man named Kelvin Palmer. Mr Palmer was unluckier still, breaking assorted bits of himself in the crash and having to spend several months in hospital.

The police and CPS were initially reluctant to bring charges, on the basis that there wasn’t much evidence that Mr Davies had done anything terribly appalling [side note on press competence: the crash has universally been reported as a '120mph' crash. The testimony in court from experienced drivers was that Mr Davies was driving at 80-90mph - a 22-year-old nurse was the only witness to suggest the 120mph figure].

Mr Palmer doggedly pursued them until they did. Which is sort-of fair enough: the guy did drive like a twat, and did fuck Mr Palmer over royally. And it’s just about possible that enough prosecutions of people who drive like twats and are unlucky to have a serious accident will deter people from driving like twats generally (albeit incredibily unlikely, given the evidence across the criminal justice realm that draconian punishment has next to no effect unless people perceive a serious chance of getting caught). Eventually, Mr Davies was convicted and sent to prison.

However, that’s not the end of the story. Mr Davies is a good teacher – so good that the parents at his school have lobbied the governors of his school to not sack him. And indeed, the governors have decided to keep his job open until his release in the autumn.

Some people, me included, might be glad to see a good man who’s making a valuable contribution to society not having his life totally ruined for a moment of mild idiocy crossed with bad luck. Mr Palmer, however, is lobbying to get Mr Davies sacked. I think that’s the point where ‘quest for justice’ becomes ‘being an utter cunt’.

Crystal ball gazing

Cue endless ill-informed and tedious wanking on and on about how the Evul Turrerists done gonna kill us all. Give it a fucking rest already…

Owright waste of time

If my son, who I believed to be straight, died in a kinky gay drugged-up S&M accident, I might spend some time in denial: “yes, he was raped and murdered, that’s it – he obviously didn’t just take a lot of drugs, have a lot of rough sex and then fall in a pool and drown”.

But while a father’s denial is understandable, I’m sceptical that it should form the basis of a hugely expensive police operation and a series of speculative arrests. Indeed, but for Michael Barrymore’s fame – and hence the potential for media superstardom in the eyes of the publicity-whoring senior copper inside of the case – I very much doubt it would have done in the case of Stuart Lubbock.

Side note: can we ban all policemen and policewomen from media appearances? Go and solve some fucking crimes rather than playing The Great Detective on TV…

Killing: bad; bribing: bothered

The BAe bribery scandal has been moderately entertaining. The latest news is that the Yanks want to investigate, presumably on the basis that shafting foreign competitors is a Good Idea.

But while it’s quite funny to watch the accusations piling up, it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s no moral justification for the case.

If BAe does anything that’s morally wrong, then that would be selling arms to corrupt tinpot dictators for the oppression of their own people and their neighbours.

It doesn’t make a blind bit of difference whether the dictators also use the BAe contracts as an excuse to steal money from their own people, or whether they merely use the BAe weapons as a tool to ensure they can continue stealing money from their own people.

In other words, anyone who thinks that BAe’s core business is acceptable, but that paying off a few dodgy princes is unacceptable, is a sanctimonious cunt talking sanctimonious cant. And the fact that the law allows us to sell guns ‘n’ bombs to third world hellholes, but not to slip their rulers the occasional baksheesh, is fucking stupid.

Questions for debate

1) If a fanatic kidnaps and beheads someone, while filming the results for a DVD, should that be a criminal offence? Should the beheader go to prison? How long for?

2) If someone in a market buys a DVD produced by a fanatic of someone being beheaded, should that be a criminal offence? Should the purchaser go to prison? How long for?

3) If the beheading DVD is uploaded onto YouTube (or fanatic equivalent), and then someone downloads it – hence not funding terrorism or inciting the acts to take place – should that be a criminal offence? Should the downloader go to prison? How long for?

4) If you think the person in example 3 should go to prison, should the people who downloaded Saddam Hussein’s execution video also go to prison? If not, why not?

5) If the police’s head of anti-terrorist operations says that the person in example 3 should not necessarily be sent to prison, but should receive a criminal record and be put on a security watch-list, is that an insult to the victims of terrorism, or merely sane?

Discuss, with reference to the obvious analogy.

Ousmane Dabo is a vindictive whining cock

Everyone knows Joey Barton is a thug. However, if one of your mates thumps you, you have minor outpatient treatment but are OK, and you’re asked whether you want to press charges, then – unless you are a despicable grassing little cunt, which is probably why you were thumped in the first place, you say that you do not.

Mr Dabo, the fucking French pansy, is pressing charges.

The worst miscarriage of justice of the millennium: ignored

Remember Operation Ore? When the UK police were given a list of 7,000 Evil Internet Paedos, arrested and charged them, leaked their names to the papers, and claimed that every last one of them was an evil nonce who shouldn’t be allowed near children?

Well, it turns out that many of the people on the list were innocent (longer version of the same article here in PDF format). Perhaps even most of them: the police made no attempts to check for credit card fraud, which is estimated to account for 50% of total cards used. They also cheerfully lied in court that everyone who got caught up in the scandal had deliberately clicked a link saying “click here for child porn”, when in fact there was no such link.

39 people caught up in the investigation in the UK alone have since committed suicide.

You’d’ve thought that this might create some kind of outrage – campaign groups, media storms, etc. In fact, aside from Duncan Campbell’s dedicated pursuit in PC Pro and the Guardian, and a few follow-on stories in the specialist IT press, there has been no media coverage at all of the fact that the police systematically lied to ruin the lives of thousands of innocent people.

Why not? I think this exchange from the first series of Blackadder might sum it up:

Officer: Who will defend the accused… [Percy stands] …and thus condemn himself to certain burning at the stake as a partner in Satan if the accused is found guilty? [Percy sits, acting quite interested in his book and quill]

Baldrick: Lord Percy will defend His Royal Highness [motions at Percy to stand]

Percy: Oh, yes, yes, me, sorry, yes… Hello…

Witchsmeller: [arriving, carrying a Bible] Witch! [The crowd gasps] Witchsmeller: Witch!! [The crowd gasps] Witchsmeller: [now in front of Percy] WITCH!!! [The crowd cheers]

Witchsmeller: [to Harry] My Lord, will you force us to listen to the pleadings of a man who may be a witch himself? [The crowd gasps]

Harry: You know, you’re absolutely right. Yes, well, that concludes the case for the defence.

In the face of that kind of public attitude, congratulations to Mr Campbell – and to Alex at the Yorkshire Ranter for making some further good points. And if you run a blog yourself – or a newspaper, or anything, then for God’s sake tell people about this terrible, terrible miscarriage of justice.

As a side note, Dr Melissa Deary is certainly a witch. What kind of fucking criminologist thinks that people should be presumed guilty until proven innocent? -

“Let’s get some perspective on what we’re dealing with here, a rising and extremely pernicious crime against children. If the police contact people whose credit card details appeared on Landslide’s list, then let them prove these details were stolen if that is indeed the case. Such “inconvenience” is worth it to clamp down on this horrific crime.” – Dr Melissa Dearey, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Hull

(it’s also worth side noting, while on the subject of Dr Dearey’s utter ignorance, that none of the alleged crimes prosecuted in the UK under Operation Ore involved the abuse of a child, and indeed that there is no evidence whatsoever that child sexual abuse is on the rise.)

Sentencing quiz, volume 53,093,085

Consider a woman who has a bizarre mental episode during which she robs a pensioner. The woman immediately confesses and pleads guilty, she has no previous convictions, no weapon is used, £7 is stolen, no harm is done, and she is an anorexic with an 18-month-old child. I’d like to imagine a) how you’d sentence the crime b) how you think the crime would be sentenced in real life.

Now, *I* believe sending the woman to jail at all would be a grossly stupid idea, punishing her child, ensuring her condition gets worse, and making no positive difference to anyone. But I realise that I’m a pathetic bleeding heart liberal, and hence that my suggestion of compulsory treatment and a community sentence is toward the bottom of anyone’s desires or expectations.

(yes, I’m also aware because I grew up in a middle-class family and went to university, that means that – even when I live in poor areas that have high crime rates – my experience of them as entirely managable and my experience of being robbed as being a bit annoying but nothing more doesn’t count. Only working class people are allowed to comment on crime, and even then only if they think we should bring back hanging ‘n’ flogging.)

But back to the case: the woman was actually given 14 months (more than a year, fact fans with poor division skills) inside. Now, I’m willing to bet that most readers, thanks to the brainwashing of the World’s Worst Press (TM) would have guessed something closer to half-an-hour’s community service and a holiday in the Maldives…

Almost time to burn your copy of Lolita

There is some logic in making child pornography illegal. The people who produce it do seriously harm children and should obviously be locked up. The fact that people who view these images drive supply suggests that it may be rational to criminalise them as well (although it’s not clear why the same punishments shouldn’t also be applied to people who download jihadi beheadings, happy slappings, and any other pictures that involve criminal acts and the infliction of harm in their creation).

However, if you think it is a good idea to make pornographic drawings of children illegal, you are a gibbering mad fucktard. Yes, of course they’re distasteful, but how the fuck does that warrant criminalisation? And given that there is no moral difference between a drawing of a fictional character and a passage of writing about a fictional character, bringing in such laws genuinely would set a precedent for literary censorship (remember, unlike ‘classic’ porn laws, laws on ‘indecent images of children’ have no exemption for literary works).

For the mad buggers in charge to be proposing such measures, they must have some degree of popular support. Which suggests there may even be some people who support them and aren’t gibberingly mad. If you support them and have some kind of reason for doing so beyond thinking that manga porn is a bit gross, please state it below – at the moment, I genuinely don’t understand how anyone could possibly think that sending people to jail for three years for possessing naughty comics is a Good Idea.

A step up, I’d say

The Scots are currently having one of the most brilliantly sensationalist murder trials in a long while. As reported by the BBC:

A priest felt “ashamed and disgusted” with himself after he had sex with a Polish student… a court has heard.

This is not surprising – she was female, attractive and over 16. No self-respecting, God-fearing priest would have touched her.

Incidentally, I had to edit the BBC quote above to remove the ‘accidental bad choice of words’ comedy in the original:

A priest felt “ashamed and disgusted” with himself after he had sex with a Polish student whose body was found in his church, a court has heard.

I’d probably feel a bit ashamed and disgusted if I had sex with a dead girl I’d just found, even if she was hot.