Friday, January 19, 2007

Sick Britain's crazy police priorities

This is a country where even a rapist can get off with a police "caution"

A man who called a police surgeon a "f***ing Paki" was advised yesterday by a judge: "Next time call him a fat bastard and don't say anything about his colour." The judge gave the unusual advice after describing the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute the man for a racially aggravated offence as "a nonsense".

Matthew Stiddard had been taken into custody by police officers who mistook him for a suspect in another case. After two hours in a cell he demanded to see a doctor, complaining that his back hurt. But when Dr Imraan Jhetam arrived, Stiddart refused to be seen by him. Exeter Crown Court heard that Stiddart, 36, swore and told him: "I want an English doctor, not a f***ing Paki."

Stiddart had opted for the case to be heard at Crown court, where he admitted a charge of racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress. Judge Paul Darlow told the court that the case should never have been brought and suggested that Dr Jhetam should have let the insults "roll off his back".

The judge said: "I wonder what this is doing in the Crown Court. This was a single sentence to a man who should not have taken it so seriously. He is a man of some considerable standing in society and I cannot see that it caused him any distress or hurt.

"It should not have caused a problem in this case. "To charge it in the first place rather than, say, let it go by with a caution strikes me as rather odd. We let people hit each other and break into people's homes and they are not charged."

Ann Reddrop, for the prosecution, said: "When there is a burglary and it is in the public interest there will be a prosecution. This was a police surgeon and he is entitled to the same protection as anyone else."

Judge Darlow replied: "So next time call him a fat bastard and don't say anything about his colour. When we have an overstretched police force and an overstretched CPS one wonders why we are sitting here with long faces dealing with one sentence."

The judge said last night that his comments were "not intended to make light of racist remarks". He said: "Any reading of what was actually said in court would make it clear that the potential seriousness of what occurred was that a police surgeon was threatened with violence and non-racial abuse to the extent that he decided he needed to leave the cell to which he had been called. This amounted to an assault, but this was not the offence charged. "A gratuitous single piece of racist abuse was uttered as the surgeon left. This was the charge on which the full weight of the law had been brought to bear. My comments were not intended to make light of racist remarks.



A quivering bottom lip can be worth millions

A gay lawyer at one of America’s most prestigious law firms has created a stir within New York’s legal community after suing his firm for discrimination. Aaron Charney, 28, a corporate associate at Sullivan & Cromwell, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan yesterday accusing the firm of systematically discriminating against him because of his sexual orientation.

The lawsuit, which demands unspecified damages, claims Mr Charney was subject to "lewd and illegal conduct" at work. It gives several examples to support his claim including an incident where Mr Charney alleges that a senior partner threw a file at his feet before instructing him to "bend over and pick it up – I’m sure you like that."

Elsewhere in the 48-page complaint, Mr Charney alleges that he was accused of conducting an "unnatural" relationship with another male employee after the two regularly ate lunch together.

Sullivan & Cromwell, renowned for its huge roster of corporate clients, immediately hit back at the claim, distributing an internal e-mail from its chairman, Rodgin Cohen, saying the firm "categorically denies Mr Charney’s allegations". Mr Cohen said that the firm investigated Mr Charney’s complaint when it was first raised last year, together with a "multimillion-dollar" demand for compensation, but rejected both. He said the firm was "widely recognised as welcoming to all persons without regard to sexual orientation".

Mr Cohen’s assertions were supported by David Braff, managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s litigation practice, who told The New York Times: "I have been openly gay since I arrived at this firm in 1984. There’s absolutely no atmosphere of hostility toward gay people here."

Mr Charney, who is still employed at Sullivan & Cromwell, said in an interview with the Above The Law blog that he was "doing what I can to shine light on a serious problem. I'm trying to be brave and stand up for what's right."

He said he had spoken to several lawyers who had advised settling the matter privately but insisted on filing a formal – and therefore public – lawsuit because he "wanted it to be handled in a way that drew attention to the issue."

New York’s army of legal bloggers have, so far, avoided taking a stance on the issue but their readers have shown no such restraint. Responses to news of the lawsuit on Above The Law and The Wall Street Journal law blog varied from encouragement to contempt.

Mr Charney, who has recently set up his own website, has been branded an "opportunist" acting out of a selfish desire for "money and publicity".

But other, mostly anonymous comments, expressed sympathy for Mr Charney and his case suggesting that Sullivan & Cromwell partners considered themselves "above the law".

The case has attracted so much attention in New York because as well as addressing the emotive issue of sexual equality on Wall Street, it is extremely unusual. A handful of secretaries and other support staff have sued major law firms for discrimination but it is virtually unheard of for junior lawyers to attempt similar claims because of the effect they are perceived to have on their future employment prospects.

Also unusual - and reinforcing rumours that Mr Charney is a determined self-publicist - is the news that he will be representing himself in the case, prompting a Wall Street Journal reader to remind others of the well-known legal adage that: "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."


Feminist Contradictions

Post lifted from Stefan Karlsson in Sweden

One defining characteristic of feminism and feminists is their contradictions. Indeed, their actual beliefs contradict the word feminism, which presumably would mean enhancing the feminine. But feminists abhor distinctly feminine women and want them to become more like men. Not that they're pro-masculine, as they characterise men as oppressors and want men to become more like women. Feminism should instead be re-named to androgynism, as they want no differences to exist between the sexes. As feminism is the established word, I will continue to use it, but really, androgynism would be a more correct word.

I've already covered one example of the contradictions of feminists, when the editorial page of Swedish leftist news paper Aftonbladet, featured articles celebrating the silly "gay pride" parades in Stockholm this summer side by side with articles rooting for Hamas and Hezbollah, movements which favor death penalty for homosexuality.

In the latest week, more feminist contradictions have appeared. Swedish communist feminist Tora Breitholtz said in the context of discussing abortion that "that women taking the right of deciding about their own bodies is more provocative than you think". Indeed it is, for Breitholtz herself vehemently opposes it in other contexts, such as prostitution which she thinks should be illegal. If women have the right of deciding over their bodies, that also means the right to sell sex. But Breitholtz only favors when she thinks it means less "patriarchial oppression".

Similarly, U.S. feminist Senator Barbara Boxer from California attacked U.S. State Secretary Condoleeza Rice for being childless. But as Rush Limbaugh points out, this of course completely contradicts the feminist view that motherhood means subjugation and oppression of women. Feminists should therefore view Rice as a role model for not having children. Boxer's perceived need to use a "Chewbacca Defence" argument against Rice made her forget feminist ideology. Which is rather curious as there is no need to resort to the "Chewbacca Defence" when arguing against Bush's Iraq policy, as there are many valid arguments that could be used.

Feminists, it seems, view logical coherence as "patriarchial plot".

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