The rights of criminals still coming first in Britain
As thief gets away with caution, boss who marched him to police lands false imprisonment charge
A boss who marched a thieving worker to a police station with a placard round his neck has been charged with false imprisonment. Yet the criminal himself has escaped with just a slap on the wrist.
Simon Cremer took action against Mark Gilbert after learning he had cashed a forged company cheque. He hung a sign reading `Thief' on Gilbert and paraded him past shoppers on a busy high street before handing him to police. Now, however, officers have decided the thief should receive nothing more than a caution, while throwing the book at 44-year-old Mr Cremer, who thought he was making a citizen's arrest.
Mr Cremer and three workers from his carpet fitting firm who helped him overpower the sub-contractor have all been charged with false imprisonment - an offence that carries a maximum life term. Even Gilbert has expressed surprise that the men had been arrested, admitting: `I'm the criminal here.'
The charges came on the day Whitehall statistics showed tens of thousands of serious criminals are receiving only a caution - including rapists and paedophiles. But the number of criminals being sent to jail is at its lowest level for a decade.
Mr Cremer, a father of two, said yesterday: `I can't believe the police system. This is a guy who is a proven thief, he stole a cheque, forged a signature and took money by deception, surely there's enough to charge him. But no, he's been let off with a caution.' Mr Cremer, who has no criminal record, added: `I would do exactly the same thing again, especially now he has got off with a caution. I don't regret my action, the fact I tied his hands is the only bit I regret.'
His partner Karen Boardman, 44, who has just returned to work as a receptionist at a GP's surgery after treatment for breast cancer, attacked the `topsy-turvy justice' that could see Mr Cremer and his three employees spend time behind bars. She said: `I am disgusted. I have no faith left in the British justice system. "'The person that committed the crime has walked away, completely free. He will be sitting at home over Christmas, without a care, while Simon and the other three, who are all family men, have this hanging over them. `Their judgment was maybe clouded slightly because times are tough but I will not condemn what they've done. Even giving them a caution would be wrong.'
Mr Cremer, of Little Maplestead, Essex, was alerted to the theft in September when the Cash Converters company phoned him about a bounced cheque from his firm, In House Flooring. It emerged that Gilbert, from Colchester, who earned up to 1,000 pounds a week, had taken a cheque from an old book, written it out for 845 pounds, and cashed it for holiday spending money. He claims he was owed wages but his boss had been too busy to write out a cheque - a claim Mr Cremer vehemently denies.
When Gilbert next went in to work in Witham, Essex, he was wrestled to the floor, tied up and bundled into a van before being paraded 350 yards through the streets. In a scene reminiscent of the medieval approach to justice, when suspects were named and shamed by being sent to the village stocks, a cardboard sign was slung around his neck which read: `THIEF. I stole 845 pounds. Am on my way to police station.'
Gilbert claims he was punched, threatened with tools and feared for his life. But Mr Cremer insists no violence was used, although he `restrained' his employee for his own protection. Gilbert said of his former boss and colleagues: `I feel for them and I don't want anything bad to happen to them. But it wasn't really correct what they did to me.'
Freedom of religion does not give right to flout country's laws, says EU court as it backs ban on Sikh wearing turban in ID pic
While I have a general sympathy for migrants being encouraged to assimilate, I am not sure that this judgement is wise. If he normally wears a turban, would not a photo of him in a turban make him easier to identify?
A Sikh man who wanted the right to wear a turban while being photographed for his French drivers' licence has lost his case in the European Court of Human Rights. Shingara Mann Singh, a French national, lost a series of appeals in France against the authorities who refused to issue a new licence with a photograph of him wearing a turban. Under French regulations, motorists must appear 'bareheaded and facing forward' in their licence photographs but the Sikh religion requires men to wear a turban at all times.
Mr Singh, 52, took his case to the ECHR but the Strasbourg-based court dismissed the case. It ruled that 'identity photographs for use on driving licences which showed the subject bareheaded were needed by the authorities in charge of public safety.'
In a statement, it recognised that the rule on photographs 'amounted to interference with the exercise of the right to freedom of religion', but judged that this was justified. Freedom of religion 'did not always guarantee the right to behave in a manner governed by a religious belief and did not confer on people who did so the right to disregard rules that had proved to be justified,' the court said.
Mr Singh had complained to the court that the French regulations made no provision for separate treatment for members of the Sikh community. The court noted that Muslim women had to remove their headscarves for some identification purposes.
An unusually "incorrect" entertainer from Australia
Rolf tells it like it is: Aborigines do very little to help themselves -- so why should we worry?
Rolf Harris regrets the racist verse on Aborigines in Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, the song that made him famous in Britain and launched the wobbleboard on an unsuspecting music world.
In Melbourne yesterday to plug a book of illustrations of the same name, the singer and painter said he had tried to erase the lines "Let me Abos go loose" and "They're of no further use" from all recordings over the years, with limited success. "It was a mark of the times, done totally innocently with no realisation that you would offend at all . Just trying to create a fun song for a bunch of Aussies who were drinking themselves stupid on Swan Lager in London at the time," he said.
But half a century after penning the controversial lyrics, the London-based expatriate has not succumbed to political correctness. He blames traditional Aboriginal values for the dire living conditions in many indigenous communities. "The attitude is that in their original way of life they would really wreck the surrounding countryside that they lived in and they would leave all the garbage and they would go walkabout to the next place," he said. "The traditional attitude is still there and I wish there was a simple solution but I'm not certain."
He has strong views about some Aborigines lamenting the conditions of their communities. "You sit at home watching the television and you think to yourself, 'Get up off your arse and clean up the streets your bloody self' and 'Why would you expect somebody to come in and clean up your garbage which you've dumped everywhere?' But then you have to think to yourself that it's a different attitude to life."
Aboriginal children were never disciplined or expected to adhere to rules until adulthood, he said. "[Until] then they have a totally carefree life to do what they want and that quite often involves smashing everything that they have."
Australia. An old-fashioned responsible father: Good to see
Boy, 5, made to walk two-and-a-half hours to school
A NORTHERN TERRITORY man has been making his five-year-old son walk two-and-a-half hours to school every day, after he was kicked off the school bus. When Jack Burt confessed that he'd been banned for five days for hitting the bus driver in the head with an apple core, dad Sam thought he should learn the hard way. He and Jack last week were getting up at 5.10am for the dusty 13km-hike from the Darwin rural area of Herbert, all the way to Humpty Doo. Mr Burt also took the wheels off Jack's bike so he couldn't be tempted to ride to school.
At the end of the old-fashioned punishment, Mr Burt, 38, took out a public notice in the Northern Territory News. "Jack Burt and his dad wish to thank all the kind people who stopped to offer them lifts in the past week," the ad read. "It's good to see a number of good people in the community. Jack hopes to be allowed back on the bus on Monday."
But in the battle of wills between tall and short, the smart money's on Jack. "Shame it didn't work," Mr Burt told the Northern Territory News. "He got back on the bus Monday, and within three stops he was in trouble again. I couldn't believe it. "I don't understand - he's good at school, he gets awards all the time."
However, a breakthrough might be in sight. When Jack this week said he didn't mind walking - because it made him strong for fighting - he was told if he started fighting he might have to walk home in the afternoons too. Jack's eyes got a little teary. He said he might not get home before dark. Mr Burt told him not to worry - they'd leave the key out for him.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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