Saturday, June 19, 2010
Odious restrictions on recovery of legal costs disallowed
This was in initiative of the equally odious and now ousted British Labour Party government so it seems unlikely that the present Conservative government will be too bothered by the defeat
Miss Jeanette Miller, Founding President and CEO of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers (AMOL) has earned her nickname of “Miss Justice” after legal action launched by the Law Society against the government was successful. In September 2009, outraged by the impending implementation of motoring defence cost capping regulations, Miss Miller launched an e-petition on the no.10 website. By the time the petition closed, it had attracted almost 22,000 signatures:
Despite this strong objection, The Ministry Of Justice proceeded with the implementation of these unjust rules designed to cap the costs of a successfully acquitted defendant. The petition attracted the support from many high profile figures including 26 QC’s and the Criminal Bar Association have fully endorsed the sentiments behind the petition. The petition was also backed by many legal and motoring organizations. Following the petition, the Law Society took up the helm and launched judicial review proceedings against the government in January 2010. In his judgment given today, Lord Justice Elias made it clear that the statute does not allow the Lord Chancellor to decide what is reasonable. In setting out a scheme of rates and scales, he has to respect the statutory purpose set out in the Prosecution of Offences Act. The Act was intended to provide reasonable compensation for successful defendants. By implementing rates and scales which did not compensate defendants the Lord Chancellor had acted unlawfully
The judgment - handed down today, 15-6-2010, by Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice Keith - has ruled unlawful an attempt by the previous Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, to cap the costs paid to people acquitted in criminal cases. The court said:
“The new regulations involved a decisive departure from past principles. They jettison the notion that a defendant ought not to have to pay towards the cost of defending himself against what might in some cases be wholly false accusations, provided he incurs no greater expenditure than is reasonable and proper to secure his defence. Any change in that principle is one of some constitutional moment. It means that a defendant falsely accused by the state will have to pay from his own pocket to establish his innocence. Whatever the merits of that principle, I would be surprised if Parliament had intended that it could properly be achieved by sub-delegated legislation which is not even the subject of Parliamentary scrutiny.”
Upon hearing the news, Jeanette said: “I am truly delighted that on this most important issue, justice has been done. The months of hard work and campaigning have paid off to ensure that those who are innocent will not be left with financial ruin to contend with after clearing their names.”
Commenting on the judgment, Law Society President Robert Heslett said: “This is a great victory for the Law Society on behalf of innocent people who have been prosecuted by the state. The High Court’s ruling strikes down the previous Lord Chancellor’s plans, which would have meant that many people who were ineligible for legal aid and who were acquitted could have been seriously out of pocket because of the limits on the costs that they could recover. “This was entirely at odds with the accepted principles of justice. It wasquite wrong for the previous Government to devise such a scheme and I am delighted that the court has struck it down.
“The Law Society is pleased to have been able to champion the rights of the individual in this way so that people who are wrongly accused of offences to recover the reasonable costs of clearing their name. As the High Court said, this attempted change to the law was of 'some constitutional moment' and we are delighted that this policy cannot now continue.
Miss Miller campaigned for signatures to her e-petition in 2009 which preceded the judicial review proceedings. She was also greatly involved in assisting the Law Society in compiling their case against the government and disclosed detailed information and statistics from her own specialist motor defence firm, Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, for use in the case. The Law Society’s case was a judicial review of the previous Lord Chancellor’s decision to introduce a scheme to limit the amount of costs that acquitted defendants can recover from central funds.
In his judgment given today, Lord Justice Elias made it clear that the statute does not allow the Lord Chancellor to decide what is reasonable. In setting out a scheme of rates and scales, he has to respect the statutory purpose set out in the Prosecution of Offences Act. The Act was intended to provide reasonable compensation for successful defendants. By implementing rates and scales which did not compensate defendants the Lord Chancellor had acted unlawfully.
Another Peaceful Solution
by Emmett Tyrrell
The campaign to overturn in the courts California's Proposition 8 is a perfect example of one of my most deeply held findings. Check that! Two of my most deeply held findings.
The first is that liberals always go too far. They often start out with a good value and drive it right off the cliff. For instance, they start with peace or justice or tolerance, and they go off the rails, usually getting the opposite. The second finding is that conservatives embrace greater diversity than liberals. They are not ideologues, but rather creatures of a philosophy that allows them more latitude than liberals, who really are ideologues, have.
Let us dilate on the last matter first, as it really does shine a light on an aspect of conservatism that rarely is noted. Two major legal minds of the conservative movement are on opposite sides of the case over Proposition 8. One is Charles J. Cooper. He is a star in the conservative legal firmament, and he considers marriage to be a matter between a man and a woman. The other is Ted Olson. He considers it to be a matter of man and woman, woman and woman, and man and man. As he told The Washington Post the other day, discrimination on the basis of sex is "wrong" and "hurtful," and he has "never understood it."
Both are friends of mine, and I respect both men's views, though I side with Cooper. Moreover, I wonder about the liberals who hold these values today. Where were they in, say, 1960 or 1950 or any time back when gay rights were unthinkable? But here we are in 2010, and the whole liberal movement is with Ted. OK, I am with them, to a point.
When I got to think about it, I thought it was wrong to deny a stable couple, whether woman and woman or man and man, certain rights -- for instance, the right to visit a partner at a hospital (I am told that right often is denied homosexuals), as well as the rights to enter into a health policy, to insurance and to inheritance. There are all sorts of rights and obligations that couples want to share but cannot. But with the simple expedient of a civil contract, they could have them, so why bar people from this? They can live together. Why not help them live stably?
But that is not what the organized gays want. They want to claim that a union that cannot possibly have babies can. They even can raise babies that they have adopted, but they want to claim the usufructs for marriage. It is, on the face of it, a nonsense, but it is a nonsense that is claimed by gays. Why?
Is it just another example of the left's going too far? Is it an example of the extremism of the left that we have seen so many times before, of the left's taking a perfectly good institution and destroying it? Or is there a method to this madness?
Some believe that those wanting marriage extended to homosexuals want it because it is the first step in the effort to deny tax-exempt status to churches and synagogues. First, marriage is extended to homosexuals. Then religious organizations deny homosexuals the right to marry. Then these organizations have their tax-exempt status denied them for denying a right to homosexuals, namely the right to marry.
Thus, while the organized gays are proceeding to demand the "right" to marry pursuant to a larger issue, perhaps we should short-circuit this tricky business. We should privatize marriage. The state merely enforces contracts between two people, a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. Meanwhile the churches and synagogues extend the sacrament for those who want it. Get the state out of the love and sacrament business. Everyone is happy, no?
Which, come to think of it, introduces another of my deeply held findings. Conservatives have more peaceful solutions for social problems, some of which the liberals just make up.
Why, with public spending cuts, is MORE being lavished on foreign aid which perpetuates war, tyranny and mass murder
By Melanie Phillips, in Britain
When the Conservatives announced that they intended to ring-fence the international aid budget, many eyebrows were raised. Currently, this country spends about £3 billion every year on such aid. The Coalition has pledged to increase this total to meet the UN target of 0.7per cent of national output by 2013.
Since only the health service is also to be ring-fenced against the draconian spending cuts threatened for the rest of the public sector and expected to be outlined in next Tuesday's Budget, many have asked how the Government can justify spending even more on humanitarian assistance abroad while causing increasing hardship at home. Surely a government's first duty when the country has a £155 billion deficit is to its own people?
And why is a Conservative Prime Minister adopting an attitude that is more commonly identified with the Left?
The reason is not the presence in the coalition of the Lib Dems. It is principally because of David Cameron's driving imperative to transform the image of the Conservative Party from nasty to nice. And a precondition of niceness is that hearts must bleed for the wretched of the earth. After all, who but the heartless could possibly be against the idea of feeding the hungry or providing the basics of survival such as clean water, sanitation, shelter and health care?
Burned on to all of our retinas are the harrowing pictures of dying babies, swollen stomachs and pitiful lines of homeless refugees in faraway places about which we know very little.
Cameron says he stands for 'progressive conservatism'. And international humanitarian aid is a totem of progressive thinking, even more than support for the welfare state at home. It runs through the progressive psyche like the stripe in a stick of rock.
Ring-fencing the aid budget is therefore brandished as proof that the Tories are now the party of conscience, driven by the desire to ameliorate need rather than accentuate greed. It transforms them from out-of-touch Little Englanders into the trendy soul-mates of the likes of Bob Geldof and Bono.
And, according to Cameron, reducing third world poverty is also the key to tackling major global threats such as terrorism and climate change. Truly, international aid would seem to be the Tories' philosopher's stone.
But there is a problem. For sure, there is a moral duty on relatively rich countries such as Britain to help relieve humanitarian catastrophes. But the common complaint is that much of this aid doesn't go to the poor at all, but ends up instead in the pockets of tyrants and kleptocrats.
In addition, it is said that it does nothing to tackle the root causes of third world poverty, because it fosters dependency and corruption without requiring the political or economic change necessary to enable such countries to thrive.
Government is clearly highly sensitive to such concerns. Accordingly, the International-Development Secretary-Andrew Mitchell, has trumpeted a review of the way this aid is distributed, pledging that, in future, it will be a transparent system guaranteed to go to the poorest of the poor.
But this is a worthless promise. For the problem is far deeper than just transparency. The horrifying truth is that, far from such assistance going to alleviate starvation, disease and the suffering that follows conflict, much of it actually serves to perpetuate war and tyranny, persecution and mass murder.
How can this have happened? The key error is that famine, drought or disease are regarded as suffering to be alleviated regardless of its context.
But such need is often manipulated or even created by tyrants or warlords - in order to obtain the aid that then enables them to kill and enslave even more people and prop up their own corrupt and brutal regimes. This means that the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which administer this aid become the unwitting tools of repression and mass murder - as do the governments and well-meaning, but naive people who have stumped up the aid in the first place.
On top of this fundamental error, there is another fiction - that aid and the agencies which deliver it are neutral players in world events.
Humanitarianism is conceived as the duty to alleviate human suffering unconditionally - which means a blind eye must be turned whenever it is abused. However gross this abuse, the aid must continue to be provided on the grounds that, wherever there is suffering, there must be humanitarian relief.
And so the aid itself becomes the key means by which war and terrorism, tyranny and genocide are actually perpetrated.
The results of this profoundly misguided approach are set out in stark and horrifying detail in War Games, a brilliant new book by the Dutch journalist Linda Polman. What she conclusively demonstrates is that David Cameron's belief that relieving global poverty will diminish the threat of terrorism or war is the precise opposite of the truth.
To warring parties in many conflicts, money and supplies provided by the aid agencies represent a business opportunity and an essential element in their military strategy. For example, in Rwanda, where the Hutu tribe massacred millions of Tutsis in the Nineties, a record $1.5 billion for immediate relief alone poured in from Western governments and NGOs to deal with what was presented as an epidemic of cholera among the refugees.
What the aid organisations failed to report was that some of the refugees who poured across the border into Goma in neighbouring Zaire were not dying of disease, but were being murdered by Hutu militias.
The Hutus stole the aid - by some accounts, as much as 60 per cent - and levied tax on food rations to pay their militias and thus continue murdering Tutsis back in Rwanda. Without international aid, the Hutus' war of extermination would have ground to a halt.
And this pattern has been repeated over and over again in pretty well every conflict zone, where aid is given in the tragically false belief that a distinction can be made between conflict and humanitarian assistance....
'Wicked' Muslim woman saw four innocent men arrested after slashing her own face and crying rape
The false rape claims never stop in Britain
A woman who sparked a £150,000 police investigation by ripping her clothes and giving herself a black eye, then lying about a violent sex attack, has been told she will be jailed.
Four students spent nearly three days behind bars as a result of the convincing injuries Leyla Ibrahim inflicted on herself, with one of the suspects attempting to kill himself.
But detectives became suspicious of the 22-year-old’s story and the men were released without charge.
It emerged Ibrahim invented the attack after a row with a male friend when he refused to lend her the money for a taxi home after a night out. Deciding she ‘wanted to teach people a lesson’, a court heard she cut and tore the blue frilly dress she was wearing as well as her black leggings and bra, leaving her breasts partially exposed. She also hacked off clumps of her own hair, gave herself a black eye and a suspected broken cheekbone, scratched her breasts and legs and finally left one of her shoes at the scene of the supposed attack.
Last night, however, the former children’s holiday rep was behind bars after being convicted of perverting the course of justice. She wept as the judge denied her bail, telling her a prison term ‘of some length’ was inevitable for ‘wickedly fabricating a grave crime’ which had caused ‘countless anguish’.
Ibrahim’s elaborate plot began following a night out in her home town of Carlisle in January last year, a court heard. After being taken for X-rays on her injuries, she told police two youths had knocked her to the ground as she walked home along a footpath, subjecting her to a violent sexual assault.
She told detectives she grabbed a pair of scissors from a sewing kit in her handbag, only for one of the pair to snatch them from her and cut off a clump of her hair.
More than 40 officers were assigned to the case, and four local students were arrested and questioned for a total of 64 hours, during which time one attempted to kill himself.
But police became suspicious when it emerged Ibrahim’s injuries were inconsistent with being attacked and they began investigating her behaviour.
Tim Evans, prosecuting, told Carlisle Crown Court the trigger for the allegations was that Ibrahim had been ‘angry and upset’ at being forced to walk home after a male friend refused to lend her money for a taxi or let her share his.
She put her head in her hands after a jury took just two and a half hours to come to a unanimous guilty verdict, and her distraught mother Sandra and sister Samira ran from the court in tears.
Ibrahim, who came to Britain from Libya with her family when she was nine and worked at a petrol station at the time of the alleged attack, was told by Judge Paul Batty QC she would be jailed. ‘Not only did these false allegations have an effect on four young men, but also a considerable effect on your own family,’ he said. ‘You were convicted on clear and compelling evidence of wickedly fabricating a grave crime, causing countless anguish to all involved.’ He added: ‘A custodial sentence is inevitable because this crime strikes to the heart of the criminal justice system.’
Afterwards district crown prosecutor Linda Vance said such cases were rare and that Ibrahim had only been charged after ‘careful consideration’. ‘False allegations undermine genuine victims of rape and the continuing efforts of the criminal justice system to improve the confidence of those victims,’ she said.
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.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.