Thursday, September 19, 2013

Multiculturalism in New Zealand too

He waited hidden in a roof for eight hours to murder his ex-partner as she slept in her Wellington home.

After she had gone to bed, Ernest Smith lowered himself into the house, sneaked into her room and, after a brief struggle, cut her throat with a craft knife.

During the struggle, the former couple's nine-month-old son lay asleep in a cot next to the bed. His mother's body was found the next morning by her 15-year-old son, who had been sleeping at the other end of the house.

Smith made several bumbling attempts to cover his tracks, but his efforts quickly came unstuck after he lost his car keys and left a string of evidence behind him.

In the High Court at Wellington on Tuesday, Smith, 39, a Jamaican living in Karori, pleaded guilty to murdering Amanda Dawn Taufale, 33, on November 14 last year in her home in Tawa.  He will appear for sentencing next month.

The police summary of facts shows the relationship between Smith and Taufale was violent and deteriorated sharply in the months leading up to the murder.  Smith moved out of the Tawa home four months beforehand and was allowed to see their son only while another family member was present.

At 2pm on the day of the murder, he parked his car at the Takapu Rd railway station in Tawa and walked to Taufale's home.

He took with him a blue-handled 2.7-centimetre craft knife, gloves, screws, an electric drill and a makeshift hood fashioned out of a green top fixed with a headlight.

Using keys he had copied earlier, he broke into the empty home and climbed into the roof through a hatch in the hallway.

Once there, he set up a makeshift strap so he could later lower himself silently into the house and drilled screws into the hatch, allowing him to open it from inside the roof.

He then waited for about eight hours as the family came home and went to bed.

About an hour after Taufale went to sleep, he lowered himself into the hall, walked into her room and, after a "brief but violent struggle", cut her throat.

After the murder, Smith tried to cover his tracks by fabricating evidence of a break-in.

He spread Taufale's blood around the spare room, left a window ajar and covered the sill with rice bran oil to give the false impression of trying to clear up a fictional assailant's fingerprints.

But the plan came unstuck when Smith drove to a nearby stream to dump the murder weapon and lost his car keys.

After a fruitless search for the keys, he returned to the scene of the murder, stole Taufale's car and drove back to his for a second search.

He eventually gave up looking and drove out to Makara along Takarau Gorge Rd, ending up in a remote farm, where he fell asleep.

The next day, he abandoned Taufale's car and walked for more than an hour to an Ohariu Valley Rd house, where he told residents he wanted to speak to police.  He was arrested that night.

Police found his sweatshirt in the roof of the house, his makeshift hood on Taufale's bed, and one of his bloodied gloves.

DNA tests later confirmed the blood of both Smith and Taufale on the glove, with a small tear in the glove matching a cut on Smith's left thumb.

A stack of documents linking Smith and Taufale was found buried in pine needles in Makara, about 100 metres from Taufale's abandoned car, where a second bloody glove was found.

The missing keys were found down the side of the driver's seat of Smith's car, abandoned in Tawa.

Taufale's father, Graham Redman, said yesterday that it was a huge relief that Smith had admitted murder.  "Today's guilty plea will enable us to at last move forward with putting our lives back together, as much as we can," he said.

It is understood the two children are now being looked after by family.


The dubious gift of human rights

The European Convention on Human Rights is 60 years old this month -- but this is no cause for celebration

On 5 September 2013, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms marked its sixtieth anniversary. This led to a predictable chorus of praise from a retired European Court judge and human-rights organisations like Liberty, arguing that the Convention is a thoroughly British affair, and that its critics should be squashed. Is this justified?

When the idea of a European rights instrument was originally proposed, following the Second World War, the British reaction was decidedly muted. The sceptical UK foreign secretary at the time, Ernest Bevin, was against a ‘European idea’, and also against a European court of human rights (1). But the model of a Council of Europe did find favour. Its founder members were Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Once this was approved, the idea of rights for all was revived. Initially, it consisted of the briefest shopping list of ideals, such as ‘freedom of speech’.

Early on, tensions between the UK and other states were evident. The UK, with its system of judge-made common law, was at odds with other countries’ civilian traditions, based on codified laws. It believed that human rights should be drafted in detail, whereas continental delegates felt that rights should be couched in general terms, leaving member states to work out how to give effect to them in practice.

After much wrangling, the participants agreed a hybrid approach, listing specific rights and then spelling out (in loose terms) the limitations that could be placed on them. The states were acutely conscious that a failure to agree would look bad.

The result is that there is little uniformity between the different articles of the Convention. And there are some significant textual differences between the two languages of the Convention: for example, Article 1 in English requires states to ‘secure’ the rights listed, implying positive action, whereas the French text simply asks states to ‘recognise’ them.

Lord Jowitt, Labour’s lord chancellor at the time, voiced concern: ‘The document is a compromise, as can be seen in every single clause.’ An internal government minute describes it as ‘very woolly and open to various interpretations’. Sir Hartley Shawcross, the Labour attorney-general who prosecuted at Nuremberg, said: ‘I have never attached great practical importance to the proposed Convention… and do not think… that its existence would act as a… barrier against the encroachments of totalitarian restrictions’. Another senior Labour figure, Herbert Morrison, wrote that he ‘had always been sceptical about the value of these conventions on human rights’.

It’s ironic, then, that in 1998 the New Labour government spoke of ‘bringing rights home’ when it introduced the Human Rights Act. The slogan suggests that the UK had no rights to speak of. That was inaccurate. Not only had our common law developed a robust system of rights - relating to property, freedom of the person and control of executive action - but European Community law had also introduced shoals of rights, with laws on free movement, employment and equality and data protection.

The New Labour human-rights project was an elite affair, spearheaded by a legal coterie, including a bevy of peers. Human rights, for their adherents, constitute a secular religion; and, like any religion, it deals in revealed truth.

This lofty approach was evident at a high-level seminar in May this year, ostensibly about whether the UK should secede from the Convention. It was hosted by Freshfields, a City law firm, and organised by the Human Rights Lawyers Association and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

Despite its provocative title, A UK Without Convention Rights: Freedom or Danger?, all the speakers (including a judge from the European Court of Human Rights) were Convention proponents. In the ensuing debate, one barrister asked: ‘Why do we need to persuade ordinary people of the virtues of the Human Rights Act?’

In truth, incorporation of the European Convention has not served us well. Its first legacy, as the eminent Australian jurist Justice Heydon says, is a club of human-rights lawyers, whose ‘members compete in revealing to each other their superior ingenuity and human-rights sensitivity. It is a contest of compassion and cleverness.’ (2)

Justice Heydon and others also stress that the rights bestowed by the Convention are uncertain in definition and unpredictable in their application. This generates endless possibilities for legal argument and lawyers’ fees. Such porousness costs the country a fortune: in legal aid, in costly lawsuits, in risk aversion, and in court time spent poring over masses of opaque European Court rulings.

The case of Al-Skeini in the European Court in 2011 is an example of human-rights activism by British lawyers, claiming that the European Convention should have extra-territorial effect in non-European states, which are not signatories to the Convention. Al-Skeini was an Iraqi shot by British troops during a patrol in Iraq.

The complaint was not that he had lost his life, which to the uninitiated might seem more important, but rather that there had not been a ‘sufficient investigation’ into the circumstances of his death. This was alleged to be a breach of the ‘procedural’ requirements of Article 2 of the Convention, which guarantees a right to life. In a tendentious ruling, the European Court decided that the Convention could have extra-territorial effect, if a member state was engaged in security operations abroad and the foreign state had no effective government of its own.

The UK government has now spent nearly £20million pounds on the Al-Sweady inquiry, another investigation into loss of life during Iraq operations. Nearly £4million of this went on lawyers’ fees. The total cost is estimated at £25million.

Human rights have also had ramifications for domestic law. Take a case like Rabone in 2012. It concerned a young woman who was admitted to a mental hospital as a voluntary patient, suffering with depression. She was given a period of home leave, and then killed herself. Her suicide was tragic, and the hospital accepted that its decision to let her leave fell below accepted psychiatric standards of care. But the family’s lawyers argued that the courts should clarify the scope of the state’s duty to protect life under Article 2 of the Convention.

Although Ms Rabone’s estate settled for £7,500, her parents continued to sue, arguing that they had a derivative claim under Article 2. So the case wound on expensively all the way to the Supreme Court, by which time the parents’ damages had been set at £5,000. Various judges penned erudite legal opinions, with the net result that the parents’ right to claim nominal damages was upheld. Many would see this as a Pyrrhic victory.

What the human-rights club is less forthcoming about is how human rights are increasingly used as a pretext for expanding the state’s power over the living, ostensibly to protect them from possible abuse. Recently, the UK government held a consultation on whether social workers should have a right of entry into people’s homes on ‘safeguarding’ grounds. Ninety per cent of health authorities and 72 per cent of local authorities responding thought they should, but 77 per cent of the public were opposed. Yet the Equality and Human Rights Commission supported the proposal.

As David Chandler has argued (3), human-rights proponents treat individuals not as autonomous rights-bearing subjects, but as hapless victims in a fallen world. Despite their claims to empower the excluded, what they really offer is more state regulation, as opposed to personal freedom.


Yet another British woman falsely crying rape

It never ceases yet British police continue to treat accused men as being guilty until proven innocent

A Junior doctor falsely claimed she had been raped by two men at the hospital where she worked, a medical tribunal was told yesterday.

Hannah Farnsworth, 26, alleged that, in one of two attacks, she was dragged into an office, threatened with a knife and sexually assaulted.

The attackers were said to have filmed the ordeal on a mobile phone as she was tied with ropes, cut with a knife, burnt with a cigarette lighter and injected with drugs.

The medic claimed she was left pregnant after the attack and said two other men at the hospital – both doctors – were not responsible for the alleged rapes but ‘knew about’ them.

But after making a statement to police, she confessed that she had lied. Dr Farnsworth now admits the rape claims were false, but instead insists she was physically attacked on the two occasions.

Yesterday she appeared before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal, which will decide whether she can continue with her career.

The panel heard the alleged sex attacks happened at Bassetlaw District General Hospital in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Simon Jackson QC, for the General Medical Council, said the junior doctor was never assaulted.

‘As a result of these false complaints of rape, the trust undertook an investigation and spent in the region of £10,000 to increase security and two police forces investigated these false allegations of rape.  'The doctor’s conduct in making these false allegations was dishonest and misleading.’

The allegations came to light when the newly-qualified doctor told a colleague and friend she had been first attacked in April 2011, the panel was told.

‘It was plain that at the time this first account was given she was upset and distressed,’ Mr Jackson said.  ‘She said two men, one of whom had tattoos on his arm, followed her into the room, produced a knife and used that knife to threaten her.  ‘As a result of being taken hold of she had struggled.

‘The two men tied her up and she had banged her head. She said it was sexually motivated and that was all the detail that had been given on that occasion.’

The doctor was said to have later told a colleague, Dr Jen Middleton, she had been cut with a knife, suffered a back injury and was burned by one or both of the men using a cigarette lighter.

Dr Middleton was concerned and spoke to another colleague, Dr Laura Smy, about the alleged attack.

Mr Jackson added: ‘In the days that followed those initial declarations, the doctor then made further, now admitted false declarations to a senior manager, Mr Peter Wilson. Those false declarations were made to a number of people.’

After the alleged attack the doctor – who qualified in 2010 – reported receiving mysterious bleeps on her pager, threats over the phone and indicated two doctors may have known about the claimed attacks.

She eventually contacted South Yorkshire Police to report the first alleged assault on June 2.

However, the next day she told Dr Smy that she had been attacked again earlier the same day in a hospital car park.

Dr Smy told the hearing she invited the junior doctor to her house, where she arrived with a nosebleed and a cut behind her ear.

‘She said she had been threatened by two men with a knife, that she was taken into the postgraduate medical education centre, where she had been raped again and cut with a knife in the course of what would have been the second rape,’ said Mr Jackson.

‘The police were now involved and in the course of the investigation the doctor was expected to provide a statement,’ he added.

‘She admitted she had not been raped or sexually assaulted in either incident.

‘She felt she would not have been taken seriously if the allegation was not a serious assault.’

Dr Smy said she was told that two doctors at the hospital may have watched the mobile phone footage of the alleged rapes.

‘[She said] that they had watched the film, that she looked like she had enjoyed it and then threatened her with a repeat attack if she told anybody,’ she said.

Dr Farnsworth admits charges including making false declarations to colleagues and police that she had been raped on two occasions.

She denies lying about certain details, which she maintains did occur, and denies dishonest and misleading conduct.

Police have to refused to say if she will be charged with wasting police time.


Downton’s Lady Mary will NEVER be a ‘single mum’

A newspaper puff for the TV snob opera Downton Abbey says that the character Lady Mary, whose ‘husband’ was killed off in the Christmas episode, will be ‘coming to terms with her role as a 'single mother’ in the new series.

See how language is twisted to hide the truth?

The correct expression is ‘widow’, which you may have noticed we don’t hear so much any more.  Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, did not have a child outside wedlock.  She was married. This matters.

One of the great triumphs of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s was to deny the importance of marriage.

The expression ‘unmarried mother’ was abolished, and replaced by ‘single mother’.

But a widowed or deserted wife’s position is and always will be utterly different from that of a woman who deliberately has a child outside marriage.

The difference is a moral one, and that’s what the revolutionaries want to abolish  – morality.



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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