Tuesday, March 25, 2014
100,000 crimes recorded as solved by British police even though the perpetrator escaped punishment
Police have marked more than 100,000 crimes as solved in the past three years - despite only handing them over to be 'taken into consideration' by the courts.
The high number of cases marked as 'solved' has sparked fears that police could be using the handover tactic as a way of boosting the number of 'detected' crimes or crimes cleared up by forces.
Asking the courts for something to be 'taken into consideration' means that a person who has been accused or convicted of a crime can admit to other, sometimes non-related offences, in order to wipe their slate clean.
By admitting to the other crimes, the suspect receives credit from the court in sentencing. The defendant also often avoids subsequent prosecution for the crime.
The shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry warned that TICs helped criminals 'wipe the slate clean' and said that the use of TICs needed to be 'carefully monitored'.
Data regarding TICs was released following a freedom of information request sent by The Sunday Times. The results of the request revealed that 36 individuals had more than 100 TICs to their name. In 89 instances, the other offences taken into consideration when in the dock related to sexual crimes.
A total of 19 forces in England and Wales replied to the request and revealed their use of TICs between 2011 and 2013.
More than 15 per cent of the TICs had been logged by the Metropolitan Police - the force had filed 15,550 TICs in two years. The second highest figure was South Yorkshire which had requested 11,735 TICs. The third was Thames Valley with 6,390.
Adam Pemberton, of Victim Support, a charity which helps those who have been affected by crime, told the Sunday newspaper that any 'sudden' leap in TIC figures raised 'doubts' about official crime statistics.
Analysis of the results revealed that some forces had upped their number of TIC requests in recent years.
Some lawyers have raised concerns about prison inmates being offered privileges such as alcohol in return for accepting responsibility for crimes that they had played no role in.
But, after investigating a number of forces over alleged misuse of TICs, the Independent Police Complaints Commission concluded that there was no evidence of 'systematic abuse'.
Norman Baker, minister from crime prevention, said that there are 'strict rules in place before any crime can be resolved by being taken into consideration'.
He added that it was vital that the rules should be complied with.
Offences can be admitted by Judges or magistrates as TICs - as long as the sentence that the TIC crime would carry would not be longer than the penalty that the person would receive for the offence that is on trial.
Although the courts are expected to take TICs into consideration when sentencing, TIC offences generally do not have a significant impact on the sentence given.
Sharia Law to be enshrined in British legal system as lawyers get guidelines on drawing up documents according to Islamic rules
Top lawyers have written guidelines for British solicitors on drafting 'sharia-compliant' wills which can deny women an equal share of their inheritance and entirely exclude non-believers, it was revealed today.
The Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, has written a guide on Sharia succession rules that will be used in British courts. It will mean that children born outside of marriage and adopted children could also be denied their fair share.
The guide states: 'No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs.
'The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised.
'Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death.'
The Law Society claims the guide is simply to promote 'good practice' and 'support members so they can help clients from all backgrounds' - but the move has been criticised by equality campaigners.
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, an organisation that campaigns for strict separation of the state from religious institutions and equality of religion before the law, says the move is a backwards step that undermines British justice.
He said: 'The UK has the most comprehensive equality laws in the world, yet the Law Society seems determined to undermine this by giving approval to a system that relegates women, non-Muslim and children born out of wedlock to second class citizenship.
'Instead of running scared at any mention of sharia, politicians of all parties should face these issues square on and insist on the primacy of democratically-determined human rights-compliant law.
'Laws determined by Parliament should prevail over centuries-old theocratic laws. We should have One Law for All, not allowing any law to operate which disadvantages any sections of the community.'
Nicholas Fluck, president of the Law Society, said in a statement: 'This practice note provides guidance to solicitors dealing with clients where Sharia succession rules may be relevant.
'This is the first time such advice has been published and we hope it will assist solicitors with Sharia probate matters.
'There is a wide variety of spiritual, religious and cultural beliefs within our population, and the Law Society wants to support its members so they can help clients from all backgrounds.
'We hope this guidance will help solicitors assist their clients and go some way to forming an idea of good practice when it comes to applying Sharia succession rules within the legal profession.'
But Baroness Cox, who campaigns against religious discrimination against women, said the guidance was a worrying development. She told the Sunday Telegraph: 'This violates everything we stand for. It would make the Suffragettes turn in their graves.'
In the past she has spoken out about the growth of 'Islamic courts' resolving disputes. She said: 'No longer do we have a single legal code in our society. 'Instead, alongside our own law, there is now effectively a parallel quasi-legal system operating within some Muslim communities.
'Sharia law, imported from theocracies like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, first began to be used here in a strictly limited form, dealing mainly with narrow issues like Islamic financial contracts.
'But as the Muslim population has grown and the pervasive creed of multiculturalism has become ever more powerful, so Sharia law has rapidly grown in influence within some communities.
'There are now estimated to be no fewer than 85 Sharia courts across the country — from London and Manchester to Bradford and Nuneaton. They operate mainly from mosques, settling financial and family disputes according to religious principles.'
Appeals court halts gay marriages in Michigan
Same-sex couples rushed to Michigan county clerk's offices Saturday to get hitched a day after a judge overturned the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage, and several hundred managed to do so before an appeals court reinstituted the ban, at least temporarily.
The order by a federal appeals court in Cincinnati came after Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 51, of Lansing, were the first to arrive at the Ingham County Courthouse in the central Michigan city of Mason. DeJong and Caspar, who have been together for 27 years, received their license and were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.
"I figured in my lifetime it would happen," Caspar said. "But now, when it happens now, it's just overwhelming. I still can't believe it. I don't think it's hit me yet."
Similar nuptials followed one after another, at times en masse, in at least four of Michigan's 83 counties. Those four — Oakland, Muskegon, Ingham and Washtenaw counties — issued more than 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday.
DeJong said the threat of a stay was all the encouragement they needed.
"Come Monday, we might not be able to do it, so we knew we had a short window of time," she said.
She was right. Later Saturday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals froze until at least Wednesday a decision by a lower court judge to overturn Michigan's ban. The appeals court said the time-out will "allow a more reasoned consideration" of the state's request to stop same-sex marriages.
The court's order was posted just a few hours after it told the winning side to respond to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's request for a stay by noon Tuesday.
In his appeal, Schuette noted the U.S. Supreme Court in January suspended a similar decision that struck down Utah's gay-marriage ban.
Voters approved the gay marriage ban in a landslide in 2004. But in Friday's historic decision, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said the ballot box is no defense to a law that tramples the rights of same-sex couples.
Schuette's spokeswoman, Joy Yearout, said Saturday that a stay would preserve a state constitutional ban pending the appeal's outcome. She declined to say whether the state would recognize the new marriages in that scenario.
"The courts will have to sort it out," she said.
Yearout later said her office anticipates that the appeals court "will issue a permanent stay, just as courts have ruled in similar cases across the country."
After the U.S. Supreme Court intervened in Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert ordered state agencies to hold off on moving forward with any new benefits for the hundreds of same-sex couples who married during the three-week window until the courts resolved the issue. Agencies were told not to revoke anything already issued, such as a driver's license with a new name, but were prohibited from approving any new marriages or benefits.
Utah made clear it was not ordering agencies to void the marriages, but that their validity would be decided by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Anna Kirkland, a University of Michigan professor who submitted an expert report in the Michigan case, said people who have received licenses are "legally married" regardless of what state officials do.
"A ruling from a federal judge on the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause ... is binding on the state government," said Kirkland, a professor of women's studies and political science. "It's the law of the land until or unless the Supreme Court says otherwise."
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia issue licenses for same-sex marriage. Since December, bans on gay marriage also have been overturned in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.
Elizabeth Patten, 52, and her partner of 28 years, Jonnie Terry, 50, of Ann Arbor, were the first couple married in Washtenaw County, where couples began to queue outside the clerk's office at 5:30 a.m. Saturday and 74 licenses were issued.
"It was really surreal. I don't know if this is the wedding we imagined," Patten said after the impromptu ceremony performed by federal Judge Judith Levy in the basement of the county building. "But we are so pleased and honored to be a part of this process and have this opportunity today."
The line grew, snaking around the corner, and dozens of couples and their family members hugged, hooted and hollered until County Clerk Lawrence Kestenbaum opened the doors at 8:50 a.m.
A county sheriff's sergeant walked through the line handing out license applications. Where the form asked for the name of the "male," lesbian couples wrote in an "f'' and an "e'' in front of the word.
Once paper licenses were approved by the clerk and his staff, couples headed downstairs to a room filled with pastors and a judge.
A Unitarian Universalist church in Muskegon in western Michigan had a clerk issuing wedding licenses Saturday morning. They started a couple hours earlier than planned out of concern the court would approve a stay.
"We're trying to beat Bill Schuette to the punch," said Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation Pastor Bill Freeman, who officiated dozens of weddings.
That sentiment was echoed in Mason by Joe Bissell and Justin Maynard, both 33-year-old Lansing residents, who were among more than 50 couples to get a license.
"We wouldn't have been here today if it wasn't for that," Bissell said. "We would've invited friends and family and not pissed off our mothers."
Not among those getting married Saturday were the two who started it all.
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are raising three children with special needs, filed a lawsuit in 2012 because they're barred from jointly adopting each other's children. Joint adoption is reserved for married heterosexual couples in Michigan.
Their lawsuit sparked the two-week trial that culminated with Friday's decision.
Their lawyer, Dana Nessel said she was "not shocked," by the appeals courts actions.
"I am disappointed because it would have been great for people ... in all 83 counties to be able to go in and get a marriage license," she said. "Unfortunately only four (clerk's) offices were open because it was a Saturday, and they had to make special provisions."
Regardless, DeBoer and Rowse had said they would wait to wed, even though the appeals process could take years.
"We will be getting married — when we know that our marriage is forever binding," DeBoer said.
Australia: Leftist hypocrisy knows no bounds
FEDERAL Labor is asking way, way too much of the public with its high-minded moralistic posturing over Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos.
Sinodinos, who stood aside as assistant treasurer on Wednesday to give the government clear air in the lead-up to the May Budget, has been called as a witness in the current NSW ICAC hearings into whether former NSW Labor heavyweights Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly misused their positions to favour Australian Water Holdings.
No allegations of any criminal activity have been made against the NSW Senator, a former chief of staff to former prime minister John Howard, with an enviable reputation for honesty and integrity.
Yet former AWU boss and Labor leader Bill Shorten, who is likely to be called before the royal commission headed by former High Court justice Dyson Heydon into alleged trade union corruption, has occupied almost all Question Time with his attempts to besmirch Sinodinos and by association, Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
As Education Minister firmly told Parliament on Thursday, the Abbott government “will not be judged by the party of Craig Thomson, and the party of Michael Williamson, and the party of the AWU slush fund, and the party of Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald”.
Thomson, the former Health Services Union official and former Labor MP, has been found guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court of misusing union members funds to pay for prostitutes and personal expenses. He will be sentenced next Tuesday.
Williamson, a former national president of the ALP and a former head of the Health Services Union, pleaded guilty last October 15 to four charges of cheating or defrauding as a director, fabricating invoices and recruiting someone to hinder a police investigation.
His bail has been revoked and he in prison awaiting final sentencing this Friday.
The AWU slush fund affair is likely to see former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard called before the Heydon royal commission where she is likely to be asked to explain her role in assisting her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson establish a fund that was kept secret from both Wilson’s union, and Gillard’s employers, the Labor law firm Slater & Gordon.
Both Obeid and Macdonald were found to be corrupt by the NSW ICAC in connection with the issuance of mining licenses.
Little wonder that Pyne pulled Shorten up firmly.
Labor has clung to tainted MPs, even defended them, when the stench of corruption was evident to all (except, perhaps, Labor’s media arm, the ABC).
As Shorten and some unwise souls on the Opposition benches feigned outrage, Pyne walked through them through Labor’s sad record, reminding the smarting Opposition MPs that their party lacked all credibility and left itself shamefully exposed on the topics of ministerial accountability and parliamentary standards.
He said Labor presided over a “sewer” in the past three years with “an endless list of atrocities committed against this parliament”.
He reminded the House that Labor had not only suborned former Liberal MP Peter Slipper by offering him the Speakership (replacing the universally respected Labor MP Harry Jenkins) but had kept Thomson in their party room until April 29, 2012, even though there a cloud had been hanging over the former NSW Central Coast MP as early as January, 2009, well before the 2010 election, when the Fair Work Commission commenced its inquiry into the HSU’s Victorian No. 1 Branch.
So concerned was Labor about the allegations engulfing Thomson that former prime minister Gillard’s chief of staff Ben Hubbard rang the then Industrial Registrar Doug Williams in early 2009 to inquire into whether Thomson was under investigation – before the fraud allegations were made public.
Then, despite the New South Wales police launching Strike Force Carnarvon, in September, 2011, despite the Victorian police fraud squad’s confirmation of its investigation into Thomson in October, 2011, despite Fair Work Australia’s publication of its investigation into the HSU in April 2012, and its release of its investigation into the Victorian HSU No. 1 Branch, Labor continued to protect Thomson and his caucus vote.
No allegations, I repeat, have been made against Sinodinos. He has been called before ICAC as a witness.
Labor has had its share of MPs and ministers called as witnesses before ICAC, not least being former climate change minister Greg Combet who was questioned about a letter he wrote supporting a controversial mining licence sought by union official John Maitland.
The noisy Senator Doug Cameron was called to give evidence about the Obeids.
In neither case did the Liberals demand either be stripped or their responsibilities or disciplined.
The contrast between the behaviour of the two principal parties in Australian politics could not be greater.
Labor is the party of smear, innuendo and hypocrisy.
There is probably no greater example of Labor’s gutter tactics than the ugliness revealed by Gillard herself during the confected frenzy of her extremely personal tirade against Tony Abbott during which she falsely claimed he was a misogynist as she attempted to distract the public from her personal appointment of Slipper, a man who had made the most appalling references to women’s sexual organs, to the highest parliamentary office.
“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man,” she shrieked. “Not now, not ever.”
Pathetic and baseless charges eagerly seized upon by the mindless twitterati who chose to ignore Gillard’s moral deceit and betrayal of principle in regard to Slipper’s promotion.
“Not now, not ever,” Gillard screeched theatrically.
Well, “not now, not ever”, should anyone from Labor try and lecture anyone about morality, about ethics or parliamentary standards.
Labor over the past six years has demonstrated it lacks all understanding of the terms.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.