Sunday, May 04, 2014
Multicultural judge goes to jail in Britain
Constance Briscoe, Britain's most senior black woman judge, has been sentenced to 16 months in jail after being found guilty at the Old Bailey of lying to police investigating the Chris Huhne speeding points scandal.
Briscoe, of Clapham, South London, was found guilty of trying to pervert the course of justice in connection with the investigation into how disgraced cabinet minister Mr Huhne passed speeding points to his then-wife Vicky Pryce a decade ago.
Jailing her, judge Mr Justice Baker told Briscoe that if she and Pryce shared anything in common it was "arrogance by educated individuals who considered respect for the law was for others".
He said the conviction was a "personal tragedy" for a woman who had been "something of a role model for others".
The 56-year-old had been suspended since her arrest in October 2012 and could now be barred from sitting as a judge.
The judge said: "Constance Briscoe you are the third individual to be convicted of criminal offences arising out of a saga whose origin arises from 2003 when both Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce lied about who had been driving a speeding motor vehicle."
He said Briscoe hid her true motives for her involvement and then compounded the position in 2011 by "deliberately fabricating evidence when you thought you would be exposed".
He also spoke of her achivements, which saw her become the first person in her family to go to university and a part-time judge.
"Although blessed with intelligence you did not have every advantage in life. However, you worked hard at school and were the first person in your family to go to university."
He said the defendant went on to be given the privilege of being a part-time judge while "raising your two much-loved children".
But said he: "You were motivated, as was Vicky Pryce, by a joint desire to ensure the downfall of Chris Huhne.
"I'm sure that you realise only too well that this conduct strikes at the heart of our much-cherished criminal justice system."
He sentenced Briscoe to four, five and seven months for the three counts, totalling 16 months in jail.
Mr Justice Baker said he had taken account of her previous good character and the "devastating effect" of the conviction on her career in deciding sentence.
Briscoe's jail sentence was double that of Huhne and Pryce.
Following her conviction it emerged she is also facing a criminal investigation into allegations she fraudulently obtained documents used to defend libel claims brought against her by her own mother, Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell, who sat in the court throughout her daughter's Old Bailey trial.
An Old Bailey jury found Briscoe guilty of all three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice after five hours of deliberations.
After the verdict, Mr Huhne, who was forced to resign over the speeding points scandal, released a statement in which he described Briscoe as a "compulsive and self-publicising fantasist".
He declared: "British justice is likely to be a lot fairer with Briscoe behind bars."
Detective Inspector John McDermott, of Kent Police, also welcomed the verdict, saying it showed no-one was "above the law".
And the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) announced it would be preparing a report on whether Briscoe should be removed from the judiciary.
Briscoe was unanimously found guilty on all charges.
The first alleged that, between May 16 2011 and October 6 2012, Briscoe provided police with two inaccurate statements, and the second that on October 6 2012 she produced an altered copy of a statement but claimed it was the correct version.
A third charge alleged that between October 5 2012 and October 8 last year she deliberately got a document expert to view the wrong version of her witness statement.
Briscoe stood trial for a second time after a jury at Southwark Crown Court failed to reach verdicts.
The Old Bailey trial heard that Briscoe helped economist Ms Pryce, who was a friend and also her neighbour, to reveal information about Mr Huhne's points-swapping to newspapers after the couple split in 2010.
The scandal led to Mr Huhne's resignation and subsequent prosecution. He pleaded guilty in February last year, while Ms Pryce was convicted after a trial. Both have now served jail sentences.
When the allegations emerged in 2011, Briscoe made a witness statement to police on May 31 that year claiming Ms Pryce confided in her in 2003 after she found out that Mr Huhne had asked her to take his speeding points, portraying herself as an "independent and objective" witness.
In a second statement on August 16 2012 she denied having any contact with journalists or newspapers about the story but emails obtained by court order ahead of the Huhne-Pryce trial showed that Briscoe had spoken to journalists.
Once her involvement was revealed, Briscoe was dropped as a witness in Huhne and Pryce's trial and she was arrested in October 2012.
The jury heard that Briscoe was intent on bringing about Mr Huhne's downfall and knew how to manipulate the criminal justice system to her advantage.
It was claimed that she misled police in her witness statements.
It was also alleged that she deliberately gave police an altered copy of one of the statements into which she had inserted an extra "I" to change the meaning to suggest she had refused to speak to journalists about the story – only for emails handed over by newspapers to prove she had been in touch with reporters.
The third charge alleged that Briscoe then deliberately handed a different copy of the altered statement to an expert so he would find that the alteration was due to a printer malfunction.
The defendant denied deliberately misleading police, saying it was always clear she had spoken to journalists by the fact her name was used in newspaper stories about the speeding points scandal.
Canada bars Christian lawyers
Ontario and Nova Scotia have banned lawyers educated at a Christian university from practising law in their provinces. The reason? It's really quite straightforward: the Trinity (= Christian) Western University School of Law, while fully approved by the British Columbian Ministry of Advanced Education and accredited by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, discourages same-sex intimacy and disagrees with same-sex marriage.
The fact that the University is otherwise excellent and, they tell us, has been "consistently ranked among the top universities in Canada for Educational Experience by the National Survey of Student Engagement", is of no consequence. The fact that it holds four Canada Research Chairs is irrelevant. TWU has at the heart of its ethos a Community Covenant which requires all staff and students to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
This, of course, is unacceptably narrow-minded and discriminatory, not to say homophobic and bigoted. It is entirely legal and constitutional - indeed the Supreme Court, no less, has ruled it to be so. But such religiously-induced apartheid is a manifest evil to an elite body of barristers and must be eradicated from society. And so TWU's law degrees are not fit to be recognised by the law societies of Ontario and Nova Scotia, meaning its future law graduates are not fit to be admitted to the bar. Cardus Daily observes: "In short, students who are taught at TWU are presumed - before the school has even produced a single graduate - to be so bigoted as to not be worthy of practicing the same law which upholds the right of their school to teach them and to require them to sign a commitment to a particular conception of sexual conduct."
No one forces students to enrol at TWU, and the moral pledge is entirely voluntarily: it is, in effect, no different from the oath required by Roman Catholic seminaries for ordinands to abstain from sex and abjure marriage altogether. It is a matter of free choice; of vocation. By enforcing a secular conformity and uniform moral compliance on a Christian university, the law societies of Ontario and Nova Scotia are effectively asserting an equality fascism which overrides religious beliefs. It must be remembered that TWU has not yet produced any graduands in law: it is simply assumed that, on qualifying, their conjectured private beliefs render them so utterly illiberal as to disqualify them utterly from practising law in these provinces.
Quite where this leaves lawyerly supporters of traditional marriage in other provinces is unclear. What do freedom and democracy mean when an elite enlightened body can set aside the Constitution and ignore judgments of the Supreme Court to impose by stealth a secular moral liberalism which is no liberalism at all? What happens to freedom of speech? Where is Freedom of religion? What about the freedom to believe as the conscience leads?
This is Canada, but we are seeing the same here in the UK. Christian registrars who believe that marriage is an exclusive covenant between one man and one woman are losing their jobs; Christian teachers who believe the same are rebuked and reviled; Christian business owners are being persecuted, sued and bankrupted. And there's not a hope in hell of hetero-normative marriage-believers being employed in the public sector or of being selected by the main political parties as a candidate: the ideology is infallible; the orthodoxy immutable; its uniform imposition inviolable. As Jonathan Chaplin notes:
"Liberalism [does not] bring about a universal realisation of “tolerance”... Every political system, not only authoritarian ones but liberal ones as well, is a “regime” which facilitates a particular zone of toleration, and simultaneously demarcates clear boundaries to such toleration. These will often be legal boundaries imposed, if necessary, with coercion. Such boundaries are acts of intolerance."
Do not be deluded or deceived about what is happening here: Canada shares our Queen, who is constitutionally sworn to uphold the Protestant Reformed religion established by law and to govern her peoples in accordance with their customs and traditions. But it seems that our Reformation freedoms are being undone: a man's personal beliefs must now be interrogated by the inquisitorial high priests of equality to ensure that they conform to the totalitarian precepts of secularism before he may enter public service, practise law or even donate to a political party. 'Right belief' must precede public interests, personal vocation and acts of altruism.
Our freedoms are disappearing. Our liberty is dying. And the concerning this is that so few people are noticing or even care.
Habitual burglar who raided a mother's holiday savings walks free from court...but a pair of vigilantes who kidnapped him to get the money back are jailed
A serial burglar who stole money a mother-of-two had been saving for a holiday has avoided prison weeks after vigilantes who kidnapped him in a bid to retrieve the cash were jailed.
Michael Price-Rutherford took £280 from Kelly Hilton, 32, who had saved the cash for a trip to Lanzarote when he broke into her home in Blackburn, Lancashire.
A short time later, the 22-year-old was then bundled into a van by her boyfriend and another man, punched in the face and humiliated in an act of revenge.
He was eventually dumped half naked and crying in the road nursing a chipped tooth after being held prisoner by Daniel Finn, 27, and Daniel Howarth, 23, for five hours.
The two men were jailed for a total of five years in March after a judge said they had 'crossed the law'.
However Price-Rutherford escaped with a suspended sentence, despite having 12 convictions to his name, claiming he was a 'shy un-forceful character'.
Preston Crown Court in Lancashire heard he had been on bail for another break in at the time, and had ignored previous curfew orders.
But the defence said he was 'put up to the crime' by other people, and only acted as a look out.
After the sentencing Miss Hilton, a golf club waitress said: 'I can’t believe this lad has escaped jail after what he did. I’m just shocked and upset.
'I was due to go to Lanzarote with my parents, Danny and family and had been saving up for months.
'The tin was hidden behind my bed and I was also collecting coins for the trip. All of it went in the raid.
'I know Danny did wrong and he got a really tough judge on the day - but I don’t understand why the burglar should go free.
'I thought he’d be going down especially with his track record. I don’t think this will be the last time the courts will be seeing him again. He’s got away with it.'
The incident occurred last June last year when Price-Rutherford and an accomplice Timothy Hartley, 29, were seen breaking into the house by a neighbour who took pictures on her mobile phone.
Hartley was seen climbing between a gate and up to a window where he forced it open with a hammer.
Price-Rutherford acted as a look out and was handed a tin from an upstairs bedroom where up to £250 was kept. The burglars also snatched a bottle containing £30 in change.
That evening, Miss Hilton returned home from work to be met by the neighbour who warned her she had been burgled and showed her the pictures.
Miss Hilton felt so 'violated' by the raid she was afraid to bring her two children home as she didn’t feel safe.
Both burglars were identified in the photos and shortly afterwards Finn, her boyfriend, turned up at a house where Price-Rutherford was staying.
He grabbed him by the right arm and pulled him towards the side door of the van demanding the return of the stolen money.
The thief tried to resist, but Howarth appeared and took hold of the burglar’s other arm and both men forced him into the van. Finn then turned to the victim and punched him in the face chipping his tooth.
The vehicle then set off, but when the men realised Price-Rutherford could not tell them where the stolen money was, he was punched another seven or eight times.
The shutters were pulled down and the van was driven around for another five hours and when he was eventually ejected from the van.
The men had a pit bull type dog with them and Price-Rutherford was made to made to take off his jacket, t-shirt, socks and shoes before being kicked to the ground.
Price-Rutherford was eventually let go and staggered to a nearby a house where he raised the alarm. In a victim impact statement he said: 'Throughout this time I was so scared I started crying. I honestly thought they were going to kill me.'
He was arrested over the burglary but whilst he accepted being present he initially denied keeping watch.
On March 28, Howarth, of Blackburn, was jailed for 44 months whilst Finn, from Blackpool, got 27 months after they admitted kidnap.
At the time Judge Graham Knowles QC told them: 'You decided to punish this man for what you were convinced he had done.
'Your message was "cross us and you will pay the price". If the courts were to allow that kind of message without severe punishment, the result would be anarchy. If you cross the law, you must pay the price.'
At Price-Rutherford’s hearing on Thursday no mention was made of the vigilante attack. He admitted two charges of burglary and was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months with an 18 month supervision order.
His lawyer David Farley said Price-Rutherford’s father had been diagnosed with cancer.
He said: 'That’s encouraged and proved his attitude to his own life. His antecedents started in 2012 borne out of the fact he didn’t have a fixed address.
'He would drift around with his friends motivated to commit offences. He was with people who he didn’t have the strength to stand up to or walk away.
'He was put up by people determined to commit crime. He wouldn’t mind me describing him as a shy un-forceful character.'
Sentencing Price-Rutherford, the judge Mr Recorder Michael Blakey told him the burglary was 'serious' but added: 'If Mr Farley is right and you recognise you are going down the right road it is all well and good.'
Hartley of Blackburn, Lancashire, was given a suspended sentence of 18 months in prison suspended for two years - despite having a record of 30 offences including 16 for theft as well as shoplifting, drug handling and burglary.
Subway removes ham and bacon from nearly 200 British stores and offers halal meat only after 'strong demand' from Muslims
Fast food giant Subway has removed ham and bacon from almost 200 outlets, and switched to halal meat alternatives in an attempt to please its Muslim customers.
It has confirmed turkey ham and turkey rashers will be used instead in 185 of its stores, where all the meat will now be prepared according to halal rules.
The chain, which has around 1,500 outlets across the UK, explained its decision by saying it had to balance animal welfare concerns with 'the views of religious communities'.
Traditional halal slaughter sees animals have their throats slit before bleeding to death. But Subway stressed that the meat served in its sandwiches would come from animals that have been stunned first, a practice that aims to reduce any suffering.
In Arabic the word halal means 'permitted' or 'lawful' and defines anything that is allowed or lawful according to the Qur'an.
It is often used to indicate food - particularly meat - has been prepared in accordance with Muslim principles and techniques.
Muslims are forbidden from eating any non-halal food and meat from pigs and Subway said customers can identify those stores selling halal food by the special 'All meats are Halal' sign, which must be displayed in participating branches.
In the halal-only branches ham and bacon has been substituted by turkey ham and rashers.
Many animal charities condemn halal slaughter as being cruel to animals.
Traditionally in halal abattoirs the throats of the animals are cut while they are fully conscious - an act many campaigners say is inhumane and needlessly cruel.
In non-halal abattoirs, livestock are stunned before killing to prevent any unnecessary suffering. Some halal butchers also practise pre-stunning, though it is not permitted by some Islamic scholars.
In Britain, killing an animal without prior stunning is illegal, but the law gives special exemption to Muslim and Jewish meat producers on the grounds of religion.
There are thought to be around 12 abattoirs dedicated to unstunned slaughter in the UK, while hundreds practise stunned halal slaughter.
A Subway spokeswoman told MailOnline all halal meat served in the participating branches is from animals who were stunned prior to slaughter.
She said: 'The growing popularity of the Subway chain with the diverse multicultural population across the UK and Ireland means we have to balance the values of many religious communities with the overall aim of improving the health and welfare standards of animals.
'We put a programme into place in 2007 to ensure that the population demographic is taken into account when new store openings are considered in order that we meet consumer demand in each location.
Animal campaigning charity PETA urged people to opt for a vegetarian diet to ensure they have the best interests of animals at heart.
A spokesman said: 'At the best of times, meat is a product of a bloody and violent industry with no respect for other living beings who value their lives in the same way that we do and experience the same pain and terror that Subways' customers would if they were killed for a sandwich.
'Most religions, including Islam, preach kindness to animals, but words are one thing and practice another.
'As the Dalai Lama said, "My religion is kindness". And a diet that expresses kindness, is open to all religions and truly respects animal rights is a vegan one.
'Subway-goers, no matter what their religion, can eat with a clear conscience by opting for the veggie patty, the veggie delight or, heaven forbid, a salad.'
Speaking about the general issue of halal slaughter, an RSPCA spokeswoman added: 'Scientific research has clearly shown that slaughter of an animal without stunning can cause unnecessary suffering, and the RSPCA is opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first making it insensible to pain and distress.
'At present, the only legal exemptions to stunning during slaughter exist for kosher and halal methods of slaughter, however, it is important to differentiate between ‘religious’ and ‘non-stun’ slaughter as around 90 per cent of all halal in the UK receives a stun before slaughter.
'Our concern has nothing to do with the expression of religious belief but with the practice of killing by throat cutting without pre-stunning.
'We believe that meat produced from animals stunned or not stunned before slaughter should be clearly labelled to allow consumer choice, and continue to press for changes in the law that would improve the welfare of all farm animals at the time of slaughter.'
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.