Archive for September, 2012

I had high hopes for Ken Clarke. Why? He talked about ending short prison sentences with no rehabilitative effect. He recognised in terms of knife crime that sentencing was a role for Judges not politicians and he himself is a barrister with a penchant for real ale and likes a bit of jazz.

The grey day

Today, our country’s legal system, ‘justice’ was handed over to Chris Grayling.

Chris Grayling is not a lawyer, but yet is Lord Chancellor. Henry VIII was the last Monarch to have a Lord Chancellor who didn’t know his actus reus from his honoris causa.

Caveat emptor

I sighed when I saw the appointment. Not because Chris Grayling isn’t a lawyer, but because of some of the things he had said previously.

He said that gang warfare was so bad in some places in this country that it was like ‘The Wire’. I’m not even going to begin to engage with that…

Famously he said the high street hotel couldn’t discriminate against gay couples but a bed and breakfast could.

And of course, he claimed as Shadow Home Secretary that crime had risen sharply when in reality the recording system for figures had changed.

My sigh is that yet again, justice, in particular criminal justice and human rights is going to be used as a political football.

Ultra vires

Of the three sittings of the criminal law bill which amends the rights of householders to protect their properties, he has only attended one.

It would seem he was absent from the majority of the most important votes on the ID card bill.

…I’m also investigating Early Day Motions that he signed at David Cameron’s proposal with regard to legal privilege and RIPA (basically covert surveillance powers)…. watch this space – could be nothing – could be worrying.

De novo

Perhaps I’m judging him too soon… afterall he wrote in the Guardian

No one would normally accuse me of being soft on crime. I think that far too often we let those who commit crimes in our society off far too lightly. A future Conservative government would change that. But our justice system and our society are based on fundamental principles. No government has the right to change them.

One of those principles is the right to be treated as innocent unless you are proved to be guilty. That right is inalienable. It is not a product of recent human rights legislation. It is a right that has formed the cornerstone of justice in this country for generations. It must never change.

It must never change… let’s see if we can hold him to that

Functus officio

I actually think that it’s a shame to appoint Grayling. There could have been more interesting, more dynamic individuals who weren’t such an obvious, ‘safe’ Daily Mail choice.

My choice, Lord Deben, used to be MP for Suffolk (I judge this solely on how often he rebelled against Acts which irritate me) …

No to Protection from Freedoms Bill.

Aye to Civil Partnerships Bill

Of the terrorism laws he only voted for 17% of them!

Oh I dunno…

… maybe I am being too harsh on Grayling.

And in terms of it, being a barrister and a politician doesn’t always work out, just look at Tony Baldry.

My only hope is that Grayling, the ‘safe’ pair of hands, will rethink some of the stupid changes on the agenda… Sunday Court…. ‘community justice centres’…. ‘out of court disposals (i.e no lawyers, one Magistrate punishments)…

We can but see…