Monday, January 04, 2010


The mind-set of many politicians relating to Law crime and punishment is a continuous source of disenchantment; far too often the agenda is set by red top newspapers like the Sun. The newspapers and other media journalists whip up fury and goad a gullible public into backward-looking positions which bear very little similarity to any kind of justice. Very few politicians have the courage to face down the Murdoch Empire when it comes to crime and punishment; a great many of them are scared stiff of being branded ‘soft on crime’ Depending on how high up the political ladder you go the more of this you will see and it also reveals the lengths that some will go to; to protect/advance their political careers.

Some time ago the SNP Justice Minister Kenny McAskill took the correct decision to release the Libyan prisoner Megrahi on compassionate grounds; I said at the time that this had more to do with McAskill’s inability to resist being in the world spotlight and today we see that he is ingratiating himself with the reactionary right by agreeing to consider allowing Juries to be made aware of an accused’s past record; a move which will make him very popular with the right wing populist media. This is far nearer to the real Kenny McAskill; apolitical and ambitious; determined to claw back some of his damaged reputation as an appeaser and ‘soft on crime’.

Voices have already been raised in protest but not; surprise; surprise political voices. The most obvious example of this craven behaviour is to be found in successive home secretaries in relation to the case of the Moors Murderer Myra Hindley; the case was one of the most infamous in British legal history. Based on the system of early release which is used in Britain she should have been released long before she died in jail; she was not released because no Home Secretary had the courage to do the right thing; whatever you think of Hindley she ticked every box for release; the nature of her crimes and the constant campaign against her by the gutter press meant that it would have been a massively unpopular decision and Home Secretaries took it in turn to run away from it. Whether you or I think she should have been released or whether we think she deserved to die in confinement or whether there should have been a private members bill to allow her to be executed is neither here nor there; none of the experts in the criminal justice system; none of the criminal psychiatrist etc. were prepared to say she should be kept in jail but she was; because of political cowardice.

MaCaskill is so ambitious that he; as a zealous nationalist is prepared to consider overthrowing one of the major legal differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK like the others mentioned he knows it will sell to “the man on the Clapham Omnibus” When we hear of someone known to us; some local thug for instance being put on trial for an alleged crime there is a strong tendency in all of us to say “I’m not surprised he’s got previous” and this is exactly the danger; if juries are privy to that kind of information; it destroys the “innocent until proven guilty” legal custom which protects everyone. Innocent; though unsavoury characters would be jailed because the jury were influenced by their previous bad records and the guilty would not even get to court.

Donald Finlay QC; not an easy man to like is nevertheless correct when he says that under this change accused people would be judged by what the jury think of them rather than the evidence; likewise the equally difficult to like political contortionist Paul McBride QC is spot on when he says that it’s corroboration which counts not past records. Another nameless QC stated that “there had not been a single case in Scotland in recent years where a person had gone to trial charged with a particularly serious offence that he had also committed beforehand, and been acquitted” The Police rather as expected are right behind McAskill the result for some means everything; this would take us a step toward saying “well he looked like a right evil b*****d, guilty m'lord”. Police already respond as they did in Casablanca when Major Strasser got shot and Captain Renault said “Round up the usual suspects” so those with ‘form’ and who are known to the Police are already a goal down when something with their MO on it happens. The classic case being Paddy Mehan who was such a well known criminal that he got life for murder and; notwithstanding his criminal past was in fact innocent.

Cases must stand alone; nothing but what is evidence pertaining to the case should be introduced; any change to that principle would mean that people are not innocent until proved guilty and that people are not equal before the law. McAskill’s stunt should be seen as just that; a cheap attempt to curry favour with the yellow press and their repellent owners. The law has to remain above people like him.


Ariel said...

Kelly, you make Baldrick look like Einstein.

Hindley was not released because she deserved to die in prison and because real, honourable, politicians, unlike the current Labour crop, realised they were there to serve 'the man on the Clapham omnibus.' After all, he put them in power.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

I tried to make it clear that I was referring to the cowardice of the politicians involved I didn't suggest any punishment; did you relly not grasp that? I did try to simplify it for some readers; I had you in mind; how much simpler can I make it?

Ariel said...

Again, Kelly, you give words meanings that the Oxford English Dictionary would not recognise.

You've invented a whole new language, where 'Yes' means 'No.'

Very Orwellian (Look him up on Google)

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 04/01/10
1/ No I don’t
2/ No I haven’t
3/ I am very familiar with Orwell; most lefties are; I would have thought him a bit difficult for you though.

Ariel said...

Any views on the Islam4UK proposal to march through Wootton Bassett?

Anonymous said...

You are wrong on this one MrK.
Have you ever been on jury duty? You invariably find yourself one of the few people with the desire to listen to the evidence presented. They all either want out for 'a smoke', or 'don't want to send a wee boy to jail', or something not too far removed. The last jury I was on the charge was attempted murder, the 'couldn't care less faction' were never going to vote for that, although the evidence showed that was the case, and so the person was convicted of 'bodily harm' or some such thing. Imagine their surprise, and reactions when the accused's past history was read out after the sentence. They were ashamed and could not look at the ones who had wanted to find him guilty. I believe they knew all along the truth of the case but could not find the person guilty, but if they had known his history they would have without hesitation.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 19:22
If this or any other march/demonstration is judged as being likely to cause trouble and the authorities think that the possible trouble would be serious enough to ban the march/demonstration then they will do so; what you or me think of the marchers/demonstrators is irrelevant.

Having seen the National Front and the BNP marching legally I think it would be very difficult to justify a ban so under the circumstances I would allow it; apart from any other consideration it would demonstrate that Britain is a fair and tolerant society.

The streets of Britain you see belong to all of us even those we disagree with; Hitler lost remember?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 19:55
“You are wrong on this one MrK”

No I’m right on this one as well just like all the others.

Your jury story is crock of c**p; if a Jury knows that the then innocent accused standing in the dock has a history of crime it makes it harder to find him not guilty; that means the trial is not a fair one and he is not being treated as equal with other accused who do not have that history.

Matters of Law are not always complicated and this is one of them.

Ariel said...

Kelly @ 8.07

Well said Kelly.

Now, in the interests of Freedom and Britain being a fair and tolerant society, care to join me in a Friday afternoon fry-up and full English, outside the Paisley mosque?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 05/01/10
I get the impression that you are trying to say something but typically can’t summon the courage; perhaps you would feel better about yourself if you stopped exploiting the deaths of soldiers.

“full English” is a rather parochial term.

I have no objection whatever to Muslims or Mosques if that helps.

Ariel said...

Kelly @ 12.57

Take you 'parochial' point, Councillor.

So, in that same spirit of Equality, Tolerance and Freedom to Protest,as proposed in Wootton Bassett by Muslims4UK, and supported by you,you will join me in a 'Full Scottish' fry up, bacon, sausage, puddings, the works, on Friday, outside the Paisley Mosque?

Not sure those boys will be as supportive of my demonstration as you are of theirs, but if you're willing...!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 16:14
Can you explain the relevance to me of a fry up of sausages; bacon etc. outside Paisley’s Mosque (which I’ve never heard of)

Also explain why eating said fry up would be a demonstration.

Hamish said...

Unusually I find myself in complete agreement with you Terry on this one. (Apart from your personal remarks about Kenny).

I share your difficulty in finding much to like about some famous defence lawyers, but they are absolutely right that convictions must be based on the evidence, not previous history.
I have served on a number of juries. (Being over-65, I am now deemed too gaga or incontinent to do so.) Sure, there was the occasional conspiracy-theorist or lead-swinger, but every time I was impressed by the serious and anxious attention which the majority of us ordinary citizens devoted to the case.

This proposal has been prompted by the most recent case involving Peter Tobin. I have the utmost contempt for him over the murder of Angelika Kluk, and all who permitted that to happen and protected and defended him.

But to argue for revealing previous convictions is the wrong response.
Tobin is clearly strong, shrewd and cunning. He has no need or right for legal aid. In his next trial, let him stand up and speak for himself.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Hamish) 16:47
“This proposal has been prompted by the most recent case involving Peter Tobin. I have the utmost contempt for him over the murder of Angelika Kluk, and all who permitted that to happen and protected and defended him”

Tobin apparently has been classified as perfectly sane which worries me; I don’t understand your reference to “all who permitted that to happen and protected and defended him”

Tobin seems to be all the things you describe but he is entitled to a defence lawyer.

Ariel said...

Kelly @ 4.39
What an ignorant wee councillor you are!

The fry up is to express our support for Scottish pig farmers.

The site was chosen to exercise the same freedom to demonstrate wherever we wish, that Muslim4UK claim.

You support their right to march through Wootton Bassett, carrying coffins,come support a local cause !

Equalite, Liberte et Fraternite, Councillor

Hamish said...

One shouldn't speak ill of the dead, and Father Nugent, the priest involved, has just died.
However, he was unwise to give a drifter like Tobin free reign in his premises where he was also accommodating Angelika. His own deficiencies were cover up by his superiors.
His defence at trial trashed many reputations including that of the dead girl. Some deservedly so perhaps.
What angers me is that we did not hear one word from the accused himself. This is the only way we have a chance of understanding why people like Tobin act as they do.
It worries me too that he is apparently sane. That is all the more reason to hear him speak out.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Hamish) 10:35
Father Nugent was a much loved priest who had a reputation for generosity which included taking in waifs and strays; that’s how Tobin got to be there. I don’t know about the “many reputations” trashed because of his defence; I would have thought that when you are a witness in a murder trial you tell the truth. The dead girl had a sexual history; so what? this is 2010 not 1910 I suspect that if Father Nugent could have dealt with it differently he would have done so; what’s in it for him in causing anguish to the girl’s parents?

As far as I can gather his ‘deficiencies’ amounted to alcoholism; were there others which his superiors ‘covered up'?
Tobin I’m afraid has the right to remain silent; just like you and me if we want to; that is the correct way; I share your frustration at his silence but there’s nothing anyone can do. I am also baffled by it as he knows he will never be released; perhaps he will release information in stages to have other days in court.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 06/01/10
Why pig farmers? come on spit it out; what is it you are afraid to say? What a liar and a coward you are.

Hamish said...

I accept that Fr. Nugent was a highly-regarded and compassionate priest. But apart from alcoholism, his deficiencies included misuse of church funds, seducing female members of his flock (including probably Angelika) and consorting with prostitutes. Hardly a paragon of virtue and celibacy.
As for reputations being trashed, look again at the ridiculous allegations that Donald Finlay came up with in the defence.

On what grounds does Tobin have a right to a lawyer? He clearly has the ability to speak for himself, and in refusing to do so, he is perverting the course of justice.

BTW You write "The dead girl had a sexual history; so what? this is 2010 not 1910". Actually, I think the first part of that sentence is more 1910 than 2010.

Ariel said...

Kelly @ 12.57
Oh dear, Councillor, I invite you to breakfast and you gird your loins ready to scream the same, old, tired, untruths.

If it makes you feel good, little man, go ahead.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Hamish) 13:23
Can you show me evidence that Father Nugent’s superiors knew about anything other than his alcoholism; that is what you appear to be claiming; his flaws were well aired at the trial; it’s his superiors that you are now traducing.

What ridiculous allegations did Finlay make?

If he was perverting the course of justice we would have heard about it; my understanding is that every accused person is entitled to a lawyer.

It was you who raised the point about Father Nugent’s
defence “trashing the dead girl’s reputation” I assumed that’s what you meant; please enlighten me; in what way did he trash the girl’s reputation?

I think you remarks are a bit more 1910 than mine perhaps.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 14:25
Why did you choose pig farmers? You live in the gutter don’t you.

Ariel said...

Kelly @ 14. 25

There you go, wee man, getting ready to squeal 'Racism' again!

To your sick mind, it's fine for Muslims4UK to march through Wootton Bassett, a town that routinely pays respects to our dead, carrying cardboard coffins, but not for me to organise a Full Scottish outside the local mosque.

Seems you would deny me my right to protest/offend while supporting theirs.

Please explain why their freedoms should exceed mine.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 17:01
Why pig farmers?

Ariel said...

Kelly @ 5.46

Because the more folk we can get eating pork, the better for Scottish producers. That should be clear even to a cretinous Townie.

Now, Councillor dear, Why do you support muslims4UK and not Wootton Bassett?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 19:25
Why did you choose pork? Come on show some daring; what kind of a storm trooper are you? it’s not enough just to have shiny jack boots you know; you have to stand up and be counted.

Ariel said...

Kelly @ 7.53

Answered your question, dear boy and the fact that you dislike that answer is neither here nor there.

Now, don't suppose there is any chance of you answering my question?...No?... Thought not.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 07/01/10
You didn’t answer it because you are a big mouthed coward; you could have chosen any food or food supplier; why did you choose pig farmers: what chance do you people have of building another master race if you can’t answer that and can’t even identify yourself.

Ariel said...

You're not even going to attempt to explain your support for Muslims4UK are you, you anti semitic bigot.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ariel) 08/01/10
Why did you choose pork farmers Adolph?