Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sir Richard Mottram

Rumour has it that 150 mags courts will be closed, and a further 30% lopped off the legal aid budget.

To quote a phrase widely attributed to the abovementioned gentleman in the wake of the 9/11 news-burying fiasco;

"We're all fucked. I'm fucked. You're fucked. The whole department is fucked. It's the biggest cock-up ever, and we're all completely fucked".

For "department", read "legal aid system and the Magistrates' Court".

I would apologise for my language, but if you're more offended by a spot of anglo-saxon than the gross injustice that will inevitably result from such cuts, you need your head examining, and merit further such language, probably questioning your parentage and breeding.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

POW! Right in the kisser.

This, for me, encapsulates the dilemma of lone police officers. The officer cannot control two people at once, and has to make decisions very quickly. He can't call for back up, because he's fully occupied trying to restrain a dangerous master criminal suspected of crossing the road other than on a pedestrian crossing. This isn't about jaywalking laws and personal liberty, though.

Any police officer is trained to be paranoid, on either side of the pond, and for good reason. You just don't know what people are carrying, and being surrounded by an angry crowd is extremely dangerous.

So the officer did what he clearly felt necessary in the circumstances as he perceived them. He had the first girl's arm in a swan neck hold -- holding the forearm vertical and pushing the hand inwards towards the elbow. Another person intervened, and he punched her in the face. I make no comment as to that -- he was there, essentially fighting with two people. I have the luxury of watching it on the internet, with a slo-mo replay.

The real point of this story is that the Seattle Police Department who sent him out alone have accepted that their policy has consequences, and have supported the officer, by saying it's up to him what force he uses. Metropolitan Police Service, take note. If you pursue single-crewing, one of your officers will end up being filmed using Home Office approved distraction technique number 15 -- a punch in kisser. When that officer ends up on Youtube, please have the courage to support their actions in preserving their personal safety, caused entirely by your policy.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Four parlimentarians who were caught with their hand in the cookie jar, have been asserting that their claims are subject to parliamentary privilege, and that they cannot stand trial. A judge in the High Court has just thrown that claim out, noting that there is 'no logical, practical, moral or legal justification' for expenses claims being covered by privilege'. Ouch.

They have permission to appeal, and will be doing so. Court of Appeal will take a while, but I'll keep my eyes open.

The charges are interesting -- false invoices feature in some! The 'a bigger boy made me do it' defence, as given short shrift by headmasters everywhere, is one thing, but just forging documents is quite another. Hopefully the sentencing will match this disgraceful behaviour.

Planning, erosion of public confidence, abuse of trust, sophisticated offence, high value, long duration...lots of aggravating features racking up against the Right Honourable Gentlemen and the Noble Gentleman. I'll add suitably mocking quotation marks around 'honourable' and 'noble' if they get convicted.

Extraordinary behaviour.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


The Conservative-Liberal coalition is busy cutting budgets, but somehow the CPS managed to a sum in excess of 370,000 of your English pounds to spend on its website. In five years. That's design, creation, maintenance and hosting.

That's just the wedge that went to the IT peeps. Doesn't include the money spent / wasted on internal staff coming up with "user-targeted content" or whatever they call 'copy' these days.

Now, quality design is not cheap, and I'm not one of those idiots who thinks that any old idiot can design a website. It contains a lot of information, it's OK to use, and I do use it regularly (charging standards and that).

But 370k? Worse, they won't say who tendered for the project. The Guardian helpfully chipped in with a FoI Act request, in which my employer kindly pointed out that they carried out a tendering exercise for a 3-year, £45,000 project.

Quite how that became a 5-year, £370,036.35 project is a little beyond me, but then I'm just a hack lawyer -- what would I know?

I recommend the full story, which can be found over at the Guardian.

But it's all OK, because we're about to 'name and shame' those who earn more than 55 grand a year. Which will include every Crown Advocate in the country. Fiddling while Rome burns, perhaps?

DECLARATION OF INTEREST -- I will not be appearing on the list. In an entirely objective and not at all bitter way, I will be examining it closely, however. I shall report any interesting findings here. Don't hold your breath.