Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A little glimmer of justice at last?

The news that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the terrorist and murderer Abu Hamza can be extradited to the US to face charges there, is, in my opinion, a welcome glimmer of justice being seen to be done. Abu Hamza blew his own hands off making and planting bombs. He is wanted in Egypt and another Middle Eastern country for terrorist crimes, but, until recently, he has been protected from extradition on the grounds he could face torture and the death penalty if extradited for trial in the countries concerned. I am often appalled at the concern people like Amnesty International show for the accused in these instances - never a murmur of sympathy for their victims.

Of course, the decision isn't popular with everyone. His supporters, and the supporters of the others involved in this case, are up in arms about it. On the other hand these are men who have been accused and convicted in British courts of inciting others to commit murder, of inciting racial and religious hatred and - in one case at least - direct involvement in an act of terror against the citizens of the UK. So why should any of us, the taxpayers, continue to pay the expenses of their legal teams, their accommodation in comfort in our jails and all the other support they get?

Why shouldn't they face a tougher justice regime than the pussy cat approach our emasculated justice system dishes out?

While I do have some reservations about the US Police methods when it comes to handling and collecting evidence, and with the conduct of cases in their courts, I have no qualms whatever about their having the right to bring these men to trial in American courts. Crimes have been committed against US citizens by them, criminal action is being urged against US citizens by them - so why should the British taxpayer continue to 'protect' them from the consequences.

My only concern now is that they could, on appeal, still end up remaining in the UK. They have three months to appeal, I have no doubt their supporters will now begin a massive campaign in the media and through the courts, to challenge the ruling and the attempt to convince some soft judge somewhere that they face injustice and the breach of their "human rights." I just hope these attempts fail.

You cannot beat crime or terrorism by being soft about it.


  1. I am sure that dressed in an orange boiler suit and walking in chains (the nasty part of me wonders how they will chain Abu Hamza effectively!)will remind them of why they prefer Britain, the US legal / justice system has a lot more in common with Scotland than England, only it is the Scotland where the Wee Free kirks have control, basically a liberal place, but if you step over the line, God help you.

    Britain is known for its tolerance, but it is the stupidity of the legal system in England that gives it the 'soft touch' aspect. Every law, regulation, power or duty must have its "test-case", all must be dragged through the system and preferably before the courts, even though most of them are a bench of well-meaning amateurs. When you drag every miscreant through the courts, you become used to the fact that most of them deserve to be let off, so the courts have very low overall conviction rates, they expect that. In Scotland, if the Fiscal thinks you should be in front of the Sheriff then you, sir, are going down! Only the guilty appear in Scottish courts; now substitute the District Attourney for the Procurator Fiscal and we have the US system, the evidence has been gathered, weighed, the potential defences worked out and counters devised, this is taken into the court, that expects a 90%+ conviction rate, otherwise it will sack the public prosecutor for making poor use of the court's time, and hey presto!

    When will the English system wake up and smell the stink that is at the core of the system as it is at present? The CPS was supposed to improve things, but they are a bunch of civil service administrators being guided by the legal minds that still expect most cases to fail, so their default setting is 'off'.

    The postively pathetic drafting of almost all legislation since 1997 when it apparently became compulsory to always split infinitives in legal writing, has led to some of the worst acts of parliament, some of the worst delays in enactment of necessary powers and along the way the use of terrorist legislation to spy on pensioners with over-full wheelie bins.

    I think perhaps I'm glad I'm in the last half of my life, some of my teenage antics could easily have landed me in todays court's, if not custody, however, I grew up in a different time, one where the force of the law was directed at those who deserved and bad lads got a good thumping if they answered back to anyone holding the office of constable... oh, and there weren't any stab-vests needed either. Am I just looking over my shoulder with sepia timted spectacles, or do I have a point?

  2. As ever, Josephus, you have an excellent point. As you know I lived with a Roman-Dutch legal system which had much the same approach, the law meant exactly what it said, if you went to court there was a better than 90% chance you were guilty. The English legal system was developed from William 1 through the Middle Ages and probably worked properly until the 18th Century when it started to become the tool of the lawyers and stopped serving justice ...

    Sadly, the only way to change it now is to scrap it completely, and replace evrything about it.