Freedom of the Streets, dearly bought and if Inspector Yates has anything to do with it , easily sold
Maybe it's Midsummer Madness but 2 news items epitomise the parallel universe that some folk live in ...witness - one policeman, one war criminal and Justice Minister , both well educated and experienced in rongdoing.
Commander Yates, that's the one who finally failed to nail the Cash for Coronets crowd and let that slimy turd Lord Lying Levy , the Karaoke King off the hook.
Commander Yates of the Yard is stamping his well shod little foot because Lord Rodger of Earls Ferry has put a spoke in the wheel, a spanner in the works of a dishonest legal scamm he worked out with "the agreement of the Crown Prosecution Service", (who should have known better) in which witnesses to violent crimes could present anonymised evidence , by their absence from court and the trickery of voice alteration technology. Something that not even the Diplock Courts (see beloe) had done ... but overidden by Commander Young and his cronies at the CPS.
The reason for this fit up, was the lack of success in nailing the increasing gun toting gangs and violent criminals on Inspector Knackers patch. As Knacker saw it, this was the failure of the law not Knacker and the reason was witnesses reluctance to face the accused in court.
(Lord Patel has to admit , that if he frequented the dens of iniquity in the early hours of the morning where these violent crimes take place and witnessed a murder he would suddenly be enveloped in an instant case of total amnesia - if only because of having to explain his presence in the Black Mamba Club in downtown Dalston in the early hours to 'er indoors, who is probably more frightening than any Uzi cruisin' schmoozing gangsta. )
The problem is that the witnesses natural concern of the unpleasant consequences of grassin' up gangstas in public is due to the equal and understandable breakdown in street policing over the last 2 decades.
It was therefore Lord Rodger of Earls Ferry and his pals duty, to remind Inspector Yates and his Ilk that the hard won freedoms dating back to Magna Carta mean that the accused must have the opportunity to identify and face their accusers in court. It is also a salutary reminder to the Knacker and the CPS that improving the success rate cannot be won simply by breaking the law.
Now Commander Yates (and the Justice Minister and War criminal Jack Straw) paint an alarming and alarmist picture - Yates says, "the community's confidence in our ability has never been higher".
So alarming that we must, says Yates, produce "emergency legislation" to overthrow centuries of law and also the judgements of Lord Rodger of Earls Ferry and his pals.
Well a word in you shell like Commander Yates. There is precious little "confidence in (your) ability" in this neck of the woods.
The Police have deserted the streets - a process that started with the Panda car - 50 drunken youths rampaged on the school playing fields behind Patel Towers (he's kindly putting me up for the duration - or putting up with me as he says - oh! he is a laugh) at 1am a few weeks ago leaving one with his ear torn off and now on a life support system.
Starting at 9 am on Monday morning outside the main Post Office as Giros are collected, he can watch the dealers swoop in direct site of both the courts and the Police Station and underneath CCTV cameras and all week long to Saturday night outside the main supermarkets, as they call in to collect their schnapps and vodka to start the night off and a few happy pills to help the night along ...to rip someone's ear off..... etc., etc.,
Most folks hereabouts have little concern about gun toting gangstas, they mainly shoot each other and their kin and steer well clear of their mating grounds...and they will applaud any legal legerdemain to put them inside for a long stretch.
Most folks hereabouts however do need the streets. Streets which have been abandoned by the Police.
Speech Number one by Gemma Garrett at Haltemprice and Howden. See the blog
If you want to be as up to speed on the law Lords judgment go here -
OPINIONS OF THE LORDS OF APPEAL FOR JUDGMENT IN THE CAUSE
SESSION 2007-08  UKHL 36
R v Davis (Appellant) (On appeal from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division))
Lord Bingham of Cornhill , Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, Lord Mance
Gemma who hails from Ulster wants Lord Patel to point out that My learned Lords referred to the Diplock Courts in her home land ..."But there has until recently been no precedent for protective measures of the kind now under consideration (anonymity) , even when the problem of witness intimidation has been extreme. Such was the case in Northern Ireland in 1972 when a commission chaired by Lord Diplock reported on Legal Procedures to Deal with Terrorist Activities there. The commission concluded (Chapter 2, para 7(b)) that the problem of witness intimidation could not be overcome by any changes in the conduct of the trial, the rules of evidence or the onus of proof which it would regard as appropriate to trial by judicial process in a court of law. It considered (chapter 4, para 20) that the minimum requirements for criminal trial by a court of law called for the accused to be informed in detail of the nature of the accusation against him and to examine or have examined witnesses against him. The commission could see no way (ibid) of keeping the identity of witnesses secret without gravely handicapping the defence or exposing counsel to a conflict between his duty to his client and a duty to the state inconsistent with the role of the defendant's lawyer in a judicial process. A committee under the chairmanship of Lord Gardiner "to consider, in the context of civil liberties and human rights, measures to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland", reporting in 1975 (Cmnd. 5847), considered the possibility of measures to conceal the identity of witnesses but concluded (chapter 2, para 55) that the very serious limitations they would place on effective cross-examination would imperil the whole concept of a fair trial, and the committee regarded this, as the Diplock Commission had done, as a conclusive argument against such measures.
Which is something war criminal Jack Straw should carefully consider before rushing through any hastily drafted emergency legislation.
He will however be encouraged and will no doubt seize on the final Paragraph (99) of the judgement ..."In this situation, I have been persuaded that any further relaxation of the basic common law rule, requiring witnesses on issues in dispute to be identified and cross-examined with knowledge of their identity and permitting the defence to know and put to witnesses otherwise admissible and relevant questions about their identity, is one for Parliament to endorse and delimit and not for the courts to create.... there is reason to think (a)growing - threat to the administration of justice posed by witness intimidation. It may well be appropriate that there should be a careful statutory modification of basic common law principles."
The Primrose path of dalliance down which the Dutch and New Zealand parliaments have already taken.
It will be interesting to see if Mr David Davis is willing to support yet another attack on our common law for the sake of providing Inspector Knacker with "the community's confidence ".