Saturday, 9 May 2009

Boot on other foot chaps?

Comments from politicians and their Civil Servants re police being called in to investigate what a MP (Damien Green) had been getting up to.

David Cameron said “Does Gordon Brown think it is right for an MP who has apparently done nothing to breach our national security - and everything to inform the public of information they're entitled to know - to have his home and office searched by a dozen counter-terrorist police officers, his phone, blackberry and computers confiscated, and to be arrested and held for nine hours?”

Ken Clark said “Outrageous... There is no crime, this is an abuse of police powers, this is President Nixon's America - harassing a political opponent of the government. It should stop”

Harriet Harperson “We have got to be sure that whilst MPs are not above the law, that actually they are able to get on with their job without unwarranted interference by the law”

Nick Clegg “This is breaking with centuries of tradition about the independence of Parliament”

I’m sure you get the drift.

So why has the Met Police been asked to investigate the leaks about claims made by politicians?

The Joy of Sex

I will merely record the opening paragraph of a news report. It does not leave me speechless - just that my observations might lead us down avenues we do not wish to travel. Just one snide aside - this happened in the North East where the impression is of cloth caps and headscarves and dour family relationships.
How noisy can sex get before it is illegally loud? A jury in a forthcoming case in Newcastle Crown Court will soon have to decide this challenging question.

Dinna ask

The concern about DNA records leaves me cold. First off - let me state my position that if one leads a straight life, there can be no worries about who knows what about me. Having knowledge is one thing. Making use of it is another.
If a trace of my DNA at a crime scene meant that I would straight away be found guilty I would have concerns. The way things are, I have ample opportunity to refute the finding or to put forward an explanation as to why its presence was innocent or mistaken. No difference there so far as evidence is concerned. If a witness says that he saw me do such and such or heard me say whatever, that person is heard and it is up to me to deal with it. DNA speaks out to the same end but in a different manner.
I suppose many of the objectors have a overall Civil Rights motive in being agin' it. Fine. But, just as your freedom fighter is my terrorist, your Civil Rights are my oppressor. If someone does something to my detriment I want them identified, found and dealt with. All means short of torture should be permitted and utilised in that process. I have faith in the DNA association such as to accept that it is unlikely that two of us have the same DNA - known instances aside.
Defence counsel of today are well versed in dealing with such evidence. Contamination opportunities are rife. Repeated assertions of even a faint possibility of some forensic mishandling will lead a jury of laymen (laywomen - or is that something else?) to give the benefit of the doubt to an accused.
Yes - I may well be banged up for a long period prior to trial with all the risk and unpleasantness that may entail. Yes - I will be put to expense. There will be little mental stress if I know I am not the man they want. There are civil remedies open to me if the close detention were capricious.
Into each life a little rain must fall. I could well suffer very similar trauma from a traffic collision that was not my fault. The same sort of suffering might arise from the conduct of a spouse or from an employer. In the latter case, I might well be the cause of my own inconvenience.
On balance, I'm for retention of DNA records. There is, in my mind, a case for it being recorded at birth as a matter of course. If my remains were found in some state as to deny normal identification, DNA records could bring closure to my family and friends. When the time comes that my confused and tired brain directs me to wander abroad, I can be made known like a well cared for dog.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Evidence or punishment?

Gathering and presenting evidence from a four year old girl of serious sexual assault some two years previously is a tremendous challenge. The youngest witness I ever had to deal with in this respect was a six year old girl assaulted by her father. One has two pressures; not to add to the trauma and to ensure that the best evidence is presented in the best way. The molester must meet just desserts, the child must not be harmed.
My concerns were re-ignited by the case of Baby P's sister. The investigators of today have the technical resource of cctv both at interview stage and at court. However, at the end of the day one has to remember that the duty of a defending counsel requires him to ensure that prosecution evidence is tested. How far should he go? Might any temerity on his part open an appeal process - I would imagine there would be far greater resistence to subject the child to another bout of questioning should a retrial be considered.
I was, therefore, interested to read this comment on the process.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Deviant art

I got directed to a deviant art site. Really fantastic work there. Just an example.