A respected criminal barrister, Robert Colover, has been suspended from prosecuting sex cases and has had his name dragged through the mud. He has been called a disgrace, a scumbag, a mysogonist, a nonce and worse. Whatever the outcome of the present inquiry he will be for ever known as the barrister who called a child victim a “predator”.
The reason for all this was a routine sentencing hearing earlier this month at Snaresbrook Crown Court at which Neil Wilson, a 41 year old man with no relevant previous convictions, was given an 8 month suspended sentence, together with a supervision order under which he was required to attend a Sex Offenders’ Treatment Programme, for sexual activity with a 13 year old child. Continue reading “Criticism of Robert Colover was unfair”
With the announcement that Parliament is to be recalled for an emergency session this Thursday we seem to be heading for involvement in another Middle Eastern war.
Before the 2003 Iraq war Tony Blair and his government went to elaborate lengths to find a legal justification for joining the United States attack on Iraq. The then Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, swung first one way and then the other on the question of whether the invasion would be legal. Presumably the current Attorney-General, Dominic Grieve, has been asked for his opinion on the legality of an attack -perhaps with cruise missiles and bombers – on Syria.
Mr Grieve, an honourable and humane man whose high regard for the rule of law is self-evident, will not have an easy task.
Before answering the question, he will need to clarify it somewhat. An action that is lawful under domestic law might nevertheless be unlawful under international law. Continue reading “Would a British attack on Syria be lawful?”
Celebrity opponents of the drilling operations in Balcombe who include Bianca Jagger, Vivienne Westwood, Russell Brand and even, God help us, the neo-fascist Nick Griffin, are celebrating Cuadrilla’s decision to “temporarily suspend operations” in the face of the potential disorder that they fear may be imminent.
Leaders of the anti-fracking demonstrators have called for “civil disobedience,” – what is otherwise known as breaking the law – to stop the drilling permanently. The protesters have set up a camp on private land from which to co-ordinate their campaign. They do not have the landowner’s permission. The certainty in the rightness of their cause appears to have led some to consider themselves above the law.
It is of crucial importance that their campaign does not succeed. Continue reading “Drilling at Balcombe must go ahead. Law breakers must not win.”
The always informative and often fascinating UK criminal law blog has given us some interesting background to the fixed penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly received by Monty Panesar on 4th August. Panesar apparently urinated on two bouncers from a night-club balcony. The learned editor, Dan Bunting, points out that Mr Panesar was lucky to be dealt with in this lenient way because he might have committed at least 5 other separate offences, and he set law students a challenge to see if they could identify them all.
As no law student seems to have taken him up on it, here are my answers: Continue reading “Monty Panesar urinates into a legal minefield”
Neil Wilson probably thought that he had escaped lightly on Monday when he walked out of Snaresbrook Crown Court with a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to a single count of sexual activity with a child and 2 counts of possession of images of extreme pornography possibly involving horses or dogs. There was some suggestion that he may also have possessed images of child abuse, but puzzlingly the press reports do not suggest that he was actually sentenced for such an offence.
Unfortunately for Mr Wilson his good fortune quickly turned sour with the news that the Attorney General is considering a review of his sentence. Continue reading “If Robert Colover made a mistake it does not make him a scumbag”
I have blogged recently about The Naked Rambler, and apologies to readers who feel that it is becoming something of an obsession. There are, I suppose, many more important legal issues than the largely self-inflicted fate of one obsessive individual. On the other hand law is nothing if it is not about the protection of individual rights and Stephen Gough’s lengthy campaign does raise a number of important questions. Should we really go to great lengths to prosecute a man for doing no more than expose his un-air-brushed, and un-hair-brushed, body in a society in which highly sexualised near nudity is widely accepted? Is the ASBO regime appropriate to criminalise activity which might well not otherwise be criminal? Does the existence of Mr Gough’s ASBO mean that he is in effect denied the chance of a jury’s verdict on his behaviour? And do we not have many better ways to spend public money than to prosecute and incarcerate Mr Gough until the day he dies? Continue reading “A way out of the naked rambler dilemma: let a jury decide”