The Ballad of Chris Grayling (Part 1)

“Now listen to this,” said David to Chris

I want you to take over the law.

It’s easily done,

You’ll have some fun

And there’s some things that I need you there for.


Our voters think that long spells in the clink

Should be handed out far more.

So fill up the jails

In England and Wales

Then we’ll sell them all off to Group 4.


Other than that, you have quite a free hand

To change whatever you find

But I am intending

To cut public spending

So please do bear that in mind”


Continue reading “The Ballad of Chris Grayling (Part 1)”

DLT and Bill Roache: Is the Crown Prosecution Service obsessed with political correctness?

It is hard to keep up with the numbers of “victims” who have failed to convince juries in the last few weeks. Bill Roache was said to have raped or indecently assaulted five women. Dave Lee Travis was accused of indecent or sexual assault by eleven. The jury rejected all Mr Roache’s charges except one: that one never reached the jury having been thrown out by the judge. In Mr Travis’s case the jury found him Not Guilty of 12 counts but could not agree on the remaining two. The Crown Prosecution Service will now have to decide whether to seek a re-trial on these two remaining charges.

Much justifiable praise has been heaped on DLT’s barrister, Stephen Vullo, whose closing speech was widely regarded as something of a tour de force, as well as on Louise Blackwell QC who defended Roache. It is little short of outrageous that despite their acquittals the defendants will recover none of their legal costs.

The CPS, meanwhile has come in for a great deal of criticism. What on earth was it doing bringing these cases which juries have obviously found so unconvincing? Does it take its prosecution decisions on the basis of cold hard reason or, as Simon Heffer has argued – in the course of a rather eccentric and inaccurate but nevertheless welcome attack on the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – is its obsession with political correctness leading it to prosecute cases that it should leave well alone? Continue reading “DLT and Bill Roache: Is the Crown Prosecution Service obsessed with political correctness?”

Sex with animals: what is and is not allowed

One of the more curious revelations about the Tottenham Hotspur bestiality case is the fact that the North London club has a training ground of such bucolic charm that it could have been the inspiration for Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Mr Lovell is due to be sentenced in March for outraging public decency by trying to have sex with a variety of sheep and cows in a field next to the club’s training ground.

Much of the evidence against him came from Lawrence Stephen, a 23 year old tree surgeon and his girlfriend Natasha Brennan who were picnicking “underneath their favourite oak tree” last September. Not only was it an apparently attractive picnicking spot, it was also full of cows and sheep that, at least at first, were quietly grazing. As they settled down to enjoy their picnic their emotions would have matched those depicted by the maestro in the first movement: “cheerful thoughts upon arriving in the countryside.”

I know North London quite well and, away from the obvious spots such as Hampstead Heath (where there are no longer any farm animals) and a few scattered fields in Finchley there are precious few places with a choice of oak trees suitable for a picnic. We don’t know quite how far they had got with their lunch before matters moved swiftly to an unexpected scherzo. This was not at all like Beethoven’s version of “country folk dancing and revelling” but something a little darker and more bizarre. Perhaps Shostakovich or Bartok would have been better at catching the mood. Certainly Bach’s Sheep may safely graze would have been particularly inappropriate. Continue reading “Sex with animals: what is and is not allowed”