Ian West was rude to the judge, but let’s keep a sense of proportion

Those attending His Honour Judge Kelson’s court in Durham on Monday 14th April had an unexpected treat: a blazing row between a judge and a barrister. The confrontation ended with the Judge fining the barrister £500 for contempt of court. The barrister appealed to the Court of Appeal. He was successful in that the Court of Appeal ruled that the judge had failed to follow the correct procedure and quashed the fine. But his success came at the cost of a public condemnation of his behaviour, coupled with what the barrister might have found faintly unctuous praise for the judge. Continue reading “Ian West was rude to the judge, but let’s keep a sense of proportion”

Jeremy Wright is the least distinguished attorney general for two centuries

The role of Attorney-General is an important one.

Constitutionally the Attorney-General is the Monarch’s lawyer.

As the Government’s chief legal adviser he (there has so far only been one female Attorney-General, Patricia Scotland QC), in practical terms responsible for providing legal advice on matters of vital national importance. Many will remember how Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General under Tony Blair first advised that an attack on Iraq would be illegal and then, amidst a maelstrom of political pressure, revised his opinion. Whether he was right or wrong matters not. His advice gave the green light to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by British forces. Had he continued to advise that an attack was unlawful it is probable that Britain would not have become involved in that particular adventure. Continue reading “Jeremy Wright is the least distinguished attorney general for two centuries”

Butler-Sloss was a superb judge but she should stand down immediately

Like everyone who has ever met or appeared professionally in front of her, I have huge admiration for Baroness Butler-Sloss. She is polite, humane, clever and immensely experienced. She radiates wisdom. All of these are qualities that mark her out as one of the outstanding judges of her generation. But her position as the judge chairing the child abuse inquiry is completely untenable. Continue reading “Butler-Sloss was a superb judge but she should stand down immediately”

Should Rolf Harris die in prison?

It is perhaps the worst part of the job. You’ve lost. The police are jubilant and the Crown Prosecution Service is making the finishing touches to its triumphant public statement.

What’s the best way to describe him?

“A prolific sexual offender?”

A bit feeble. How about:

“A prolific and evil sexual predator?”

Better, but still not quite right. Leaves a bit of wriggle room.

I know, I’ve got it now:

A prolific and evil sexual predator who has preyed on innocent children for decades.”

He may be taken down to the cells straightaway, or may be allowed his liberty for a few more days while reports are prepared.

What do you say when you reach the comparative calm of the interview room? Continue reading “Should Rolf Harris die in prison?”