Chris Grayling, the Justice Minister has not let the dissolution of Parliament or the appalled objections of lawyers stand in the way of ever more absurd ruses to squeeze money out of Court users.
Last week he announced plans to charge defendants a flat rate, non-negotiable charge merely for being convicted, irrespective of the seriousness of the charge or their ability to pay. This will be as high as £1200.00 for any Crown Court trial.
Last night, in a bold attempt to take the war to critics who have attacked his plans, Mr Grayling announced the introduction of what he describes as “further much needed efficiency savings” in the criminal justice system.
Lovers of paedophile and Satanist conspiracies have been having a wonderful time recently with their claims that a Satanist paedophile ring has been operating from Christ Church Church of England Primary School in Hampstead, a beautiful part of North London not far from where I used to live.
Such scares blow up from time to time and they always turn out to be nonsense, or at least, if they contain a grain of truth, to be hugely exaggerated. However on this occasion I have paid more than passing attention because the school in question happens to be where two of my children learnt to read and write and where they spent seven exceptionally happy years.
You might think that the most important part of a judge’s job is to sit on the bench and listen to the evidence, and that the least important part is sitting in chambers waiting to be called into court. The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, on the other hand, appears to think that how a judge behaves in the privacy of his chambers is more important than how he does his job in court.
Three judges have been sacked for watching pornography. District Judge Timothy Bowles, Immigration Judge Warren Grant and, Deputy District Judge and Recorder Peter Bullock. In the great scheme of things there have been greater injustices, but I think they have been treated rather harshly. Bullock has perhaps got off the lightest of the three as he was not a full-time judge. No doubt he can return to private practice without too many problems. Bowles and Grant were full-time judges and they have lost their livelihoods. Possibly they will be able to return to practice as lawyers but failed and disgraced ex-judges don’t command a high premium in the competitive world of legal recruitment.Continue reading “Were the three porn viewing judges rightly sacked?”
Has Jimmy Savile driven The Guardian mad? The tabloids, unsurprisingly, seek out the most sensational stories about the now disgraced disc jockey, as though to atone for their devotion to the man when he was alive. One would like to have thought that more serious newspapers would adopt a more sober tone.
Its editorial columns are usually rather more sensible.
Last Thursday was an exception. Under the headline “Oblivion’s Too Good For Him,” the newspaper that remains required reading for the British left published an editorial that was so hysterical and so bizarre that it suggested the writer (who is sadly unnamed) might require a few weeks leave to calm himself down.
Its subject was Jimmy Savile. Bemoaning the fact that no Hell exists in which Mr Savile could be condemned to “eternal torment,” the editorial went on to make an extraordinary comparison:
“If there is one thing to make the most benign agnostics wish that there were a God to punish sinners with eternal torment, it is the contemplation of history’s monsters. Oblivion is too good for the likes of Pol Pot, and for Jimmy Savile, too.”