Desmond Tutu Is Right – We Cannot be Selective about Justice

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a good man who has won the Nobel peace prize (one of the Nobel Committee’s better decisions) and who is not afraid to speak his mind. There are many offensive things to the good, as well as many pleasant and happy things. One of the most offensive things is hypocrisy. Mr Tutu, who last month refused to share a speaking platform with Tony Blair, has now suggested that Mr Blair and Mr Bush should stand trial at the International Criminal Court for starting the war against Iraq. Continue reading

Selective injustice and selective hypocrisy

UK Government Ministers will not be travelling to the Ukraine to watch the European Nations football championship as a protest against the “selective injustice” there. It is said that an opposition leader is imprisoned as an act of revenge by the current leader. It may be true, for all I know. Many countries around the world commit selective injustice, but most nations that do commit selective injustice do not have the pleasure of UK Ministers avoiding their soils. Continue reading

Perverting the Course of Justice

When I was a very young lawyer I as part of my duties I attended and observed a trial of policemen who were charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice. One of the policemen was Detective Sergeant Norman Pilcher. I attended the trial almost every day, and for the days when I did not attend, I read transcripts of the day’s proceedings and analysed them. D/S Pilcher was, at the time that the charge against him was concerned, running the Drugs Squad at Scotland Yard and was in the habit of arresting famous rock musicians, some of whom alleged that he planted evidence against them. Continue reading

We will do it because we can!

If in the 1960s a government had proposed that every person who wrote a letter had to, before posting it, file details of their name and address and provide details of the person to whom they sent the letters, and deposit a photostatic copy of the letter, which the government would not open without permission from a judge, the hippies and the establishment would have united to prevent such a plan. It would not matter how much the Home Secretary protested that the plan was to prevent the IRA blowing us all up and prevent organised criminals like the Krays from operating it would not have been enacted. Continue reading

The Power of Wealth

A man was strolling through the woods in Yorkshire. He had in his possession a knife. He decided to try throwing the knife at a tree, with a singular lack of success, when two policemen appeared. They arrested him and questioned him closely as to who he was, where he had got the knife, what was he doing and where he was staying. When the policemen discovered he was a guest of a very wealthy local banker they let the man go, with good wishes.

The man later reflected on the perennial temptation to a shameful admiration of wealth which has distorted and poisoned our police. He wrote Continue reading

Whisper who dares: Bideford Council is saying its prayers

When someone becomes a High Court Judge in England and Wales the appointment is usually of someone who has great legal intellect. The best of Judges are able to summarise great principles of law in a few words. The law is littered with complex doctrines which are explained in pithy sentences. There are all the maxims of equity, which a layman can understand, for example “he who seeks equity must do equity”. It is a well expressed statement of the law. Continue reading

Freedom of Speech

I am shocked and appalled that it is now an offence in the United Kingdom to distribute pamphlets entitled “Death penalty?” suggesting that homosexuality should be criminalised (perhaps I should say re-criminalised) and that homosexuals should be subject to the death penalty or some other punishment. There is a strong tradition of pamphleteering in this country and prosecuting pamphleteers was a field sport that I thought had become obsolete, but for governments anxious to control the moral behaviour of the governed old habits die hard . Continue reading