The Crime of Assisting in Evasion of Foreign Tax

Hundreds of volumes of our laws are written to ensure that the government may successfully collect taxes. A large amount of people are employed in collecting those taxes. Whole industries have been created about the collection of taxes and about the avoidance of taxes.

Under new laws that came into force on 30 September 2017 two new criminal offences have been created, dealing respectively with facilitating the evasion of UK tax or the evasion of foreign tax. These offences can be committed by those working in these tax industries. Continue reading

Witch Hunts

Witch hunts are things that move in and out of fashion. It usually starts with a scandal which has carried on for several years and which is a serious perversion of the way in which a society is supposed to operate. Once the scandal is publicised society starts a witch hunt on the assumption that there are many other similar scandals that have been suppressed and which now must be brought to light. Continue reading

On Being Unsurprised and Surprised

I am not surprised to learn that Citigroup, JP Morgan, Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland formed a cartel and manipulated the foreign exchange markets cheating and defrauding people and businesses out of billions of dollars. I am not surprised to see that together these banks will face penalties for this criminal action in the order of  $6bn. I am not surprised to learn that the fixing of Forex went in for seven years from 2007 when these banks were doing deals with authorities to mitigate the effect of their behaviour in other criminal activities, such as interest rate Swaps and PPI and interst rate manipulation. I am not surprised that the Financial Conduct Authority imposed a fine of £284m million on Barclays Bank. Continue reading

Wilful Neglect and the Abuse of Children

The abuse of children must be one of the worst crimes that humanity can devise. Abusers ought to be punished and those who are paid to protect children should be vigilant and careful in their jobs. Teachers, local authority employees, social workers, police and other organisations are paid to protect children. I must say that I am troubled by a proposal to extend the crime of wilful neglect to cover those categories of people who could, if they fail to carry out their duties properly, face up to five years in prison and unlimited fines. Continue reading

I did my job right

“I knew I did my job right” was the justification that Darren Wilson gave for shooting Michael Brown. From Officer Wilson’s account of what happened in Ferguson the incident was not straightforward. There is no point in pretending that it was a clear cut case of a policeman shooting an unarmed man, although in this case the policeman did shoot an unarmed man. There is no point in the British press pretending that America’s gun laws facilitated this crime which would not happen in Britain. With our strict gun controls a few years ago police did shoot from very close range five hollow point bullets into the head of John Charles de Menezes, a man innocent of any crime.

In the de Menezes case no police officer faced any charges; they too were doing their job right.

The defence of only doing one’s job is frequently used, by journalists intruding into matters they have no right to know, by police when killing innocent people, by Prime Ministers when declaring illegal wars. It provides these people, I suppose, with a degree of comfort that they were authorised to behave in the way that they have behaved and that authorisation came from their employer – the newspaper or television station, the head of the police or the democratic decision of the nation.

“I was only following orders” was the defence beloved of the war criminals tried at Nuremberg. “I did my job right” is the defence of a police officer who regards his job as being to follow procedures designed to protect and serve the public instead of protecting and serving the public. If the consequences of following procedures is that someone dies unnecessarily, then so be it..


Capital Punishment and Rape

I read that five Afghanis had been executed for gang rape. In Afghanistan rape carries the death penalty. In England rape was never been a capital offence, for since about 1861 but fifty years earlier there were around two hundred capital offences many of which we would regard as trivial today. In modern times in developed nations rape is an offence that has only carried the death penalty in most of the Southern States of the USA and in the US military. Continue reading

Ashya King and the European Arrest warrant

The dangers of the European Arrest warrant, and indeed of international extradition arrangements is shown quite clearly by the recent case of Ashya King, a five year old boy who is very sick. Against medical advice his parents removed him from the hospital where he was being treated. the news media reported that doctors had said that he could only live for a few hours if he were taken out of hospital being his feeding arrangements, powered by battery, would run out. The Police launched a hue and cry and when it was discovered that the parents had taken the boy abroad the courts issued a European Arrest Warrant, on the evidence of the doctors and the police, which warrant was granted by a District Judge. Continue reading