Friday snark

This week’s Norm profile is of Alice Bachini, a Brit-blogger who ran away to Texas because she couldn’t bear living in a place that wasn’t filled with gun-toting fundamentalist warmongering maniacs.

She seems to be rather out of touch with Euro-weenie sentiment, however:

Q: If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose?

A: Arnold Schwarzenegger, just to annoy the rest of the world

No, seriously, dear: we’d absolutely love it if the current corrupt gurning maniac were removed from power and replaced by *anyone* less right-wing than him. Indeed, we’d choose Arnie over any major Republican (except perhaps Guiliani and Pataki). Admittedly, we’d choose almost literally anyone not in the Republican party over Arnie, but this isn’t the point.

(also, how does Norm pick his interviewees? They seem to meander wildly between "interesting-and-heard-of" and "neither-of-the-above"…)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by John B. Bookmark the permalink.

43 thoughts on “Friday snark

  1. Well, there’s a clever person. ‘I’d like to piss people off’? Great politics. Idiot politics.

    It is a reasonable bet that anyone who links to the ‘Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller’ is thoroughly contemptible. It is rabid, and it is idiotic. Idiotarian? What the hell does that mean? Is it another idiot American invention like burglarize? It’s redundant. People are idiots. Comments are idiotic. Idiotarian is an idiotic invention.

  2. Fuck me! I’ve just seen her favourite blogs. Kim du Toit – a gun nut, a proto-fascist (in the true sense, as in celebrating personal power, particularly violent, as the greatest virtue), a crank who is seriously concerned with the pussification of men, LGF – well, genocidal bigots would be a kind description, and Belmont Club – perhaps that isn’t as bad as the others, perhaps.

    I see she thinks state education is a terribel moral threat, yet claims Islamism is the greatest danger to the world. How does she intend to solve this without a comprehensive, universal education system? Perhaps she favour the genocidal LGF solution.

    Does Norm still claim to be anywhere near the left.

    The person he has profiled here is vile!

  3. It does seem to be a common misconception in the US that foreigners (and particularly TEH LIBERAL EUROPEANSES) find Schwarzenegger’s emergence as a politican somehow irritating or offensive. In fact, unless me and my friends are unrepresentative, we all think it’s a bit of a laugh, and thank Christ he appears to be a bit more liberal than the nutjobs currently running the White House. Like John, if there’s going to be a Republican president, I wouldn’t mind Arnie there at all.

  4. Hey, John B. I hope you don’t mind me posting a comment concerning your recent excursion to The Englishman’s Castle, I would have posted on the thread you were active on but I don’t think anyone is really bothered about reading any more back-and-forth between you and whoever. So I shall proceed:-

    <<Brilliant. Andrew lays out the actual UK self-defence law, and everyone continues to rant about how it doesn’t exist.>>

    That’s not what I saw. What I saw was Andrew (Bartlett) failing to answer Kim’s query as to how he might fare in real life according to the laws that Andrew brought up.

    So after demonstrating how utterly mistaken you are, what else do you have for us? Oh yes, the typical compulsive throwing of insults. It’s nice to know you have come to disagree in a sensible manner.

    And if, as you believe, Kim would be set free forthwith, how do you explain the story in Mike’s post – when it would strike anyone as obvious that it is not appropriate to arrest someone who has been set about by a violent gang of yobs? ‘The law’ does not seem to have averted that, does it?

    Last but not least, there’s your utter rudeness in both declaring that you will not answer a question about the law being upheld, and demanding that the other person should answer your question. If you’re so sure that you’re right and the other fellow is mistaken, then there shouldn’t be any problem with you replying instead of dodging.

    But we both know why you didn’t, don’t we? It’s the same reason Andrew fled. It’s because you’re both full of it, and you know it. We know it, too. That’s the thing about name-calling, ducking questions, and other disingenuous tactics. It’s actually very helpful to people, in that it lets us know that neither you nor your objections have to be taken seriously.

    Keep on keepin’ on,

    The Plague Of Losers

  5. Hey, Andrew. Just out of curiosity, how come you did the ‘hit-and-run’ thing on the thread in question? If you genuinely believe that the law doesn’t actually give anyone cause for concern, surely you should have been able to answer Kim?

  6. "What has been your best blogging experience? > When I started Alice in Texas, hundreds of readers wrote welcoming me to Texas and the US."

    It’s been downhill ever since, presumably.

  7. I did the "’hit-and-run’ thing" as there is an awful lot of misleading argument over the state of British law regarding the right to self defence.

    Why didn’t I answer Kim du Toit? Because his question was nonsense. Yes, he would be released, but if the police came upon a scene where someone had his nose broken, they would interview all the people concerned to make sure that the story Kim gave is the truth. And quite right too, else we create a system where it is open season on people who look a bit dodgy.

    The examples of people who are in jail for ‘self-defence’ include:

    Tony ‘kill the gypsies’ Martin – shooting people in the back as they run away. Not self-defence.

    Carl Lindsay – a drug dealer who stabbed other drug dealers to death as he chased them down an alley after he was confronted at his door.

    And a handful of cases where people have pleaded guilty.

    Now, the latter should’ve been given better legal advice. And you know what that means? Better legal aid for those accused of crimes!

    Do you really want the first two as your poster boys?

    The rest of the stories to hit the headlines disappear without trace. The self-defence/attacker is arrested and bailed, as, without investigation the police should not simply assume that an act of violence is justifiable. And then the case is dropped after interviews and investigation.

    I don’t see the problem here. Oh, the police are too nasty, or the courts are a hostile environment? Then moan about it for all accused people, as they are all innocent until the end of the court case.

  8. Plague of Losers. The question is, as always, why do you believe that the law doesn’t work. Show me the legions of householders locked up for defending themselves. Show me one.

    The answer is, there are none, except a handful who pleaded guilty to what they were charged with. As they did so, we have not heard all the evidence that might have convicted them, only their side of the story.

    You might say that police procedures when responding to burglaries hinder effective policing. And I would say that you might be right, but that is demonstrated by study, not unsupported anecdote. I would be happy to see this study done.

    You might also say that the public perception of the law of self-defence leaves people believing that they are helpless. To which I would say, why do you spend your time propagating the myth that, under law, they are helpless.

  9. Why didn’t I answer Kim du Toit? Because his question was nonsense.

    So when you have the reality pointed out to you that puts the lie to your waffle, you attempt to discredit it as nonsense. Why is this? Because you can’t satisfy people with regards to your in-theory understanding of the law, and you know it. Which is the real reason why you never replied.

    If the law worked as you say, then how do you explain away the case Mark shared with us? Don’t tell me I have to remind you of that. I am going to keep pushing that point, though, as I want to hear your explanation for the massive discrepancy between theory and practice.

    Tony ‘kill the gypsies’ Martin – shooting people in the back as they run away. Not self-defence.

    1) He didn’t shoot Barras as he was running away, as Barras was bent down over a bag at the moment he was shot. This was brought out in court. Why are you repeating this tabloid style lie? Because it helps you paint a picture of Martin as a gun-toting ogre lusting for blood?

    2) I reject your assertion that it was not self-defence, as not only is it based on a misunderstanding, but it also counts as self-defence given that several people have been killed, and severely attacked, in their homes by burglars, as both Fearon and Barras were well capable of doing to Martin. And if you think that Martin’s derogatory statements are relevant in justifying his imprisonment, then you should also concede that his concerns about being killed in his own home are also relevant – as he knew of a friend of his who had been attacked in similar circumstances.

  10. Carl Lindsay – a drug dealer who stabbed other drug dealers to death as he chased them down an alley after he was confronted at his door.

    Oh, Andrew. Why do you not bother to mention that the people who confronted Carl were carrying guns? Dear me. You should learn that the internet is not a place where you can successfully get away with deceit.

    There was a scuffle in the hallway during which Lindsay stabbed Swindells four times in the back.

    A scuffle with four men with guns. And from that, we are supposed to conclude that one of them being stabbed in the back was vengeful, unjustifiable murder, rather than a desperate act in a desperate situation. If I was in that situation, I doubt I would be calm and collected enough to avoid stabbing someone in the back four times.

    Yes, I’m afraid this counts as genuine self-defence too, regardless of whether Carl was a drug-dealer or not. It’s interesting that someone whom I presume holds the attitude that criminals do not deserve to die for their criminal ways thinks that a drug dealer defending himself from other drug dealers is indefensible!

    Other examples of people who were jailed for self-defence include:-

    Mark Barnsley – was attacked by a pack of drunken, drugged-up students after taking exception to one of them saying, ‘I’d like to f**k your baby girl’. Several of the students were wounded with a knife that one of them was carrying, mostly self-inflicted in the struggle, although Mark suffered the most serious wounds. He was also the only one arrested, and served 8 years in prison. Explain that one for me, Andrew.

  11. John Cairns – was out driving when he came across a drunken mob who proceeded to block the road in front of him. One of the drunks climbed up on top of the car and started jumping up and down. John reversed, causing the man to fall off, and while trying to get away from the mob who started to chase the car, he ran over the man, who was paralysed. John was imprisoned for that, although his conviction was overturned on appeal.

    You might think that since his conviction was quashed, he has no legitimate complaint about being imprisoned in the first place. But I would like to hear your explanation for why he was convicted of that in the first place, Andrew.

    You might also say that the public perception of the law of self-defence leaves people believing that they are helpless.

    I don’t say that at all. Hint, when you are conversing with people, it’s best to try to understand what they are saying, rather than railing against this supposed, wrong-headed perception of the law that you think people have. Of course, you will never admit that the problem is the police, CPS and courts, no, it must be with public perception. In actual fact, the issue here is wider than you seem to think, or want to think.

    You seem desperate to pretend that there is not a serious issue here. You seem to be trying to convince yourself, as you’re certainly not convincing anyone else with your dishonest posturing.

    All you have done is bend the evidence and the facts to this self-serving effort to remain ignorant of it. How very admirable.

  12. PoL, you seem to be unable to grasp the idea that in our courts, the outcome is decided by the the presentation of adversarial arguments, and whether the case is proven is decided upon by a jury.

    Now, this leads to innocent people being locked up, and the guilty going free. But in each of these cases, the jury has been convinced of the accused’s guilt or innocence. In each of the cases that you list above, a jury has found that the prosecution has succesfully argued that the accused did not act in self-defence. It might be the case that the jury has made the wrong decision. That is why we have appeals. And that is why we have legal aid.

    What do you propose we do? In each of the cases above there was not only enough evidence to convince the CPS that there was a case to answer, but enough to convince a jury that the accused was guilty. Remember, once self-defence is raised properly by the defence, the prosecution has to prove that the actions were not taken in self-defence.

    So, do you propose that, in cases where the police come upon a scene where a man has been paralysed by a driver, or where five people have been stabbed, that they do not investigate? That they presume that the story of the accused is true and that those injured are lying? That would be a recipe for violence, allowing any person to assault another and claim self-defence. Or perhaps you propose only allowing those of ‘good character’ to adminster violence without oversight, assuming that the ‘chav’, the ‘black’ or the ‘gyppo’, even when the injured party, is the guilty party. No, the police must investigate all cases of serious injury, certainly when an allegation is made. And if the evidence they gather is sufficient for prosecution, in other words, appears to demonstrate that the person causing the injury did not act in self-defence, they must prosecute. There is no other way.

    Now, if in these cases there are incidences of improper procedure, or the jury made a perverse decision, or the judge mishandled the case, then there is a case for appeal, a retrial, even a quashing of the conviction. BUT this is true of ALL trials. There is nothing special here with regard to cases of injury by ‘self-defence’, any more than we should be willing to look at convictions for burglary, murder, rape and, god forbid, peadophilia. That the right has selected just one set of the ‘guilty’ as a focus for their concern demonstrates that they miss the bigger picture.

    This has nothing to do with the laws of self-defence, nothing to do with the trial of ‘self-defence’ cases, per se. The flaws are the flaws in the jury-arbitrated system of adversarial trial. These may be necessary flaws, for the alternatives are systems that have the potential to slip into tyranny.

    AGAIN, it is important to note that the cases you cite are alleged ‘miscarriages of justice’, where the trial was flawed as compared to the standards set out by procedure and law. The right should be demanding that the standard of expertise and practice on the part of the judge, the prosecution and the defence should be raised. Instead, the right adopts a cause celebre and works on the ignorance of the target population.

  13. PoL – some more points:

    Mark Barnsley got screwed over by the courts not because of the law on self-defence, but because he was a convicted anarchist, so the court (quite possibly wrongly) assumed that he started it all and was lying. This says nothing about self-defence law.

    Martin and Lindsay both went down because they killed their attackers/victims *while they were running away* (you may wish to produce some evidence for your belief that Martin’s victim Fred Barras was not running away; it’s not in line with any history of the case I’ve read. And I’ve read many.)

    I don’t have any knowledge of Mike-in-the-comments’ case. If it happened as he described, this is indeed rubbish on the part of the police. If his recollection of the events were – for instance – coloured by alcohol, this could shed a different light on things.

  14. << PoL, you seem to be unable to grasp the idea>>

    Stop your posturing. You don’t have any business talking down to me. Snideness, arrogance, and condescension don’t reflect very well on you – or is the idea to antagonize?

    <<But in each of these cases, the jury has been convinced of the accused’s guilt or innocence. In each of the cases that you list above, a jury has found that the prosecution has succesfully argued that the accused did not act in self-defence.>>

    Actualy, the jury in Martin’s case found him not guilty of wounding Fearon. They did find him guilty of murder after an outcry from the burglars’ families and after the judge ordered them to reconsider. So you can now stop talking about the jury verdicts in these cases as if they were perfect.

    <<What do you propose we do? In each of the cases above there was not only enough evidence to convince the CPS that there was a case to answer>>

    The CPS being made up of people who think that ‘burglars have rights’. As the whole legal establishment does in fact. Again, you are pretending that the CPS are being perfectly professional and objective.

    <<So, do you propose that, in cases where the police come upon a scene where a man has been paralysed by a driver, or where five people have been stabbed, that they do not investigate?>>

    You seem to have skipped from talking about how the courts should proceed to how the police should proceed. And you also ignore the obvious facts that should have lead the police to conclude that it was in fact self-defence. If they seem unable to do this, then why do you maintain that we should continue to have faith in the police to investigate fairly?

  15. <<That they presume that the story of the accused is true and that those injured are lying?>>

    Um, no. They should take notice of the facts of the case – such as the drunken yob climbing up onto a car to jump on its roof, or the students who admitted assaulting a lone man, and yet were not arrested for that assault? The police seem incapable of taking this into account, as do the CPS. So again, why should I have faith in them to be professional?

    <<Or perhaps you propose only allowing those of ‘good character’ to adminster violence without oversight, assuming that the ‘chav’, the ‘black’ or the ‘gyppo’, even when the injured party, is the guilty party.>>

    Ignorant posturing. There are reasons why self-defence is in many, many cases, perfectly obvious, and it has nothing to do with whether one of the parties involved was a member of the menacing underclass. Do you think there’s any doubt as to whether an intruder in one’s home is the guilty party or not? One would think that the purpose of any police investigation was to establish this. How about when a maniac, high on drugs, goes around smashing windows with his arms and head, before breaking down a door and attacking someone?

    I like that you’re still casting anyone who disagrees with you as a fool who can only offer solutions that no-one would think of as sensible, purely to make yourself look good by comparison. What’s this ‘if you don’t take issue with the law as a whole, don’t bother with this one issue’ business? All that tells me is that you really, really don’t want people to complain about this, because you personally find it annoying.

    <<There is nothing special here with regard to cases of injury by ‘self-defence’, any more than we should be willing to look at convictions for burglary, murder, rape and, god forbid, peadophilia.>>

    See, this is the problem right here. You think punching someone who has broken into your house in the face is all of a piece with molesting children. And on the basis of that deeply flawed premise, you think that it is reasonable to prosecute self-defenders as if they were cut from the
    same cloth as common criminals.

    Wrong. A burglar has no pressure on him to act, he chooses to. A murderer has no pressure on him to act, he chooses to. A person defending themself who commits what would be ‘assault’ or ‘murder’ in other contexts IS under pressure to act, but the legal establishment seems to think otherwise. They seem to think they don’t have to take the circumstances of the incident into consideration, that they should consider the self-defender’s act divorced entirely
    from the situation he was responding to. The reason why self-defence is prosecuted is because the wig-wearers don’t understand how self-defence is very different to bashing an elderly person. Moreover, people who think that they need to protect burglar’s rights WON’T try to understand that self-defence ‘crimes’ are of a different nature and
    should be considered differently, as they don’t want to. Like you don’t want to.

    Is that the law working as (you think) it should?

    << Instead, the right adopts a cause celebre and works on the ignorance of the target population.>>

    You were the one who repeated that tabloid canard about Martin(who has been as demonized by the left just as much as he has been ‘lionized’ by the right) shooting Barras while he was running away. I suggest you think twice before making statements about ignorance.

  16. John b -

    <<Martin and Lindsay both went down because they killed their attackers/victims *while they were running away* (you may wish to produce some evidence for your belief that Martin’s victim Fred Barras was not running away; it’s not in line with any history of the case I’ve read. And I’ve read many.)>>

    The Carl Lindsay case is an example of what I mean by regarding the self-defender’s acts entirely divorced from the circumstances. The prosecution being justified in your eyes on the premise that his stabbing a man in the back while under great stress counts for more than the fact that the men he attacked were only moments ago holding him at gunpoint, and very likely going to kill him. That gets ignored so that they can send him down.

    And incidentally, where did the idea that Carl stabbed the dead man while ‘running away’ come from? The other three guys, hoping to get Carl sent down as revenge? How darkly amusing if that were to be the case.

    You ask about evidence of Martin’s home invader not being shot while running away. Check out the <a href"http://www.geocities.com/satpalramisguilty/ram_tony_martin.html>transcript
    of the judgment on Martin’s appeal:-

    "The passage of shot inside Barras’s body was angled at about 45 degrees upwards from the point of entry. It was suggested that this was explicable on the basis that he was bending down to put something in the bag when he was shot."

    "Mr Martin was standing just inside the breakfast room, close to the opening to the hall, and Mr Fearon shone the torch into his face. Mr Martin aimed and fired the shotgun below the torch and the discharge struck Mr Barras in the back… Dr Arnold agreed that this scenario and the positions suggested would accord with the injuries and the damage."

    So if Barras was hit in the back by the first shot Martin fired, and was not therefore ‘running away’, could you please explain the basis for your belief that he was shot while running away? Share with us these ‘case histories’ you have read. It seems very suspicious to me that these reports you mention seem to be supporting the very emotive, tabloid interpretation of the event that you share.

  17. Sorry, you’re right: he shot Barras in the back while he was putting something in a holdall. That makes it all OK, natch.

    Lindsay stabbed the dead man after he’d driven them all out of his flat, and while his mates were fleeing. It’s quite hard to run away while you’re being stabbed with a sword, so I guess you’re right that he wasn’t literally running away either…

    Do you think there’s any doubt as to whether an intruder in one’s home is the guilty party or not?

    I hate the criminal underclass, so I invite various of its members to my house, shoot them in the back, and tell the police they’d broken in & were trying to nick my stuff. Doubts?

    A murderer has no pressure on him to act, he chooses to. A person defending themself who commits what would be ‘assault’ or ‘murder’ in other contexts IS under pressure to act, but the legal establishment seems to think otherwise

    This might be true in Lindsey’s case, but isn’t true for Martin. He was under no self-defence obligation to shoot, harm or kill Barras or Fearon.

    ***

    You might want to reflect on why all the cases you cite feature people who couldn’t really be described as respectable members of society: crack-dealing Lindsey; illegal-shotgun-owning hermit Martin; anarchist ex-terrorist Barnsley.

    My theory would be that – as would be the case for any other crime – the decisions made by the police and by the courts can be shaped by their perception of the characters of the people involved rather than by looking at the case objectively. This is wrong, but isn’t going to be addressed by changing the law (equally, a law change would do nothing about the more general ’round up the usual suspects’ mentality).

  18. You might want to reflect on why all the cases you cite feature people who couldn’t really be described as respectable members of society: crack-dealing Lindsey; illegal-shotgun-owning hermit Martin; anarchist ex-terrorist Barnsley.

    …as if the answer wasn’t obvious: he has to resort to citing extreme and anomalous cases because he knows full well that they’re the only ones available which back up his assertions.

    Indeed, the last time I had an argument with this guy (where I made this point more than once, seemingly to no avail), I didn’t know just how rare it was for householders to be convicted of assaulting intruders – I assumed it was pretty unusual because the same old cases kept being dredged up by the usual suspects, but the actual figure is less than one per year (eleven over fifteen years, applying to domestic and commercial premises alike).

    Which would tend to suggest that the law is working pretty well, whatever the tabloids and the kill-all-intruders lobby would seem to think.

    My theory would be that – as would be the case for any other crime – the decisions made by the police and by the courts can be shaped by their perception of the characters of the people involved rather than by looking at the case objectively.

    Which is where the jury system comes in – it’s designed to weed out such biases by providing a healthy injection of disinterested common sense and healthy scepticism. One would expect it to be exceptionally rare for juries to convict householders defending themselves against intruders (not least thanks to the "there but for the grace of God" principle), and all the relevant statistics seem to bear this out.

    In my own experience as a juror, we spent a huge proportion of our deliberation time assessing the character of the victim, as the assailant pleaded self-defence. I think I can very safely say that if we’d had the slightest suspicion that the self-defence belief was justified – for instance, if the victim had been burgling his house or indeed could be said to have "started it" in any other way – we would have been much more reluctant to reach a guilty verdict.

    As it was, it took us several hours before we all felt confident enough on the basis of the evidence to dismiss the plea and find him guilty.

  19. Just to update the figures I posted earlier today, it seems that the "eleven in fifteen years" figure referred to prosecutions, not convictions, which number a princely five, or one every three years.

    Presumably one of these convictions was Tony Martin. Another was someone who lay in wait for a burglar, trapped him in a pit, and then set him on fire. Does anyone know what the other three did?

    (Caveat: these figures were based on "an informal trawl" through CPS records and are not necessarily definitive – but it’s unlikely they’d have released them if they were massively out of step with reality, given the number of people with a vested interest in proving them wrong!)

  20. <<Sorry, you’re right: he shot Barras in the back while he was putting something in a holdall. That makes it all OK, natch.>>

    It makes Andrew a liar. And it makes any one propounding this emotionalist cobblers look like a fool.

    <<Lindsay stabbed the dead man after he’d driven them all out of his flat, and while his mates were fleeing.>>

    No, Swindells, the man who was stabbed, was stabbed INSIDE the flat, he had not been driven out of the flat at all. This is according to the thisislancashire report, which is the most detailed account. Where have you gotten this ‘stabbed while fleeing’ idea from? Either you are being deliberately ignorant, or you’re flat out lying.

    <<I hate the criminal underclass, so I invite various of its members to my house, shoot them in the back, and tell the police they’d broken in & were trying to nick my stuff. Doubts?>>

    What the hell are you talking about? Do you actually think this is going to happen often enough that the law should remain unchanged so as to guard against it? It doesn’t even count as ‘maybe possibly happen, but will be very rare’. It’s just fantasy.

    <<This might be true in Lindsey’s case, but isn’t true for Martin. He was under no self-defence obligation to shoot, harm or kill Barras or Fearon.>>

    Barras attacked a policeman, and you can imagine what Fearon had gotten up to in the past. The two of them are well capable of killing 50-something men, as has happened to a lot of homeowners. That’s self-defence obligation.

    <<You might want to reflect on why all the cases you cite feature people who couldn’t really be described as respectable members of society: crack-dealing Lindsey; illegal-shotgun-owning hermit Martin; anarchist ex-terrorist Barnsley.>>

    I can cite more cases than that, but please don’t forget that Andrew brought up Lindsay and Martin, not me. He seems to think, quite paradoxically, that if someone would strike the public as unpleasant, they deserve no fair consideration.

    <<My theory would be that – as would be the case for any other crime – the decisions made by the police and by the courts can be shaped by their perception of the characters of the people involved rather than by looking at the case objectively.>>

    Where does ‘we must defend the rights of burglars’ fit into your theory? ‘You must not take the law into your own hands’? ‘Don’t be a have-a-go hero’? No, this is the philosophy that guides such prosecutions – it’s how the mindset of the ‘burglar protectors’ is enforced.

  21. Where have you gotten this ‘stabbed while fleeing’ idea from?

    The article you cite quotes the judge saying "As they fled you stabbed one assailant four times in the back".

    Where does ‘we must defend the rights of burglars’ fit into your theory?

    It doesn’t. No judge believes that; nor does any jury (no matter what your views on juries, they are made out of ‘ordinary people’, who generally aren’t out-of-touch airy-fairy Islington liberals like me).

    ‘You must not take the law into your own hands’? ‘Don’t be a have-a-go hero’? No, this is the philosophy that guides such prosecutions – it’s how the mindset of the ‘burglar protectors’ is enforced.

    Because you say so? Because you can read the minds of judges and juries?

    Please, go ahead and cite a case where someone who wasn’t of disreputable character attacked people who were burgling his home and was convicted in a court of law of assaulting or murdering them. Hell, even make it ‘was charged with’ (although this is subject to more general problems about ‘charging’, in line with my post today about unscrupulous prosecutors).

  22. What’s the problem? If you’re craving the excitement of topping someone in your living room, just go ahead and do it. There’s a risk you’ll be prosecuted, but that’s not a problem because the prisons are like hotels these days anyway, aren’t they?

  23. <<Indeed, the last time I had an argument with this guy (where I made this point more than once, seemingly to no avail), I didn’t know just how rare it was for householders to be convicted of assaulting intruders – I assumed it was pretty unusual because the same old cases kept being dredged up by the usual suspects, but the actual figure is less than one per year (eleven over fifteen years, applying to domestic and commercial premises alike).>>

    You are in fact wrong. The Telegraph investigated that figure, and according to their report, found 7 additional cases in one hour. So the Director of the D.P.P.(the source of the figure you cite) was lying, should have known he was lying…and you got taken in by it, all because of your need to convince yourself that the ‘kill-all-intruders lobby’ are wrong.

    Cases from the article include:-

    David Kent, 47, who was brought before Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after he shot a youth in the leg during a night-time confrontation at Mr Kent’s printing works. He was cleared of wounding with intent in 1996.

    Andrew Robinson, 34, from Birch Vale in Derbyshire, who was given a suspended prison sentence in 1994 after a confrontation with drunken youths he found vandalising his property. Mr Robinson was found guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm.

    Garfield Davenport, 47, a father of five from Cardiff, who, "petrified for his life", stabbed an armed intruder to death. A jury cleared him of murder in 2001.

    http://www.opinion.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/16/nfight16.xml

    <<Which is where the jury system comes in – it’s designed to weed out such biases by providing a healthy injection of disinterested common sense and healthy scepticism. One would expect it to be exceptionally rare for juries to convict householders defending themselves against intruders (not least thanks to the "there but for the grace of God" principle), and all the relevant statistics seem to bear this out.>>

    Shouldn’t the whole of the legal system be concerned with ascertaining that what may seem to be simple assault or wrongful death was in fact self-defence? Instead of leaving it to juries to ensure that the self-defender is cleared of charges that never should have been brought, but were brought because the legal establishment uses such prosecutions as a way of discouraging what they think is ‘taking the law into one’s own hands’.

    <<In my own experience as a juror, we spent a huge proportion of our deliberation time assessing the character of the victim, as the assailant pleaded self-defence. I think I can very safely say that if we’d had the slightest suspicion that the self-defence belief was justified – for instance, if the victim had been burgling his house or indeed could be said to have "started it" in any other way – we would have been much more reluctant to reach a guilty verdict.

    As it was, it took us several hours before we all felt confident enough on the basis of the evidence to dismiss the plea and find him guilty.>>

    Interesting. How much time did you spend considering the crime in question, and whether it may have been self-defence or not? I certainly hope that your verdict wasn’t influenced by the outcome of your deliberations concerning the ‘character of the victim’. To be honest, I’m dubious about your belief that it was worth spending so much time thinking about. It doesn’t strike me as being a likely deciding factor about the truth of what happened. Was it a case of ‘one man’s word against the other’?

    <<(Caveat: these figures were based on "an informal trawl" through CPS records and are not necessarily definitive – but it’s unlikely they’d have released them if they were massively out of step with reality, given the number of people with a vested interest in proving them wrong!)>>

    What vested interest would that be? One could also say that you have a vested interest in proving the ‘kill-all-intruders lobby’ wrong. Such an interest being indicated by your reliance on B.S. information, and your tendency to portray people who disagree with you as being unhinged, untrustworthy, and dangerous.

  24. <<The article you cite quotes the judge saying "As they fled you stabbed one assailant four times in the back".>>

    Selective quoting. The article informs us that Swindells was stabbed during a scuffle in the hallway. Why so eager to take the judge’s word? Judges being the kind of people who free burglars because they write poetry. You’re a fool to take anything they say so seriously.

    <<Because you say so? Because you can read the minds of judges and juries?>>

    No, because making statements about not taking the law into your own hands goes hand in hand with prosecuting people who do so as the law sees it, but were in fact defending their lives. It would be pretty strange if the law said one thing and did another, wouldn’t it?

    <<It doesn’t. No judge believes that; nor does any jury>>

    Judges and juries are not the only people involved in prosecutions.

  25. What, so I should trust local journalists over judges on the details of legal cases???

    Re Telegraph article: Brett Osborn wasn’t guilty of murder or manslaughter, wouldn’t have been convicted of either, and his lawyer should be shot for suggesting the plea bargain. Same for Garfield Davenport, who had the wit to plead not guilty. In both cases I’d agree with you that the prosecutors are appalling and should be sacked forthwith.

    Meanwhile, David Kent wasn’t in his home; Glen Kinch wasn’t in his home or tackling a suspected burglar; Andrew Robinson wasn’t in his home or tackling a suspected burglar; Kenneth Hall wasn’t in his home or tackling a suspected burglar. They all attacked people in response to simple property crimes that weren’t home invasion and did not represent a threat to anything other than their stuff.

    BTW, please don’t use wanky euphemisms like B.S. on my website; either swear properly or don’t swear at all.

  26. <I>Interesting. How much time did you spend considering the crime in question, and whether it may have been self-defence or not?</I>

    Virtually all of it, since this was the main plank of the defence!

    <I>I certainly hope that your verdict wasn’t influenced by the outcome of your deliberations concerning the ‘character of the victim’. </I>

    Obviously, we made sure that everything matched the evidence, but for reasons given below the character of the participants (not just the victim) unavoidably became a crucial factor in reaching a verdict.

    <I>To be honest, I’m dubious about your belief that it was worth spending so much time thinking about. It doesn’t strike me as being a likely deciding factor about the truth of what happened. Was it a case of ‘one man’s word against the other’?</I>

    For obvious reasons, I can’t go into too much detail, but the main point is that we were dealing with the "why" rather than the "what" or "how". There was never any doubt about the physical facts of the case – there was more than enough medical evidence, witness statements and even CCTV footage to provide a completely convincing picture of who did what to whom, so our job was to establish a motive, both in terms of assessing whether the self-defence plea stood up in the first place, and on whether the defendant specifically intended to cause the injuries that he did.

    In these circumstances, it would have been impossible to reach a fair verdict without taking the character of the participants into account (assessed via their reported behaviour at the time, character witness testimony and their performance in court under cross-examination), since these were effectively the only elements of the case that were still open to discussion. Realistically, how could we have done it any other way?

  27. <<Re Telegraph article: Brett Osborn wasn’t guilty of murder or manslaughter, wouldn’t have been convicted of either, and his lawyer should be shot for suggesting the plea bargain. Same for Garfield Davenport, who had the wit to plead not guilty. In both cases I’d agree with you that the prosecutors are appalling and should be sacked forthwith.>>

    And, the CPS, which amongst other things, decided that it would be appropriate to bring charges of murder against Osborn? What should be done about them?

    <<Meanwhile, David Kent wasn’t in his home; Glen Kinch wasn’t in his home or tackling a suspected burglar; Andrew Robinson wasn’t in his home or tackling a suspected burglar; Kenneth Hall wasn’t in his home or tackling a suspected burglar. They all attacked people in response to simple property crimes that weren’t home invasion and did not represent a threat to anything other than their stuff.>>

    It doesn’t matter when it was in their home or not, and each of them were faced with a threat to themselves, not just their ‘stuff’.

  28. And, the CPS, which amongst other things, decided that it would be appropriate to bring charges of murder against Osborn? What should be done about them?

    "In both cases I’d agree with you that the prosecutors are appalling and should be sacked forthwith." Reading isn’t just a town in Berkshire.

    It doesn’t matter when it was in their home or not, and each of them were faced with a threat to themselves, not just their ‘stuff’.

    We were talking about the law on burglary (or Andrew and I were; I have no idea what the hell you were talking about) & assertions don’t equal facts. In the wise words of Evil Vampire Willow, "bored now".

  29. EuroLooser wrote:-

    Oh I see, you want the right to kill people in public now, too…

    Awww, are you upset that rapists, muggers, and thugs might be get hurt or killed by the next person they try to rape, mug, or knife? Sick boy.

    John B wrote:-

    assertions (about threats to the person) don’t equal facts.

    So you think there is no risk of harm in confronting thieves, do you? Sorry, there is, that’s a fact, not an assertion. If you think otherwise, why not try to arrange such a situation for yourself, and put your beliefs to the test? Put your money where your mouth is, John.

  30. Oh please, that’s a really desparate excuse for an ad-hominem attack. You really should try harder – if you’re going to put words into my mouth, at least have me saying something plausable.

    As I said before, if you really need to kill someone, go for it. You can do that if you want. In fact, if it was a case of you-or-them, I’d say ‘good on you’, as would any normal person.

    But don’t go expecting the rest of us to immediately, unquestioningly assume your version of the events is the truth. Let us see the evidence before jumping to conclusions about who-did-what-to-whom.

    I really can’t see how anyone normal can have such a problem with such a simple idea.

  31. European Loser said:-

    I’m going to launch ad-hominem attacks on you and insinuate that you really only want to kill someone, and when my target responds in kind by wondering about how I feel about scumbags and psychos who really want to kill people, such as the gang who tried to drown the woman they just raped, I’m going to act as if they are being desperately stupid and not me. This is because I have no answers, so I’m just going to resort to being smug in the hope that idiots will mistake smugness for superiority.

  32. I’m just trying to establish what it is you actually think needs to be done. Michael actually asked this directly earlier on in the thread. Do you mean that the chance of being wrongfully convicted would stop you going to the assistance of someone who’s being raped?

  33. Oh, now you’re going to try to make people think you’re a sensible person. Sorry, it’s a bit late, and I suspect that if I engage your arguments you’ll just go back to flinging ad hominems at me, so I’m not going to bother, loser boy.

  34. So you think there is no risk of harm in confronting thieves, do you? Sorry, there is, that’s a fact, not an assertion. If you think otherwise, why not try to arrange such a situation for yourself, and put your beliefs to the test

    No, cos if I arranged the situation then I’d be guilty: see Malnick (1989 – Crim LR 451).

Comments are closed.