The idea of victims' justice is something which civilised societies rightly abhor. Uncle Sam, of course, with his Bible-thumping barbarism, is uncivilised, along with China, the Indian sub-continent, parts of Africa, parts of the former USSR and countless other states, notably in the Middle East, where the state or the theocracy casts itself as the victim of all crimes and extracts a deadly and wretched compensation from offenders - or those said to be offenders by proper offenders, generally men, often holy men, utter bastards, in other words.
Victims' justice belongs far in the past, along with the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama, proper societies have a system of blind, impersonalised justice, detached from the offence but connected to the society in which it occurred and driven by considerations other than solely vengeance; how else can it work? Unless we are prepared to condone one crime leading to another, probably worse; to condone a fatal escalation of inter-citizen violence as burglary leads to murder and murder leads to torture and murder, unless we want blood and limbs flowing in the streets we must consign the dispensation of justice to professionals, with whom we will often disagree. Because they are all bastards, too.
The selective abolition of the Double Jeopardy rule was one of NewLabour's darker achievements and we see that controlling impetus everywhere, now, in politics; the Irish Referendum on Europe is a fine example of state - or pan-state - lawlessness, you keep on voting until you give us the answer we want or, as in this case, we keep on trying you until we get a conviction, it is one of those slippery slopes beloved of NewLab bullyboy, Jack Torture, simpering learnedly, the rotten fucking bastard, about human rights whilst extending the rights of the state over the citizen; as Foreign Seckatry Straw lied his face off to the United Nations, in order that his masters in Washington might bomb the beJasus out of innocent Iraqi children; today, in the light of the Lawrence verdict, this monster will be toasting himself, even more than usual. It is better that a thousand guilty go free than that one innocent be incarcerated or executed and fuck DNA evidence and fuck scientific advance and fuck clozeya for victims' families. The ability to try and re-try is the work of the Devil which we shall all come to regret, all of us, that is, save the lawmakers and their agents, who, as we know, are far beyond the reach of the laws they visit upon the rest of us.
Another NewLabour solecism - along with the creation of Holocaust Day - was the idea that killing some people was worse than killing other people; that, if you killed a ginger person you should get a sterner bollocking off the likes of Coleman Treacey than you would if you just killed someone who was, say, brown haired. And so now we have gingerly-aggravated killing, unless, of course, at the earliest opportunity you express remorse for hating ginger bastards. Once upon a time, killing anybody was bad shit, but now if you kill some bastard because you don't like him, well, as we see, hanging's too good for you. A black person, you see, or a gay person, is uniquely, when killed, more dead than a non-black or non-gay person. ( I wonder, in passing, if, had Steven been killed by a Yardie and his killing effectively overlooked by the Met, would we be banging-on about it nearly twenty years later, would it be less of a tragedy, less of an outrage? Where does the racism really lie in this?) Now, if I was a white, straight person, I'd take serious exception to this shit because what it means is that if someone is sat at home thinking about killing someone else he is very likely to think, Fuck me, I wanna kill some bastard so bad, I wanna knife him and kick him and set fire to him, maybe not knife him, because that carries a bigger sentence, and certainly not shoot him because they'll throw the fucking book at me and it better not be a black person or a brown person or any kinda coloured gay person, or a Muslim or Scotchperson; the bastard'd certainly better not be studying for A levels or we'll never hear the end of it. Who does that leave me, then, to murder? I'll just have to find someone who's not now and never has been a member of any minority group whatsoever, because that'd be HateCrime. And all I wanna do is murder some bastard.
Now, the individuals convicted for the murder of BrightAlevelStudentStevenLawrence do present as pretty unpleasant and despite the botched evidence of the Met's scientific teams, the jury felt that they were guilty of a terrible deed, spontaneous, although apparently in character; a couple of knife thrusts and a shared jubilation. And now, for some, the state's retribution - those calling, incidentally, for a longer sentence have clearly never spent a week-end in the cells, have no concept of what fifteen years' incarceration means. I am no armchair jurist and I don't know - beyond a gut feeling of "probably" - the truth of the matter. And if I blame anybody, I blame the parents. And, of course, their parents. There's no shortage of people to blame. Just as long as we don't blame our representatives in MediaMinster.
But I do know that criminal trials are not, or should not be held to burnish, belatedly, the reputation of a palpably corrupt police force, to vindicate the drunken, amoral splutterings of the wretched, anti-democrat Paul Dacre of the Daily FilthMail, nor should they be held to bring clozeya to Mrs Lawrence, people who speak in such terminology betray not their compassion but their imbecility. Mrs Lawrence is a true vexation to the spirit, for one can be sure that before her personal loss she discounted all the police wickedness visited upon other, less "bright" black boys; her son, doing A levels, wasn't he actually gonna be an architect, almost a proper white man. Nothing that happens, in or out of the criminal justice system will bring clozeya to Mrs Lawrence. Nothing except Forgiveness. But she is clearly an unforgiving woman and her wretchedness will yet sell many more newspapers as anniversaries roll around and - in the distant future - parole applications are heard. I am doing a life sentence she will howl; yes, she is and only she can free herself; although we know that Grief's celebrity-noire is a tenacious monkey on the back of the unwary - once there saddled by skymadeupnewsandfilth, he is hard to unseat. Here Mrs Old Lady, here's a coupla hundred quid, tell us, tell our readers, how much you hate Ian Brady and Myra Hindley for killing your son; thanks, love, seeya next year.
But the trial wasn't about Mrs Lawrence - but don't tell her that - it was about an act of random, racially inspired murder, like the one of an Indian student, just committed in Manchester - undeterred, you see, by the great efforts made by our masters, hatred stalks us, still; and who knows when others of similar mind to the Lawrence killers may strike again, maybe in solidarity with their jailed comrades.
Mr Justice Coleman Cuckold Treacey is a man made mean by his disappointments and we may be sure that he has dished out as much prison as he could, consistent with the career implications of a high profile case such as this and few will complain that he was over-harsh although, as we see, some are of the view that hanging's too good for 'em, life should mean life and so on. There may be room for another court to give them an extra year or two - even though Treacey's doses of porridge are just a minimum, the Parole Board and Home Seckatries are well-attuned to the public mood in such cases and these two should not hold their breath, awaiting release on the dates specified by the Court, they could well spend their lives in prison.
The institutionalised villains of the piece of course are feasting, too, along with the drunken bum, Dacre, along with every half-witted race relations activist and with every veneer-scratched Guardian-reading fascist in the land.
DAC Clarissa Gob was good, nice mixture of smug satisfaction and regret that it had taken so long for her mob to do the decent thing; Clarissa, it was, who masterminded the emptying of a magazine into the head of poor young JeanCharles de Menendes, before he was swiftly slandered by Sir now Lord Ian Blair, then Commissioner of the Filth; unlike the unfortunates sentenced yesterday, Clarissa was immediately promoted, it's how they do things in the police. And all, the entire revolting Gabshites Chorus, have been singing the praises - although they didn't at the time - of the MacPherson Report, as though the images of women being dragged around the cells by their hair, batoned in the face by psychobastard coppers-without-numbers and of Ian Tomlinson being killed, right before the eyes of the world and his killer being cynically protected by the entire law enforcement system had been apparitions, visible only to the sceptical, the naysayers. visible only to those who say that all lawyers are scum, all politicians are shit-eating hypocrites, all journalists are filth and - l'axiom des toutes axiomes - all coppers are bastards. That some cops have been dragooned into prosecuting their spiritual homies does not alter the fact that those who, at the time, protected the killers, will have been, what's that phrase, in FilthSpeak, allowed to retire early, on health grounds
The feasting, therefore, friends, the Feast of Stephen, is of thin gruel, bread and circuses, a good, self-righteous, tub-thumping, self-writing New Year's story to gladden the hearts and divert the attentions of the braindead.
The final word should go to the Met's chief sociopath, wotsisname, Baden Powell, Hogan Powell, who knows, so rotten is the barrel from which their bosses emerge that even the most blatantly criminal organisation in the country can't seem to keep hold of one of them for more than five minutes.
Those involved in the killing of young wotsisname, the black lad, they shouldn't sleep easily in their beds. Those involved over the past decade in the killings of three hundred and fifty people in their custody - ie us - we can sleep as soundly as we like.
Always remember, there is only a thin but excessively well-armed blue line protecting you from an outbreak of complete Decency.
Had poor Ian Tomlinson been black Madame Dick would herself be doing time.
Seems "a member of the public" has petitioned the Attorney General to consider whether the sentences were too lenient and that Office now 28 days to consider the request.
I was unfamiliar with that procedure but might this member of the public submit a similar petition re our convicted corrupt politicians?
Bread and circuses, indeed, Mr. Ish. All fine theatre for these righteous end of days. If only Ms Abbot hadn't butted in and spoiled the gloss on multicultural harmonics. A boy is dead. The police screwed up. The law has been changed for the worse. Everyone's a loser except those who make a healthy living from insisting that race is the primary defining category of our society, a view shared by Nick Griffin and Trevor Philips, the latter probably with greater ardency.
This case reeks of political correctness.
The "forensic evidence" was so tainted that the case should have been thrown out.
Clearly, the accused are not "nice", but fitting them up and banging them up for life stinks.
As you say, Mr I, if the killers were black - who knows, they may have been - then this case would never have surfaced.
It is the routine stupidity that should concern us. Jeez, some many decades ago some clever bugger built the Royal Courts of Justice. Right on the top thereof he put a statue of a lady wearing a blindfold - scales in one hand and a sword in the other. Or is it the Old Bailey? I do not know. Anyway, the point is clear. Have we now become too stupid to understand that? I fear that we have. Victims' statements - my arse. That these two bastards are worthless scum is beyond question. That they need a good kicking is beyond question. That they are not very bright, have not been very well served by their parents, that we would be best starting over - all of these things are true but do you know, a decade or so in Dartmoor will do them little good. And I do not give a shit that the poor Lawrence lad was black. If he hadn't have been, he'd have been a something else, a "kike" or a "spic" or, heaven forfend, a bewhiskered Guinness wog of a "paddy". Any figure of hate will do for an arsehole to have a stab at. I do thought think that we have to have some sort of vengeance/deterrent for violent crime. What else is there? The 1950's Homicide Act was a decent start, was it not? Let's stop topping all but for the most egregious acts and bastards. We could do that now for the "life" business.
OTOH so many vile murder/suicides over the holiday BTW. And that mad nonsense in the USA where a lady rings the cops to ask if she can shoot an intruder and then shoots him twenty minutes later after he has successfully made his way in! How long does it take a copper to get somewhere? Jesus, what a fucking hell hole of a country.
The police screwed up.
Increasingly disputed, Mr PTB. Anna Raccoon points out that since the police identified, arrested and got what evidence they could within two weeks, that's not bad going when there is no connection between the victim and the attacker(s).
The forensic evidence was then wrongly handled but now some people are claiming that it was done reliably enough. (I'm not one of them.) At the time, the CPS were right to advise holding off since if you can't win, don't risk losing the fight. Wait. Something might turn up. Could be corruption, but then again, it might just be good legal advice when the evidence is weak.
What I want to highlight is that the major constitutional change was wrought because the Lawrences insisted on launching a private criminal prosecution as a PR event.
They got what this strategy is designed to achieve: massive publicity and an enquiry, but at the cost of foregoing another trial since the double jeopardy rules were brought in to play by their choice. Michael Mansfield QC is not an idiot. He will have warned them of this. (Cover My Arse Act, year dot). A senior CPS official pointed out in 1998 that the action of the Lawrences had destroyed any chance of a prosecution, but at that time he could not know that the rules were about to change.
There it should have rested. The Lawrences had their day in court and at an enquiry, the accused were trashed right across the press although the case against them failed. It's victims' justice; the rule is you can have your vengance but the form might vary. The case was recorded in the text-books and on the growing web.
Public sentiment was then roused to enable the Labour government to remove a shield, a limiter on its actions, which no Conservative government could ever have hoped to achieve. Turkeys voted for Christmas.
I doubt very much Mansfield ever thought that he would be instrumental in creating the conditions where the double jeopardy rules would be removed, or that he set out to do this. It is the opposite of all he has ever espoused. But that is exactly what has happened. Oddly, he doesn't seem to have commented on this aspect.
Unlike Mr Ishmael, I don't have as much of a problem with victims' justice. If a justice system doesn't deliver for victims in general (it will fail in some cases) we are going down the vendetta road anyway. But it needs to be understood that victims have to take their justice in what ever form it comes.
The Lawrences had their justice the day McPherson completed his report, during which the accused were forced to testify in a procedure only just short of laying them under a board and putting stones on it.
Now the Lawrences have asked for, and received, a double-helping of victims' justice. That's wrong.
Thought you might like (ok, tolerate) the comment by Michael Mansfield QC. He has studiously not addressed the key point about his role in dismantling a fundamental protection for the citizen against the state.
Michael Mansfield QC, who represented the Lawrence family in a 1995 private prosecution
I know there will be those who will be wanting heavier sentences or expecting heavier sentences, as the judge himself said.
Actually, they have been sentenced to a life sentence, so what we are talking about is minimums here. In terms of a minimum, obviously there'll be nothing off that - they'll have to do that, they'll have to do the 15 and the 14 [years] - and then the parole board will consider them.
In this particular case, given the nature of the original offence, given their own denial throughout, given the surveillance video which showed a deep-seated hatred, bigotry and violence, it seems to me a parole board will take very great care before releasing these two onto the streets of any city anywhere in the world.
So I think people should be reassured. Otherwise we are getting back into a situation where it becomes pure retribution, and I think sentencing shouldn't be that.
Alas, there`ll be no justice for the likes of Straw and Dacre, just peerages; all we can do is hope that their greasy collars are felt by Satan`s Constable sometime soon.
I remember Rosa Klebb getting her promotion after the state murder of that Brazilian guy: breathtaking, chilling, official insolence. She`ll probably end up Commissioner. And Tomlinson`s murderer is lying safely in his bed, on full pay and it`s probably where he`ll die of old age before they get round to trying the fucker.
It wouldn`t surprise me to see a few more incidents like that in this Olympic year. Not only the Met but there`ll be a full division of troops, Typhoons cartwheeling over the stadium, surface to air missiles and Christ knows what else. No doubt there`ll be an army of private security goons; most of whom will turn out to be either illegal immigrants or veterans of the nonce wing.
Recall that charming incident with the Olympic Torch, Met and Chinese goons combining to duff protesters up and shove people around in Downing Street ? Well, expect more of that when the foreign athletes and heads of state arrive. Every finger nail yanking rubber truncheon merchant from Putin`s SMERSH to the Chinese Order of the Electrified Bollocks will be swarming over London like flies round a cow`s arse. And hundreds of FBI and CIA bringing the same hearts and minds approach that they did to Baghdad.
Dunno about the sport but it promises to be a world class cunt festival.
I stand corrected, Mrs WOAR, and have obviously been lulled into accepting the Lawrence bandwagon's version of what transpired (not necessarily the family themselves who might be excused on the grounds of grief).
Those scales Blind Lady Justice bears get very unbalanced, though, when double jeopardy falls by the wayside. If at first you don't succeed....
Not so hasty, mr ptb, in self correction.
My recollection is that the Acourt family were well connected to some seniorish filth on their manor and blind eyes were turned. It is my own certain knowledge that such alliances existed, flourished, in the criminal - ie villains, cops and lawyers - community in the West Midlands and anyone who can read must know that the Met, then as now, are only peripherally interested in catching crooks and much more interested in feathering their own nests. Or securing strategically necessary freebies in health farms, for the good of the Force, like that last fucker.
I would treat Ms Racoon's assessment of historical events, therefore, with a modicum of scepticism, indeed, not before Hell froze over would I accept that in the Lawrence case the police have ever acted properly.
I find myself in almost total agreement Mr Ishmael. One of the Reign of Imbecility's most egregious moves was to dispense with the protection of double jeopardy. 'In only the most severe cases you understand... like murder...' Or Nick Griffin attracting too many working class votes in Labour constituencies. Aye. we'll need to use double jeopardy on that too. Very serious you know.
The wicked and malicious cunts - packed as the Commons is with lawyers - would know that double jeopardy was there precisely to limit the state with its bottomless resources from tying up 'inconvenient' people with endless litigation. I want to see Jack Straw and Blair tried, re-tried and re-tried until their dying day over their Iraq war and their torture flights. Give the fuckers a taste of their own medicine.
As to there being no vengeance element to justice I must disagree. Just as you would happily exact revenge upon the incompetent, wilfully arrogant fuckwits who actively destroyed the UK economy then I would see the likes of Stephen Lawrences' killers strung up with a song in my heart. The only reason I would stay my hand or vote against capital punishment is the sure and certain knowledge that plod and the government would be fitting up 'inconvenient' folk for all sorts of things just to get them removed from the field and it's no good finding out in ten years time that you'd hung the wrong guy. Even if you then hang the 'right' guy. At least you can release the wrong guy from prison with some compensation and a judicial 'Sorry'.
As to this notion that black and gay people (and policemen) are somehow more 'special' than me. They can fuck off.
I am at a loss to understand how a predominantly straight, white HoC could vote for such a fucking ridiculous notion. The very next white person who is convicted of murdering a white person should be given an extra couple of years 'for killing a white person'.
What a load of fucking shit. Shoot some poor post-mistress in the face just because you want a couple of hundred quid and somehow, legally, that's perfectly understandable and you'll get 12 years. Shoot some black bloke for no other reason than he's black and that is somehow 'worse' and deserving of an extra two years? Oh do fuck off.
If the wicked and malicious fuckers were actively trying to instigate racial tension they couldn't do a better job.
I seem to remember a slightly drunken conversation ages ago where it was explained to me that Ze Neue Craddle of Ze Neue Democracy, that calls itself Sing-a-poor these days, likes to tie stupid opponents of a Neue Ordnung und Bliss into never ever never - ending trials until the poor cunt is either mentally broke, bankrupt, or fired. In case you were wondering about whys and so on.
The investigation was confused, bungling, and possibly leaned on, but it is instructive that Macpherson's report doesn't begin with a timeline.
As Anna Raccoon points out, the dates hit very hard.
The stabbing was on 22 April and by 28 April the police had the main suspects under surveillance.
The Acourts were feared and disliked; one of the difficulties at this point must have been sorting out genuine tip-offs from those with a score to settle.
By May 4 (day 12) the Lawrences had an interesting group of people around them, almost as if they had been looking for a case. The police were accused of not doing enough, but they could hardly announce that they were doing surveillance.
By May 10 (day 18) all four main suspects had been arrested, Neil Acourt being charged with murder on May 13. Additionally, Luke Knight was charged with murder on 23 June.
That's not a bad timeline, not if you are concerned about arrests and cases being brought on evidence. If somebody was supposed to be leaning on the police, they hadn't done a very good job of it and then had to resort to trying to mess-up the evidence. It is suspicious that cards, bundles etc went missing.
July 29, charges dropped against Knight and Acourt. Fix, or realistic legal advice given that if you don't yet have evidence, the best bet is to keep investigating, keep interviewing, until you have some.
What followed was that the colour of the victim was supposed to explain the police failure to nail down the case.
But the police were busy making a bog of other cases, such as the 1992 Rachell Nickell murder which led them down a path of intrigue in 1993, while they had already missed their chance to stop the real killer, Robert Napper. Yet the fact that Rachel was killed because she was female, and the investigation was bungled, didn't lead to a report on institutional sexism in the police.
That's because it wasn't an 'ism', it was just a rubbish job, aggravated by the public pressure to find someone.
In the Lawrence case there may have had an additional layer of corruption whereby the defendants tried to intervene, but that was only a small part of the subsequent investigation - although it was the important one.
There's a reason for that. It would have been inconvenent to the characters surrounding the Lawrences and Mike Mansfield to find police corruption. They didn't want to find individual officers and prosecute them: they wanted to find that the whole police force was institutionally racist so that no officer, no matter how exemplary, could avoid it.
In 1995 when headteacher Philip Lawrence was stabbed by Learco Chindamo, it was not considered that Lawrence was stabbed for being white, although that played a part. Chindamo was an equal opportunities stabber. And so were the others.
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