Crime: a contempt for justice

by Richard North

Note: My only experience so far of the criminal justice system was when, in 2007, I tried to lie my way out of a speeding fine. Within the assumptions of the system – ie, bearing in mind that I was guilty as charged – I think the Magistrates treated me rather well. A £300 fine, plus three points, was less than I might have got. Also, the whole experience was a very useful lesson. I was an intelligent, highly literate and fluent middle class white male, with a legal education and some experience of arguing cases in the civil courts. The absolute maximum penalty I might collect was a £1000 fine and six points on my licence. I still did a little leak into my pinstripe trousers as I recited the oath. How must a criminal prosecution feel for those without my advantages?

The bias to the defendant that used to be the most striking feature of our system is an absolute prerequisite for justice. Making defendants liable for their own legal costs is another step into our plutocratic police state. I grant there are arguments against any kind of legal aid, civil or criminal. But these apply in a state of society different from our own. When virtually everything is against the law, or can be pronounced against the law by the authorities, and when individuals within the criminal justice system cannot be held personally liable for corruption or oppressive behaviour, and when legal services are so heavily regulated and cartellised, not to underwrite defence costs is an attack on justice. SIG

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Autonomous Mind
weighs into the debate with a piece about the selectivity of the police in defining the crimes they investigate.

In the corporate worlds of modern police forces, it is no longer Parliament which decides what is and what is not a crime. Rather, chief constables and their minions decide between them what is a “priority” crime category – i.e., that which they are prepared to investigates.

One finds that, if the crime is not on the priority list, as defined, then it will be ignored. And the lesson for the criminal fraternity – which includes a large number of local government officers – is that as long as you confine yourselves to “non-priority” crime, you are above the law.

What is also beginning to emerge is the sinister effect of legal aid cuts. Where most people accused of a criminal offence used to have their legal fees paid by the state, that list is now shrinking to vanishing point.

Malicious police, aware of this, can lay spurious or exaggerated charges, in the certain knowledge that they are forcing their victims to gamble thousands of pounds on a skewed court system, in order to prove their innocence.

Small wonder, many take the easy way out and plead guilty in order to reduce their risk of being on the wrong end of court fees, far in excess of any potential fine or other penalty.

In terms of weight of penalties imposed, it seems that the greatest crime of all is to seek to defend yourself against accusations from the state. Win or lose, your defence will invariable cost more that the fine imposed if you lose – and then your penalty is increased because you had the temerity to attempt a defence.

Even to partake in the “justice” process requires of the individual the completion of a highly intrusive “means” form, failure to complete which is not only a criminal offence but legitimises the system to impose the maximum scale of financial penalties and costs.

You can actually see why Booker is complaining about the court system, but his complaints are only the half of it. The system across the board is unfit for purpose and terminally corrupt.

What these people do not seem to realise is that an efficient and fair justice system is the safety valve of society. Screwing down the valve can only ever lead to trouble, yet they seem unaware of what they are doing. In the nature of things, it is only a matter of time before they find out.


8 responses to “Crime: a contempt for justice

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  2. Nick diPerna

    Mr Gabb.
    I was an unintelligent, not very literate or fluent working class white male, with little education and no experience of arguing cases in the civil courts – but I thought I stood up to them rather well – I was in more trouble than you can imagine.

    I can articulate myself much better now, but you’ve made me realise I’ve got sociopathic tendencies. As the only people who can exhibit my previous behaviour are those without feelings ;-).

  3. A friend of mine (who now lives in Ulster) was almost driven man (and I mean mad – always driven to insanity), by the English legal process.

    It was not just the absurdity of the claims made against him, or even the dishonesty of some police officers – it was the irrational nature of the system.

    it is all very well to talk vaguely about the “evolution of the legal system”- but that is no good for someone caught up in the coils of this snake.

    They seek clarity (and they get confusion and double talk), they seek clear principles (and get random interventions).

    Dr Gabb might argue that the Common Law, if left to itself (to the judgements of judges) is O.K. – that it is all these mad statutes (the cult of Parliament – Maitland and co) that are the problem

    That may be true – but I have my doubts.

    The great judges did not get their judgements from thin air (still less from some disembodied evolution) they reasoned from principles (even if that is not the way they expressed themselves – the Common Law way of expressing oneself being always starting with the case and reasoning upwards towards the principle,).

    I doubt modern judges have good principles.

    Partly, perhaps, because the left have so demonised good principles of jurisprudence as “capitalist ideology”.

  4. If we only knew the half of it we’d probably go insane. Here’s another;only slightly off topic but still about the’system’

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  6. The problme with a powerful state is that, to justify its taxation-heists, it has to “deliver results”.

    This more and more often means “find people guilty” – as this shows that “the police are doing things”.

    The solution is to demolish most – in fact nearly all of – the state.

    Unfortunately, the state has all the guns.

  7. David,I agree. The problem is figuring out where the state,as in the Political State, ends and where civil society(our freedom) begins.The state’s reach in its politicization of society stretches to the point of destroying it. To demolish as you suggest, implies radical and immediate action which wouldn’t bode well for a peaceful transition back to freedom.To unravel the tangles of the state piecemeal would take forever. So what’s the answer? I ask myself. I come to the pessimistic conclusion that it is too late, they have won. If I had the money,which I don’t have, (due to successive governments spending our money on silly things and now behaving like dodgy money lenders to claw it back) I’d be out of here.

  8. Here the state has almost all the firearms David – here.

    But not everywhere.