Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Oh, You Might Regret Asking That...

Mr Temple then urged the jury to use their “common sense and knowledge of life” to decide whether Mr Quamina had been acting lawfully while defending his home.
Hmmm, let's see - three thugs break into a house while the householder is alone, armed with a hand gun and a steering lock.

He turns the tables on them (despite being twice their age) by hurling objects at them, disarming them, and walks into the kitchen, selects two knives and goes back into the hallway to find they haven't fled.

He then - outnumbered three to one, remember - fatally injures one Mr Nelson and another (unnamed so far) man in a fight lasting all of thirty seconds?

Well, I don't need to hear any more. And I suspect the jury won't, either.

Update: They didn't. The CPS are now in full retreat:
In a statement, the CPS said it was "proper" for a jury to consider the evidence and whether Mr Quamina had "exceeded reasonable self-defence".

"We based this decision on the fact that one intruder had been killed and another had been stabbed in the back.

"The jury accepted that he was acting in self-defence and found that he had used a reasonable level of force. We respect their decision."

19 comments:

Macheath said...

Prosecution barrister, Mr Temple QC, said: “The crown say this is a cold blooded attack on persons unarmed”

That is 'unarmed' in the sense of having let go of their handgun and metal bar when their victim pulled some boxes over on them. And anyway, if Mr Quamina was 'cold blooded' in that situation he should be under investigation by medical experts rather than a court of law.

How do barristers sleep at night?

Uncle Marvo said...

Bloody Hell - a talking crown.

Whatever next?

Duty to the crown, my ringpiece. Fucking euphemistic hangers-on.

Jiks said...

I just love the spin in the Guardian article ... the headline makes their view pretty clear "Court hears how 'burglar' was murdered by homeowner."

So its no question its a murder but the reason for the gun and steering lock wielding loons breaking & entering the defendants house could have been to perform some flower arranging for all we know...

TDK said...

And I suspect the jury won't, either.

The reason that capital punishment was removed for common offences, in the C19, was because juries were bringing on "peverse verdicts". It is thought that juries weighed up the likely punishment against the seriousness of the offence and if thought too severe, would bring in a not guilty verdict regardless of the evidence. Apparently conviction rates rose once more minor offences lost the death penalty.

It's rather surprising that this doesn't appear to happen more frequently today. Say in the Hussain family case. The only case I am aware of is the Greenpeace Kingsnorth case.

English Viking said...

Give him a medal. And a gun.

Chalcedon said...

Foreman of the jury, what is the decision of the jury?

NOT GUILTY, Your honour!

That's what it should be. He disarmed 3 thugs and then had another fight. Were they utter morons? If so and it sounds like it he has done the gene pool a service

John R said...

@Macheath

"How do barristers sleep at night?"

They don't, bloodsucking ghouls don't need to.

If we rid the world of lawyers I'm sure life would be much better for everyone.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

The jury would be neglectful of their duties if they merely said 'Not Guilty'. They should also demand the immediate execution of the prosection.

CJ Nerd said...

Well, the jury had their heads screwed on:
http://tinyurl.com/yjglcea

staybryte said...

What John R said. A pox on lawyers.

JuliaM said...

"How do barristers sleep at night?"

What's that line from 'The Simpsons'?

Oh, right: 'On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.'

"So its no question its a murder but the reason for the gun and steering lock wielding loons breaking & entering the defendants house could have been to perform some flower arranging for all we know..."

Overly enthusiastic Avon sales team..? ;)

"It's rather surprising that this doesn't appear to happen more frequently today."

Check the update. It might now start to... ;)

"They should also demand the immediate execution of the prosection."

Heh! I'd like to be in court to see that...

Roue le Jour said...

I notice the guy said he was "terrified". this seems to be something of a check-box word. Whenever the police kill a MotP they are always very careful to point how scared they were.

I know what message I'm taking away from this. On no account say, "Well, it was quite exhilarating, actually. Once I got the first guy down I new I was going to win so I took my time beating the second guy's head in."

No, it's "I was wetting myself the whole time. That little bastard with the catapult terrified me. You can have someone's eye out with one of those, you know."

Malthebof said...

I thought murder was premeditated homicide, if so this cannot be murder, this chap was in his own home. I would like to see some organisation which could prosecute the CPS for wrongful prosecution and the person named who agreed to bring the case, and then jailed.

Mike said...

'Court hears how 'burglar' was murdered by homeowner'

I am assuming that the Guardian’s use of quotation marks indicates that they are responsible for describing the innocent as a murderer and the assailants armed with deadly weapons are described as burglars by someone else but not them. This in a an effort to distinguish responsibility in the event that the full facts and verdict are established. What a difference a day makes!?!
As the dead are unable to talk we can only now say with confidence that the homeowner is no murderer, the Guardian takes full responsibility for the consequences of wrongly describing him as such and we will not be able to establish if the assailants intent was only to take goods without the owners permission using force and/or assault the homeowner with deadly weapons.

Angry Exile said...

How barristers sleep at night is the wrong question. They're just advocates for hire who have particularly specialised knowledge. The guy hired by the CPS to prosecute someone like Mr Quamina might well be defending someone else like him in a few months time. Having been hired to argue one side should we expect a barrister to do anything less than his very best? If so then justice is properly fucked, because we've just said it's okay for a barrister defending someone like Mr Quamina to judge his guilt or innocence in advance of the jury and not bother trying to test the prosecution case to the full.

So less of the lawyer bashing*, eh? Well, maybe the ones who do little actual law work and only did it for something to do while working on their political career, but not this Temple bloke for putting his client's case as best he could. That he had to resort to the comical 'persons unarmed' comment says more about the CPS case than Temple himself. Instead ask how the fuckwits in the CPS reached the decision that prosecuting was in the public interest, how they possibly thought that it served justice (as distinct from law) and, if you like, how they sleep at night. Better than they have a right to would be my guess.


* I am not a lawyer and don't have one in the immediate family - a distant cousin I've not seen for 25 years is the nearest. I do know one though, and some chats with him have taken the gloss of the lawyer jokes. Still.....

What do you call a couple of lawyers on parachutes?

Skeet.

Uncle Marvo said...

Reads lawyer defence speech, bites tongue ...

My lawyer tells me that justice is directly proportional to how much money you have available.

Macheath said...

AE - I appreciate that barristers are there to test the case in law. My objection in this case is to the emotional connotations of Mr Temple's choice of words.

There is a fine dividing line between presenting a case objectively and trying - wittingly or unwittingly - to influence opinion, and I believe it was crossed here.

JuliaM said...

"I notice the guy said he was "terrified". this seems to be something of a check-box word."

Oh, indeed. The list of things aggrieved parties find 'terrifying' grows ever longer...

"I would like to see some organisation which could prosecute the CPS for wrongful prosecution and the person named who agreed to bring the case, and then jailed."

Me too.

"What a difference a day makes!?!"

Indeed!

"There is a fine dividing line between presenting a case objectively and trying - wittingly or unwittingly - to influence opinion, and I believe it was crossed here."

Yet, while there are no sanctions for doing so, expect to see more of this in the future.

Angry Exile said...

There is a fine dividing line between presenting a case objectively and trying - wittingly or unwittingly - to influence opinion, and I believe it was crossed here.

Sorry, I don't agree. If I was accused of something and it got as far as a courtroom I'd be fucking livid if my barrister wasn't trying to influence the jury's opinion. I'd want them to form the opinion that I'm innocent, so that's his job as far as I'm concerned. How he does it is up to him, though if he relies on emotion alone I'd be cacking myself because the other side can do that too. Same with the prosecution side. It doesn't say anywhere that appeal to emotion isn't allowed or that there's any line there to cross, but if the prosecution can't back that up with some actual evidence it probably means a piss weak case as much as anything else. As I said, the fact that this Temple bloke had to resort to the 'persons unarmed' crap says to me that he didn't have many good cards to play in the first place, and if he had any brain at all he probably expected to lose. Mrs Exile and I wonder if he'd perhaps pissed off the clerk of the Chambers to get stuck with such a shitter of a case.