Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It Seems They Don’t Have To Run You Down To Kill You…

What? No, no, not cars. Cyclists:
A man has been bailed after being arrested in connection with the death of a pedestrian after an alleged argument with a cyclist in Norwich.
Not immediately, either. Two days later!
William Phillips, 34, from Derby Street, Norwich, died after he was involved in an incident near to the doctor’s surgery in Oak Street, off St Crispins Road. Mr Phillips, who was wearing a cream top, light coloured jeans and desert boots fell to the floor during the incident, which happened at about 8.50am on Wednesday, July 18.
Mr Phillips received initial treatment at the surgery, and was subsequently taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
He was found dead at his home around 5pm on Friday, July 20 by his mother.
A PM’s been held, but no cause of death released yet. However the police clearly felt they had enough evidence of wrongdoing to arrest a man:
Temporary Detective Superintendent Jes Fry said he was encouraged by the response to media appeals, but was still keen to hear from anyone with information about the incident.
Det Supt Fry said the city would have been busy at the time of the incident and wanted anyone who saw anything – no matter how seemingly insignificant – to contact them as a matter of urgency.
He said: “We’re still waiting to find someone who saw what started this off – that’s the key issue.
“It’s a case of trying to ask anyone who saw what happened to call us...so we can build a clear picture of what’s occurred.”
Don’t you need that before you arrest someone, and not after?

H/T: Dave Ward via email

Another Of Those Rare Isolated Events That Inexplicably Keep Happening To The Same People…

A 16-year-old boy who died after being stabbed in the leg by gatecrashers outside a birthday party has been named as Ben Morutare.
A good old West Midlands name, that. Tha’ knows.
A brawl reportedly broke out between two groups and police were called to the disturbance at Smethwick Home Guard and Old Comrades Club just before 1.30am.
A witness said: 'A crowd of about 30 people attacked the boy who died. He had been defending his mate who was getting kicked on the ground by the gang. It's just so sad he died like that.'
An earlier ‘Daily Mail’ article about this murder carried the curious suggestion that this may have been a particular type of crime.

It’s been redacted out now (though some comments refer to it) but the ‘Star’ still – as I type – has it:
A witness said: “It seems it may have been a postcode-related crime.
“My niece saw it happen outside her bedroom window and she called the police.”
A ‘postcode-related crime’, eh? I’m assuming this isn’t another ‘dog bites postman’ sort of crime…
A tribute site has been set up on Facebook by the victim's brother, and donations are being given to the family for the teenager's funeral.
Ah. All the usual social niceties being observed, then?
Detective Inspector Gary Plant, from the force's CID said: 'We have launched a murder investigation following the tragic loss of this young man's life.
'We believe that this is an isolated incident and crime of this type is very rare.'
Do you? Do you really believe it?

Post Title Of The Month

The incomparable DumbJon:

Post Of The Month

He has a way with words, does that Scaryduck... ;)

Quote Of The Month

An important consumer safety tip from the incomparable Leg-Iron:
Apparently, New Zealand prostitutes are using signposts to give pole-dancing demonstrations. This has resulted in many bent and even broken poles, which I would take as a warning that, should you decide to avail yourself of the service, do not let her get on top.

Those Pesky Thais/Japanese/Chinese…

Under-fire private security firm G4S was at the centre of another embarrassing Olympics scandal today after an employee allegedly called a soldier a 'baby killer' as they worked at a Games venue.
The Asian civilian guard, who faces the sack, is said to have spat at the serviceman and made the abusive remark at the archery contest at Lord's Cricket Ground.
And what prompted this, I wonder?

Misplaced anger at the Hiroshima or Nagasaki Bombs? A festering resentment over failure to intervene in the Boxer Rebellion or the Fall of Saigon?
The remark is believed to have been a reference to the soldier's service in Afghanistan.
Ah. Say no more. I suppose I should have known...

And as QM points out:
"There's that ubiquitous 'Asian' tag again, which is a gross insult to the vast majority of Asians who are polite, civilised and generally not Islamic in nature. You can pretty much accept that if the roles had been reversed the police would most likely have been called and an arrest made for a hate crime."
Well, indeed!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Oh, Seems I Was Wrong...

...about District Judge Joti Bopa-Rai, that is:
A teenage criminal has been spared a prison sentence, after a judge admitted "I should be locking you up".
First offence? Nope. Not even close...
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will have to serve a year-long community punishment after admitting nine crimes, including his third burglary.
I guess mitigation will be good?
District Judge Joti Bopa-Rai admitted that the Cheltenham youngster had previously ignored advice from the courts.
"You are somebody I should be locking up, but at the same time we have to look at your age, your personal difficulties, and I know there are medical issues," she said.
"There is a principle that we try to work with young people rather than lock them up.
"You are at a stage where your offending is going further and further and I should be locking you up, but there is an alternative."
Oh, really?
Dave Brown, defending, said: "He knows that the starting point is a detention and training order.
"I wonder if, whether you were to grant him an intensive supervision which has been outlined to the court, it could give some progress with his moods and thinking skills, otherwise he will be locked away for a fairly lengthy stretch."
Ooooh, a Thinking Skills course! Just the ticket!
The judge ordered him to undertake a year-long youth regulation order, with intensive supervision and surveillance for six months. For three months he will be subject to an electronic tag with a 7pm to 7am curfew, and 15 hours of education and training each week.
The judge added: "If you breach the order, I will be dealing with it and you will be going inside for a long time."
I would say I'll look out for him reappearing, but how will I know? Since he can't be named....

Because If You’re Tolerant Of The Underclass, You’re An Intellectual….

Zoe Williams takes issue with Louise Casey’s ‘troubled families policy’:
I believe the ulterior motive is the demonisation of the poor, with the aim, in the long run, of simply slicing off these families at the bottom of what we think of as "society". Thereafter, terms like "fairness" and "empathy" and "all in this together" can be bandied around pretty freely, because the evidence of their extinction will no longer exist. The problem families won't count – because they severed the social contract with their criminality and un-neighbourliness.
Well…didn’t they?

And aren’t you forgetting that the families around them, the ones to whom they cause the most misery, are themselves part of ‘the poor’ you claim to be defending?

Aren’t they owed some peace from these people?
There's an ancillary process, of which Iain Duncan Smith is master, whereby poverty is conflated with poor parenting, and this serves to dehumanise as well as alienate these "problem families". If parenting sees us at our most loving, civilised and altruistic, then to fail at it is to have slipped off the bottom rung of the species.
Well…isn’t that the case?

Don’t we need to break the cycle of the deprived depraved breeding more and more little clones of themselves?
Casey's self-presentation is always that she cuts through the data and expertise and goes back to common sense … the man in the street, what does he think? Sometimes it's amusing – when she makes a tirade against ministerial anti-binge drinking ideas – and other times it's straight anti-intellectualism.
Ah. I see what Zoe’s getting at here. If Louise’s common sense approach takes hold, and the dreaded ‘man in the street’ gets listened to, then maybe these people will be out of a job:
So much work has already been done on the experience of being at the bottom of the heap. There are ethnographic reports grouting the British Library (I found this enlightening) about what life is like at the coal face of a "multi-agency intervention". They are conducted over weeks and over months by academics who immerse themselves in the realities of the household, not government advisers who swoop in for a couple of hours to peer at the destitute. There are studies about what causes antisocial behaviour, what works, what doesn't (Professor Adam Crawford, for instance, launches his findings this week). Straight talking is one thing, but when you're straight repeating work that has already been done, but sloppily, with less sophistication, drawing egregious conclusions, isn't that a waste of time?
Not really. Not when – to paraphrase that classic ‘The ‘Simpsons’ episode – we’ve tried nothin’ and we’re all out of ideas!

Mollycoddling them and giving them more and more chances and benefits and hot & cold running social workers (and police officers to personally run their spawn to school) hasn’t worked.

So let’s try treating them as the social pariahs they really are. For everyone’s sake.
There is plenty of existing evidence that if you want to intervene with families, you do so in a voluntary, unstigmatising way, with a local hub providing many different services, from parenting advice to English lessons.
The problem with continually offering services, Zoe, is just that; these families aren’t obliged to take them! And while they aren’t obliged to take them other – equally ‘poor’ – families suffer.
Precisely how Louise Casey came to collude in a process so divisive and dishonest I don't know; I hope she was tricked into it. I can't see this trick working on everyone, however.
I can’t see it going down so well with the Islington set, no. Everyone else, I suspect, will be just fine with it.

A Paragraph That Sums Up ‘Broken Britain’…

Emma Jones, 27, left her four young children with their grandparents while she went out clubbing.
But after returning home five hours late Jones claimed she had been sexually assaulted so her parents wouldn't be angry at her.
She got two years and eight months. If she does even half of that, I’ll be astonished…
They reported her claim to the police who later arrested two men and subjected them to intimate physical examinations.
But they were released after CCTV emerged of her kissing one of the men she had accused of the sex attack.
Police questioned Jones again and she admitted lying to avoid getting in trouble with her parents.
As usual, the initial sympathy is reserved for anyone but the innocent victims:
Judge Stephen Hopkins QC told her: 'Every false allegation of rape increases the plight of those women who are genuinely victims of rape.
'It makes their allegations harder to prove as juries are concerned at the possibility of convicting an innocent man.'
Of course, to the likes of Joan Smith and other feminists, that’s merely a minor little roadbump on the highway to perfection.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Just One Cornetto...

...and an axe, a baseball bat and a crowbar, please. Don't forget the sprinkles!
Moss Irsan, 29, almost lost his arm in the incident which was witnessed by dozens of families. He suffered serious head, arm and leg injuries and was airlifted to hospital.
His friend, 21-year-old Caner Sanli, was attacked too but escaped unharmed. The pair were set upon by a group armed with baseball bats, a crowbar and an axe after they stopped at a popular park in Grays, Essex.
Grays. Oh. Say no more.

The flakes aren't just on the cones in Grays.

Gives a new meaning to the phrase 'I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!' though.
‘Moss will never work in an ice cream van again. He fears what could happen.’
He'd better stay away from Glasgow then...

H/T: Pavlov's Cat via Twitter

This Isn’t Just Any Shoplifting Attempt…

….yeah, I bet you can all fill in the tagline by now:
A thief who stole lobster and ice cream from Marks & Spencer walked free yesterday after insisting he only took ‘essential’ items.
Unlesss he’s a member of Parliament or a local council executive, who’s going to believe that?

Oh, wait, he’s not just a shoplifter, is he? He assaulted someone who tried to stop him.
Thomas was detained after shoving the guard and breaking his earpiece.
Even for the magistrates, the notion of lobster and ice-cream being ‘essential foodstuff’ seemed hard to swallow:
Chairman of the bench Stevie Dee said: ‘Why lobster? It could be a sandwich if you’re that hungry.’
Jero Pipiazza, representing the defendant, replied: ‘The items were not luxury items – they were essentials.’
Well, fair dos, M&S doesn’t sell sandwiches. They’re famous for that. I think…
Mr Pipiazza told the court Thomas was temporarily homeless and had not eaten for two days when the theft took place at around 6.30pm on July 23 this year.
He added that Thomas had previously studied cookery at Shoreditch College and was due to start an apprenticeship in 'cleaning and caretaking' at Hackney Council.
You can get an apprenticeship in that now? Come to think of it, you need an apprenticeship in that now!?
Sentencing him Ms Dee told him: 'We're giving you a chance now.
'You have pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, cooperated with the police, and we are encouraged by your apprenticeship you are due to start.
'But we have to warn you that if you continue to offend the court will not be so lenient in the future.'
Thomas, of Hackney, East London, was sentenced to a £55 fine or a single day’s imprisonment, which was deemed already served, after admitting theft.

You Think This Is Bad, Wait For The Plague Of Frogs!

Angry Oswaldtwistle residents said this week’s warmer weather had caused huge swarms of the insects to emerge from decaying rubbish illegally dumped at the former Nipa Laboratories site.
County and borough councillor Peter Britcliffe said last night’s meeting was ‘an important show of feeling’ and that people ‘wanted answers’.
Answers to what? ‘Dumped rubbish + hot weather = flies’. It’s not rocket science.
The Environment Agency is investigating how the material, some wrapped in black plastic, came to be dumped at the site in Nook Lane.
Well, why not simply remove it and continue your ‘investigation’ somewhere else?

The residents don’t really help themselves, though:
Annette Cairns, who lives in Stanhill Lane a few streets away from the site, said: “It’s a full blown plague. There are swarms of them just buzzing around trying to get in and they crawl on you when they do.
“Yesterday I burned myself badly with a cup of tea because one crawled onto me.”

Another New Lane resident Angela Fordham said… “It’s like that film The Birds - but with flies.”
*stifles giggle*
Some householders and businesses said the flies were proving resistant to spray fly killers and even professional electric grid flykillers.
Butcher John Whittaker at Whittaker’s in Union Road said: “We don’t spray anything obviously and we have two professional electric grids which are usually very effective. However these new small flies seem impervious to it and just dance around it and through it.”
They must be specially trained circus flies!
Annie Wheeler at Pound Plus Store said: “People are very unhappy. We’ve been getting a lot of carers in who are buying for the housebound people.
One man said he cared for a blind man who couldn’t see how many flies were in his house.”
Well…. *nonplussed*….if he couldn’t see them, they can’t have caused him much of a problem, could they?

It does give Councillor Britcliffe a chance to jump up and down and posture like a turkeycock, though:
Coun Britcliffe said urgent action was needed. He said: “The residents need to know immediately what is being done about this problem because they are battling it on a daily basis.
“We need to know what action is being taken, how the flies problem will be cleared and whether the waste is affecting the watercourses.
“I urge the authorities to answer the residents’ questions. I am being contacted by residents non stop who want advice on what to do.”
Oh, good grief man, they are just flies! Tell the residents to wait a few days and they will soon dissipate! 

Apart from removing the dumped waste, what else should ‘the authorities’ do? Provide a running commentary? Take out adverts in the local paper? Hire a van and loudhailer to patrol the streets?
Another meeting will be held tonight at Tricky’s pub, Thwaites Road, Oswaldtwistle tonight.
*rolls eyes*

How would we ever cope with another war, if this is the level of panic that a few flies can engender?

Sunday Funnies...

Well, c'mon. What else...?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

It Won't Be Such A 'Good News' Story...

...when the legislation on dangerous dogs changes, and Missy gets the needle, will it?
Missy, an 11 year-old rottweiler sank her teeth into the crook as he reached his hand through the cat flap at the home in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
The usually mild-mannered pet did so much damage that police were able to take DNA samples from blood left at the scene - including on Missy's teeth.
And even less so when Burglar Bill sues the family for damages.

What? Think it won't happen?

The Process Is The Punishment Even For Those Who Deserve None…

A wealthy businessman arrested for murder after he stabbed a burglar to death during a knifepoint raid was spared the ordeal of reliving the tragedy in a courtroom today.
That’s nice. Pity he wasn’t spared the ordeal of being arrested and having his DNA taken too…
Today Mr Cooke and his wife Karen were due to start giving a days of evidence against Jacob’s accomplice Michael Thorpe who was charged with aggravated burglary. But Thorpe, 33 changed his plea to guilty meaning Mr Cooke will not need to give any evidence.
Thorpe claimed Jacob was the prime mover in the attack.
So, all’s well that ends well?
Police have since now installed CCTV cameras outside the Cooke house to watch out for thugs.
Ah. How surprising.

‘Turning The Other Cheek’ Just Gets You Another Slap…

Kieran Heakin, 60, was grabbed around the throat after being confronted in his study by the father who had gone to the school to claim his son was being bullied by fellow pupils.
As another teacher tried to intervene, the father also tried to 'knee' and headbutt Mr Heakin, shouting: 'Now I am really going to hurt you'
Mr Heakin, headmaster of St John the Baptist Roman Catholic school in Burnley, Lancashire, was left sore and bruised after the distressing incident and the father, 45, was subsequently arrested.
The attacker, incredibly enough, can’t be named. To ‘protect his child’.
The dad was found guilty of two counts of assault at Burnley magistrates' court yesterday and was given 16 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months' supervision and a 12-week 7pm to 7am curfew.
He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation and £200 costs.
You’d expect Mr Heakin to be at boiling point. You’d be wrong.
He said: 'We are just like NHS staff on a Saturday night where people come into a hospital accident and emergency department and do not have any respect for those people who are trying to help.
'Teaching today is very different to what it used to be like. You have to be really on top of your game and each day you just do not know what is going to happen that day and it could be that a trivial incident turns into a major incident.
'Parents are going through hard times to (sic)and there are a lot more broken families and children today can sometimes suffer and these days are brought up having their tea in front of the TV.
'I have forgiven this person but you do get the small minority of parents who have no respect for anybody.
I… What?

You’ve forgiven him? For assaulting you in your office?
'Other teachers and heads can get depressed about it and when speaking to fellow head teachers I have found that they can get very irate and not want to carry on with the profession.
'But I see it as a character building experience and life is full of experiences.'
You know….now I want to headbutt and punch him!

H/T: Macheath via email

Givers Realise There’s One Thing There’s Never A Shortage Of….

….and that’s takers:
Lynn Fahy and Debbie Clegg, who run the not-for-profit organisation Dovedale Pride, say they are overwhelmed with requests for help.
But they estimate that they will run out of food in the next few days.
Lynn and Debbie started out with the best of intentions, and with one goal in mind (an admirable one):
Dovedale Pride was set up originally to help provide school uniform for cash-strapped families.
But the two friends soon recognised that there was also a basic need for food among everyone from young families to the elderley (sic).
And, as always, once people start to do things for other people, they get lumbered with more and more requests. I’ve seen this myself, from running social clubs and inter-work projects; once you become known as ‘the problem solver’, there’s always a queue of people waiting to dump their problems onto you…

And so it’s turned out for Lynn & Debbie:
Now, families often turn to them for advice for anything from debt to housing rather than going to official agencies. And there is no particular profile that these individuals fit into; some are unemployed, others have been employed, used their credit cards, lost their jobs and then got into debt.
Lynn added: “We’re just exhausted from trying to find a way to help people. We never turn anyone away.”
Well, love, that’s your problem right there in a nutshell, isn’t it?
Lynn said that they were both now struggling to deal with the emotional demands of providing food, clothing and advice for people. She said: “We’re running out of food and we don’t have any more storage space for clothing either.
“If someone comes to us asking for a specific item of school clothing we can’t find it because our sheds are so packed.
“I’m at breaking point; I could cry.
“We’ve got the school holidays coming up and we know we’re going to be inundated because those on free school meals won’t be getting them over that time.”
Here’s a thought – instead of providing free help and food for these people with no obligation, why not expect them to do something in return for that? Whether it be helping you out with the storage problem, with requests to suppliers, with sorting and distributing food and other items, or deliveries, it really doesn’t matter.

The important this is not to encourage dependency.

Not to suggest that these people need someone to sort their problems out for them. Otherwise…well.

You’ve found out what happens, haven’t you?

H/T: @suey2y via Twitter

Friday, 27 July 2012

Blog Title Of The Month - Special Olympics Edition

Taking bronze, who else, but Anna Raccoon?

A very creditable silver goes to Al Jahom:

And taking home the gold, it's Woman on a Raft:

Quote Of The Month - Special Olympics Edition

Bronze goes to Tom Paine:
I suspect these elements of the policy are pointless and therefore simply another example of LOCOG's tone deaf PR ability to make the inherently lovable despicable. Ergo they have failed to restrict your freedom of speech in any meaningful way. Relax. Chill. Worry rather about the costs of the games you will be paying for years to come.
Taking silver is A K Haart with a heartfelt paean to the true Olympic aspiration:
Sport is good, but the Olympics isn’t sport, it’s a circus. It’s a degrading circus too, because all is so deliberate and contrived and so very far removed from the simple exhilaration of running, jumping, swimming and the innocent pleasure of training hand and eye to do what once upon a time they could never do.
And a worthy gold, Heresy Corner points out that it's fitting we should host this farce, after all:
"The gigantic security budget, though, is part of a trend: in the midst of auserity and global recession, the past few years have seen an unpredented boom for the "loose confederation of defence, IT and biotechnology industries" that make up the domestic security sector. The Olympics operation belongs in the same realm as the government's monstrous proposals for email surveillance, now the subject of lacklustre Parliamentary scrutiny. As for the draconian protections - many legally novel and outrageous - enacted in the interests of corporate sponsors, these too are scarcely out of keeping with zealous copyright laws that see a young British student facing extradition to the United States for offences allegedly committed in his own bedroom.
The Olympics merely provide a uniquely public and unavoidable demonstration of the world, and the country, we have become."

Post Of The Month - Special Olympics Edition

Bearwatch wins bronze for the cheeky conflation of two huge overblown disasters.

Tim Worstall mounts the podium to receive silver for this sterling suggestion for how to handle union blackmailers.

The superlative Al Jahom takes gold by summing up this tawdry little spectacle in top style.

It's Finally Here!

Now, how to welcome it properly?


*snaps fingers*

I have the perfect solution! Watch this space...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Oblivious To The Obvious...

A supposedly heart-rending article on food banks in the 'Guardian' is clearly meant to inflame passions against the dreaded 'Tory benefit cuts' but a closer look shows you just why such cuts are necessary:
Paul, 33, hasn't had a job since a car accident three years ago damaged his knee and made it hard for him to stand for long stretches; he has now mostly recovered and is looking to return to warehouse work, although he hasn't managed to find any, partly, he thinks, because of the recession and partly because his experience is now a bit out of date. Late last year, he was put on the government's new Work Programme, allocated a slot with the provider Sencia. "They are supposed to be helping me find work; all they are doing is having me come in and look for jobs on the internet. I could be doing that at home myself. They weren't sending me on any courses," he says.
So...you've got Internet access at home? But you're struggling to feed your family?

Sorry, your growing family:
...they have nothing to feed their twin six-year-old sons and their eight-year-old daughter. Sarah is five months pregnant.
Paul doesn't say much, but comments as they wait for the food bank officials to decide whether they are eligible for a fourth, discretionary package that the sanctions system has been very hard for the family. "It cripples you. If it wasn't for the food banks, I don't know how I'd get it, other than steal it. They don't understand what it's going to be like when they take your money away from you, when you've got kids. It's impossible."
It's not your money, is it, Paul?

Further on, there's a telling remark from the foodbank staff about their attitude to this 'life-saving service':
There's an eclectic mix of food, some of it of fairly low quality and cheap. Today among the array of goods on offer there is Asda Smart Price chicken-flavour noodles; Tesco Everyday Value chilli con carne; green mung beans in a bag; Sainsbury's Basics chocolate desert mix; a butterscotch supreme desert powder, packed with diglycerides of fatty acids and tetrasodium diphosphate. Staff have a rule that they won't distribute food they wouldn't eat themselves. "It is a bit annoying when people are clearing out the cupboards and we get rusty tins, something that went out of date in 2011." Bunting says. "We try to be sensitive. We get donations of Weetabix, but the problem with that is that it soaks up a lot of milk. If people give us cream crackers, we wouldn't give them out, because it's insulting if [the recipients] can't afford to buy cheese to eat with it."
I... What?

I thought this was meant to be keeping body & soul together? What next, a refusal to give them anything because there are no after-dinner mints?

They aren't entirely naive, though, clearly:
Volunteers say they try not to be critical of the people who come in, but incidental comments show they clearly struggle not to categorise recipients into deserving and undeserving; there is a hint of moralising that might be less pronounced in a state service. There's some uncharitable speculation about why the food bank is less busy in the morning, which goes along the lines of "these people don't get up early". At the Hope Centre there is discussion about how deserving the Romanian families are. "We try not to be judgmental but if you can't stand close because of the alcohol fumes, you think if you had a couple of bottles less of whisky then maybe you'd be able to buy some food," one of the volunteers says, before catching himself, and adding: "But alcoholism is an addiction. Some people are very grateful and others think it is their right to get food."
Yes. So we can see.

Oh, how the Guardianistas must be gnashing their teeth at this service being provided not by the impersonal arm of the state, but by people with eyes and ears and noses who are drawing unwelcome (to Guardianstas, anyway) conclusions....
Joseph Anderson, 44, is phlegmatic about the whole process. "The reason I am here? The dole decided I missed an appointment so they suspended my money." He missed the appointment because he didn't have the £3.60 for the bus fare and didn't feel up to the nine-mile walk to the Jobcentre. He hasn't worked since 2010 when he lost his job with ParcelForce, and is anxious to advertise his willingness to do so through the Guardian, hoping there may be readers ready to employ him.
Heh! Good luck with that. In my experience, these articles are meant yo do one thing, and one thing only; justify the Guardianistas' attempts to put their hands deeper in everyone else's pocket, not their own...

Don't Play 'Knock Down Ginger' In This Neighbourhood!

Mr Hollier said. "We accept Mr Dodds was being extremely irritating and provoking the defendant. He was constantly coming up to the flat, tapping on the window and running away."
Mr Dodds is an adult. And the partner of the defendant.

And she's 'the defendant' because...?
"The defendant finally lost her temper with him, snatched a knife and chased him. She returned to her flat and he came back and he was stabbed in the doorway in the chest.
"He used his own mobile phone to contact the emergency services. It was plain that he was losing a great deal of blood. He was clear he did not support a prosecution of the defendant. He said she was a good woman and a good mother to their children."

Seems Pretty Appropriate To Me...

Prosecutor Marie Stace told Boston Magistrates that Jurczak was arrested when he "came into contact with a police car."
However, the 24-year-old's solicitor Phillippa Chatterton painted a very different picture. She claimed the police car drove across two lanes and then collided with her client leaving him with a broken ankle.
Miss Chatterton added: "This was clearly not the appropriate technique."
Oh, I don't know. Caught him, didn't they?
Homeless Jurczak, who attended court on crutches, pleaded guilty to a theft charge and was sentenced to one day of detention to be served within the confines of the courthouse.
*sigh* Should have reversed over him too...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Man Down...

Sad news, via Leg-Iron and Max, that long-time commenter here Captain Haddock has passed away. The blogging world is a little bit duller today, and real life a far less civilized place as a result.

Vale, old chum.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Well, That Didn't Take Long, Did It?

Before Louise Evans graced these pages again, I mean:
A treasurer who was convicted of swindling more than £50,000 from a local rugby club has appeared in court again after a desperate attempt to pay back the money resulted in her breaking the law again.
That car she sold in an attempt to pay off the money? Well...
Following a court order to repay the debt to Whitehall Rugby Club, Louise Evans, pictured, of Champion Road, Kingswood "panicked" and sold her home and car to get the money.
However, the car, a Daewoo Lacetti, was not legally hers after she had released it to a short-term loans company as collateral.
Evans avoided jail completely this time around, facing a lengthy community order instead.
Gosh. How unexpected.

’Can’t Stop The Signal…’

It is not known where the signal is coming from but it is at full strength at the front door of the restaurant.
Oh, really? Because that contradicts a little with something the police may later rely on in this story….

But read on, there’s more! First comes the inevitable bandwagon-jumping:
Taha Idris, chief executive of race relations charity Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council, said it was vital police punished whoever was responsible.
"I am really appalled that anybody should be using this sort of language so publicly," he said.
"It is a case of a racially aggravated public order offence. I will be contacting Dyfed-Powys Police separately."
Why? They already know. You know they know. What are you going to usefully do by contacting them, other than tick a box so you can justify your cozy little sinecu…

Oh. Right…
Asked if he thought police needed to act swiftly to deal with the perpetrator, he said: "Absolutely. This needs to happen. "It is a moral crime as well as a crime against a person.
"I would like to see Dyfed-Powys Police come down hard on these people."
Yes, I’m sure you would. Personally, I’d rather they caught muggers and rapists, but I’m sure there’s someone in Dyfed-Powys Police with an eye to promotions who'll leap on this like a starving wolf.

And here he is, right on cue:
Sergeant Mark McSweeney said: "Hate crimes such as this are not tolerated by Dyfed-Powys Police.
"We take them extremely seriously and ensure each one is thoroughly investigated.
"I would like to reassure the community once again that we are doing all we can to find the person responsible.
Well done, Mark! That’s buzzword bingo all sewn up!
"Inquiries to date suggest an insecure router in the vicinity of King Street has had its identifying name maliciously altered.
Eh..? Hang on. I thought you said you didn’t know where it was coming from?

If that’s true, how can you assume the owner hasn’t done it deliberately him/herself?
"At the moment we are waiting to speak to the router manufacturers to see if it's possible to determine who altered the router's name in such a vindictive way, and if that is possible we will do all we can to track down that individual.
"Throughout our inquiry the local community has been very supportive and have assisted us with our inquiries."
Curiouser and curiouser…

Does It Matter?

"The two dogs have been taken into police custody. It is not known at this stage what breed the dogs are."
They are vicious (not viscous!) and out of control. That is really all that matters, given that the penalty for keeping an admittedly illegal breed is so paltry
Police said that for a time paramedics had to stand off from the scene, leaving the injured lying in the road and on the pavement while officers tried to corale (sic) the second animal.
I note that the 'Mail' article reflects on the damage done thusly:
One man was said to have lost parts of a buttock and leg, while his wife’s forearm was apparently bitten to the bone. Most of the injuries were suffered by neighbours coming to help.
Neighbours who don't wear more body armour than a 'Mad Max' extra, unlike the police. And what does it say about either the way the police are viewed in modern Britain, or about Hastings, that everyone rushed to help. No-one stood around filming the attack for YouTube?

Next time, don’t stand your marksmen down, use them!

On the owner too, if necessary.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Be Honest, Who Wasn't A Little Bit Pleased...

...that for once, it was one of them?
She added: ‘He’s quite phlegmatic about it. He’s fine, although a bit nonplussed to be robbed outside the Mansion House, of all places.
It’s quite shocking.
‘He was wearing his full regalia, tights and everything.
‘Some of the most senior bods in the City of London police are looking into it.’
Really? How nice. I doubt he'd get more than a crime number if he was Joe Bloggs...

Take A Bow(wow), Bexley Magistrates!

Ben Williams, of Cherrydown Road, Sidcup, was fined just £36 for owning a pit bull terrier and, incredibly, the beast was handed back to him following the brief hearing.

I just…

It wasn’t just the illegal dog, either:
Bexley Magistrates’ Court heard police found drugs and five dogs during a drugs raid on April 27 at the house where Williams lives with his parents.
A house, I suspect, in a neighbourhood very far away from those magistrates. So they won’t need to worry. Which is nice for them.
Williams, who volunteers at a construction site (Ed: whuh..?!?), was described as a "dog lover" by his solicitor Surinder Gohlan who urged the magistrates not to ban his client from owning dogs or to destroy Lady Cash.
Mr Gohlan said: "When he purchased the dog, he purchased it in good faith that it was not a pit bull.
"There is nothing in this case which demonstrates the dog is dangerous."
Apart from its status as an illegal dog, of course. Now, I’m not in favour of BSL, but in this case, and in the hands of this person, I’d happily agree that this isn’t a suitable owner.

But the law does allow that a pitbull can be kept so long as the owner complies with the requirements laid down to keep others safe. 

Requirements that these magistrates suggest. Not order, suggest
Passing sentence, chairman of the magistrates Angela Hamill said: "We have taken into account that the dog has not been a problem so far but we recommend you ought to keep it on a lead and muzzle it as a minimum when you go out."
And the little matter of the illegal drugs?
Williams was also fined £73 for possession of class B drug cannabis and £110 for possession of cocaine on Thursday (July 12). He was also ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Handily, the newspaper lists some other fines for comparison:
Three books six weeks overdue from a Bexley library (at 30p) a day - £37.80
Driving at 34mph in a 30mph zone - £60.
Selling alcohol to a drunk person - £80 (£50 if paid within seven days).
Littering - £80 (£50).
Breaching a fireworks’ curfew - £80 (£50).
Not buying a train, tube or bus ticket - £80 (TfL penalty fare. £40 if paid within 21 days.)
It seems in Bexley, the magistrates run scared of bloggers, but are blasé about four-legged lethal weapons…

Slow News Day, Was it?

A mother has expressed anger at what she describes as an 'unacceptable delay' in telling her that her nine-year-old son went missing from school.
Went missing how? Kidnapped? Abducted by aliens?

No. ‘Went missing’ is the wrong phrase – ‘absconded’ is a bit more correct:
Levi, who has been diagnosed with ADHD and recently started taking medication, left the school just after noon on Wednesday.
He made his way across two busy roads into Nelson town centre to his mother’s place of work at the bus interchange cafe, a distance of around half a mile.
And mum is furious at her son for running out of school and for the trouble he caus…

Wait. No, she’s not. Of course she’s not. He can’t help it, can he, he’s got an ‘illness’:
Miss Broadbent said that she had not been told been told that Levi had run away from school when she returned from her lunch break to find him being looked after by a colleague at around 12.30pm.
She said: “Apparently something upset Levi, he became distressed and left the school premises.
“I’m not saying that staff there didn’t know he had gone but I feel angry and let down that I wasn’t told immediately that Levi had run away.”
I feel ‘angry and let down’ that we allow parents to get away with thinking their child is the centre of the universe and must always be pandered to and cared for by everyone else. But I don’t think the newspapers would be interested in that, do you? 

The commenters are having none of it, either:
billy32 says... Has she told her son off for leaving school premises, as for the school i think that because it was dinner break they could not watch everyone. If they locked the children in the playground the mother would probably complain about that. If the mother is not happy with the way the school has dealt with the situation then she should think about changing schools. At the end of the day the child was safe.
Common sense isn’t so uncommon as I thought…
Sgl says... How can anyone dislike what Billy32 said? If I had run away from school my mother would have taken me straight back and made ME say sorry to the school for causing a problem. Sadly today, so many parents (and people generally) only care about THEIR rights and don't remember the responsibilities that need to go with them.
InterpolNYC says... ADHD is just an excuse for misbehaviour - which gives the child the right to do as they please and the parents an excuse for their offsprings behaviour. It didn't exist in my day! And why go to the papers about this - seeking attention maybe?
I think you might be spot on with that one. Of course, there’s always someone to excuse the culprits:
l m h jones says... http://www.nhs.uk/co nditions/Attention-d eficit-hyperactivity -disorder/Pages/Intr oduction.aspx nothing to do with parenting for those who claim that adhd "didnt exist" suggest that you research the subject. surely the point that the mother is attempting to make is that her child has identified SEN and should therefore have been identified as potentially at risk outside of a secure environment?
Great! The answer is to lock him up in a ‘secure environment’ then, which a bog-standard off the peg school is clearly not.

Resurrect the Borstal System!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

I Guess Spellcheck Couldn't Help?

In a 'Mail' article about a US pitbull attack that saw a woman's arm amputated:

And I thought it was the solid ones you had to watch out for!

Let The Hilarity And Hijinks Commence!

A Canadian evangelist who believes he can "heal" people by kicking them in the face is heading to Croydon.
Oh boy! *gets popcorn* I can’t think of a better place, can you?

Ladies & gentlemen, place your bets!
In one incident, the burly pastor intentionally kicked an elderly woman in the face and in another a man was pushed over and lost a tooth.
Bentley says the Holy Spirit tells him to use these techniques as part of his "miracles".
Croydon magistrates’ll have no problems accepting that as an excuse, I’m sure…

Fantastic! I Have Just The Solution!

Police have launched an operation to tackle youths who are riding motorbikes and quad bikes illegally in a country park.
Oooh! We know how to tackle them, don’t we, readers?

Police are considering measures including writing warning letters to young riders' parents to warn them of the consequences of their children's actions.

Sunday Funnies...

Because it pays to read the MSM carefully...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

On Reflection, It Wasn’t Such A Good Idea, Was It?

Stoke-on-Trent City Council scrapped its subsidy for beverages after the authority's 44 councillors downed 10,800 free hot drinks in the members' lounge in the last financial year. A drinks machine was provided free by a private firm, but the council was forking out more than £3,400-a-year for an average of 900, 32p deluxe beverage sachets each month.
Leaders admitted an 'honesty box' next to old machine was rarely used.
*chuckle* Who’d have imagined that, eh?
The council said it has now installed a new machine for members who have to pay 40p a cup. But a staff coffee machine located nearby in the Civic Centre offers hot drinks for 15p.
*gasp* What could explain this discrepancy?
It is understood the staff machine dispenses inferior coffee in slightly smaller cups, which is why there is a discrepancy in price.
Ah. And, showing the financial acumen I really, really wish they’d show when ordering and approving huge taxpayer-funded white elephants and vanity projects…
Councillor Dave Conway, leader of the City Independents, said: "They're charging 40p in the members' lounge but if I walk down the corridor and use the coffee machine for council staff I can get it for 15p.
"I'm not going to pay a quid for a couple of cups of coffee or tea when I can get two for 30p around the corner.
"I can't understand what they're up to. This is another fine job they've done."
Yeeeees. It’s different when it’s your own pocket you’re dipping into, rather than the poor long-suffering taxpayer, eh? Then you’re quite happy to settle for smaller cups of inferior coffee!

The poor long-suffering taxpayer is overjoyed:
Alan Joinson, chairman of East Bentilee residents' association, said: "I'm over the moon that the councillors are having to pay for their coffees.
"If we go into Hanley we will pay £2.50 for a cup and I don't see why they should get it for free.
"Given the economic situation we're in ,there are too many people who still have these perks."
Well, quite! Not that that’s reached the Southend area where they are busy installing an extra trough:
Councillors could soon be tucking into free meals before major meetings, despite slashing £12million from public spending. Bosses at Southend Council have agreed to pay for a two-course meal for all councillors and senior officers attending Thursday’s full council meeting for the first time in three years.
Tory chiefs argue the move lets councillors, who have to come straight from work to satisfy their hunger, as well as allowing different parties to mingle informally before official business begins.
Oh, so it’s got social benefits as well? I’m surprised they didn’t demand a dance band too…
The move has been criticised by Labour councillors and campaigners, who called for the council to show “a little humility” .
Because when Labour are in charge, they are all about the humility. Obviously.
Nigel Holdcroft, the Tory council leader, said he decided to reintroduce a meal before the meeting after discussions with the three other group leaders and the chief executive, Rob Tinlin.
The meal will be used to gauge its popularity, and a decision will then be made as to whether to continue the practice for the rest of the political year – a total of five meetings.
Mr Holdcroft said there was a chance councillors could be charged for any future meals. He said: “My own view is that some suitable catering should be on offer to members and officers, and, in particular, those who have no opportunity to return home because of the length and timing of the meetings.
“However, assuming we can deliver a reasonable quality and choice, this should be subject to a charge.”
It shouldn’t be ‘subject to a charge’. It should be ‘subject to the price you’d have been charged if you went to an equivalent restaurant’.

As Usual, The Justice System Lags Behind…

Perhaps in an effort to resolve the crisis highlighted in Longrider’s post on the subject of extra-legal dealings with persistent shoplifters, the authorities are giving themselves a pat on the back for accomplishing… well, something:
Luke Carroll has racked up more than 50 convictions, chiefly for shoplifting, since 2005. Now, police have obtained a two-year anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) barring him from the areas he has targeted.
Well, hurrah! But I wonder how many convictions he would have had, if shops weren’t routinely given the runaround by the justice system?
Officers are distributing posters outlining the terms of the order – which also bars him from St George's Retail Park on the outskirts of the city centre. If he does breach the order, Carroll (28), who lives on the Saffron Lane estate, will be arrested and possibly jailed for contempt of court.
Or possibly let off again.
Shopkeepers welcomed the police's decision to seek the order. One said: "He's an absolute nuisance and he's so brazen about his thieving.
"To give him his due, he's not at all aggressive like some of the other regulars, but the fact remains he has taken, or tried to take, a lot of stock from us over the years."
And there’s nothing to stop him simply going elsewhere, to take a lot of stock off someone else, is there?
Sergeant Nicola Preston, of city centre police, said: "He's brazen – he walks into shops, hangs around and walks out with goods under his coat."
"We have had to go to this level now because we have a duty to protect the community, particularly retailers, from his constant shoplifting," she said.
"It won't solve all the retailers' problems because clearly there are other shoplifters, but we are looking at taking similar action against other prolific offenders."
Why not just build more prisons, and make sure that the sentence for shoplifting is so severe, they don’t get a chance to rack up so many convictions?

Not Letting A Crisis Go To Waste, Are They?

The deranged man who shot up a cinema in Denver has once again become the immediate posterchild for everyone on the left's favourite hobby horse, from the Tea Party to the right to bear arms. That last would be funny if it weren't such a tragic incident, as citizens in that part of Denver are denied CCW permits, so no-one will get sho...

Oh. Right. Criminals and the deranged don't care about that, do they?

Oh, and of course, because this is Denver, I'm seeing many references to the conspiracy theories around the controversial artwork of the airport in comments and Twitter chatter.


People are strange. Just how twisted do you have to be to immediately think 'Wow! What an opportunity!' when you hear something like this?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Well, DC Debbie Jones, I Wouldn't Be...

Case officer DC Debbie Jones said: “Stower displayed excessive violence against an innocent man that was purely doing his job.
“I am pleased with the result of this investigation.
“I hope Stower has time to reflect on the gravity of what he did and the lasting effect his actions will have on the victim and his family.”
He got eight months. Eight months! For attacking a bus driver with an axe!

And we know he won't serve it all, don't we?

Here’s Someone Who Won’t Be Receptive…

…to the police ‘Anti-Winsor Campaign’:
Dave Durant says there was clear evidence that squatters had broken into Granby House in St John's Road, Bedminster, on Wednesday afternoon and police could have made arrests.
But he says they declined to use their discretion or collect evidence, hiding behind their fear of squatters' rights.
Gosh. How surprising. You’d think they’d be only too happy to use any excuse to head off another potential problem area, wouldn’t you?
Mr Durant, who has a planning application in to turn the building into flats and houses, is concerned that by letting the squatters stay, their lives are at risk as the building is currently under renovation and has no staircases.
There is also a risk of exposed electrics as the building has been vandalised by thieves trying to steal copper.
The 59-year-old from Somerset says he is also concerned that he will be held responsible for any tragedy but feels that the police's failure to act should make them culpable as well.
I don’t think he could be held responsible, surely? I mean, sure, maybe by the useful idiots, but not by anyone worth listening to..
But in a statement Avon and Somerset police say an investigation established there was no damage caused to the property and therefore the incident was a civil matter.
It’s amazing how evidence has a way of disappearing when inconvenient.
He told the Post: "Everybody knows the law is an ass when it comes to squatting.
"The police arrived and there was evidence of bolt croppers being used to gain entry. Police say there was no evidence of forced entry but that is just not true.
"They could have cleared them out straight away but they didn't and now it's turning into a nightmare.
"Initially there were five and now people are saying there is about a dozen." Mr Durant said the experience had led him to have more contempt for the police than he did for the squatters.
I can see why, frankly. It’s about time squatting was made a crime, and not merely a civil case. Then they’d have to act.

But it’s not just their failure to act that rankles:
Mr Durant also said he also could not understand why so many police needed to attend the scene if they could do nothing.
"I really, really object to five policemen turning up to tell you there's nothing they can do," he said.
"I cannot believe the police are under pressure if they can spare people to stand around for an hour."
He’s got a point. Perhaps it’s like the old Soviet Union joke, reworked for Britain in 2012 – one who can read, one who can write, one to keep watch on the two dangerous intellectuals, and the other two…? 

Answers on a postcard in the comments, please!

A Tale Of Two Civilisations..

What to say about yesterday, other than it was a very, very bad day for the reputation of the British justice system?

But leaving aside the inevitable post-mortems, the wry reflections and the obscene triumphalism, this one sole thing stood out for me above all else.

Tomlinson aftermath:
A small group of demonstrators gathered outside Scotland Yard following the verdict, with some voicing their displeasure.
Birmingham aftermath:
Following the verdict, judge Mr Justice Flaux appealed for calm on the streets as police said extra officers would be deployed at the first sign of any trouble.
His sentiments were echoed by Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the victims, who was credited with preventing a race war on the streets of Winson Green last August.
Speaking outside court yesterday, Mr Jahan, 47, urged people to ‘accept the outcome’ of the trial and appealed for ‘peace and calm in our community’.
I know which civilisation I prefer.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

"Oh. Yes. And Some Other People Were Affected Too..."

"Not only was police time wasted but other people found themselves being stopped and searched and inconvenienced.
"We have chosen to take action against this man because his behaviour was foolish and reckless.
"I hope others who might be tempted to waste police time will think twice."
"But that doesn't really matter so much. What's important is that we wasted our time."

What 'School Success' Looks Like In 2012...

Back in Feb 2010, the Brighton 'Argus' announced:
Improvements at Patcham High School have been recognised through new CVA figures, helping the school into the top 200 most improved schools in the country.
Impressive! So, what improvements does the school trumpet - maths? English? Behaviour?
A secondary school’s pioneering project to help its students lose weight and get active has proved a success.

Oh, well. Never mind if they can't read, write or add up, I suppose. So long as they aren't salad dodgers, we'll pat ourselves on the back..

Judge Carol Hagen Strikes Again!

A thief who was given a chance by a judge after repeatedly snatching jewellery from shops was stealing again just four weeks later.
The judge is none other than our old favourite, gullible judge Carol Hagen!
Judge Hagen was told Rush suffered from depression following his father's suicide and had been treated in hospital.
She adjourned the case so psychiatric assessment could be done.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Ex Libris: ‘The Mists Of Avalon’

Morgaine speaks…

In my time I have been called many things; sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen. Now in truth I have come to be wise-woman, and a time may come when these things need to be known. But in sober truth I think it is the Christians who will tell the last tale. For ever the world of Fairy drifts further from the world in which the Christ holds sway. I have no quarrel with the Christ, only with his priests, who call the Great Goddess a demon and deny that she ever held power in this world. At best, they say that her power was of Satan. Or else they clothe her in the blue robe of the Lady of Nazareth – who indeed had power in her way, too – and say that she was ever virgin. But what can a virgin know of the sorrows and travails of mankind?

And now, when the world has changed and Arthur – my brother, my lover, king who was and king who shall be – lies dead (the common folk say sleeping) in the Holy Isle of Avalon, the tale should be told as it was before the priests of their White Christ come to cover it all with their saints and legends.

I remember being attracted to the cover of this – it was in the WHSmith in Ilford, and I’d gone there to pick up a book I’d ordered as a present for a friend. Can’t for the life of me remember now what that was, or even who it was for! 

But this had just come in, and a young lad was stocking the shelves, and it caught my eye.

It seemed as heavy as a brick, and the 1009 page count made me think it'd do at a pinch to keep me busy for a while!

In truth, I think it took me about four days, on and off. It was utterly enthralling. It's basically a feminist retelling of the Arthurian saga, and as horrible as that might sound....it works! The characters are familiar, yet different, and the emphasis is placed not on the battlefield of horse and sword, but on a far more subtle way of waging war.

Like many of this year's choices, it was languishing in development hell for quite a while, with various names attached, and finally got made with (what else?) an all American cast. Given how awfully or disappointingly  my other picks have turned out, I've never quite managed to bring myself to order it, and I've never yet seen it on TV.

If anyone's watched it, can they tell me if it's as bad as I fear?

Not Just A Member, But An 'Active' Member, Eh..?

I wonder what that means?
Mr Cranmer-Brown told the court that Smith's offences came to light after she and her husband – who is an active member of the travelling community – made a joint application to buy their council house.
Is there any evidence of his 'activity'?
Chris Dickins, mitigating, said Smith, of Fairfield Drive, Barton, was the sole carer for her 15-year-old daughter and that her husband, who neither worked nor claimed benefits, was "often absent from the family home for considerable periods of time" leaving her to manage the finances alone.
Mr Dickins said: "She has shown genuine remorse and, since last autumn, she has been paying back both the local authority and DWP at a rate of £56 per week, out of her modest income as a part-time cleaner and family tax credits.
She's paying us back with our own money?!?

That's Some F*****g Homework, Miss!

The school said 700 students had taken part in the class and there had been no complaints from parents or students.
Apart from the one in the 'Mail', that is?

But why would a school think this was ever a good idea?
A school spokesman said work on language and respect had been delivered to all Year Seven to Nine students over the last two months and it helps students recognise what is and is not acceptable and when to use it.
In a statement, the school said: 'As part of our social responsibility we are educating our students to understand what kind of language is appropriate at what times and in what contexts.'
You couldn't (censored) make it up, could you?

And as the commenters to the 'Mail' article point out, a bit more attention to handwriting skills might be in order...

I Know The Sort Of 'Out-Of-Body Experience' He Needs

David Dowler, 23, launched the "truly shocking" assault after his victims looked at him when he drove at speed into a North Somerset pub car park.
He got out of his vehicle at the Full Quart pub in Hewish and attacked the pub's manager Lee Thorne, his wife Helen and his mother Angela.
After attacking his victims in a prolonged and unprovoked assault, he collected an iron bar from his car and smashed the front and back windscreens of Mr Thorne's car.
Amazingly enough, in a verdict that will give you no faith in our jury system, he was acquitted of GBH!
Dowler, of no fixed abode, admitted causing grievous bodily harm to Mrs Thorne, actual bodily harm to Mr Thorne and causing criminal damage. He was acquitted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Thorne following a trial.
Does he have previous? Well, of course!
...Dowler had 14 convictions for 36 previous offences over the last eight years, including battery, a road rage assault, actual bodily harm, possessing a knife and smashing up a car with a baseball bat while people were inside the vehicle.
He got 18 months for the latest attack.
Bernard O'Brien, mitigating, said his client had "severe" trouble controlling his temper. He said he had been examined by a psychiatrist and that the probation service believed he had "turned a corner" and was making plans for the future.
Making plans to go back inside, clearly!
During the trial, Dowler admitted he had been unable to fully control his body during the attack and had suffered "a sort of out-of-body experience".
I think society would be a lot better if we accommodated him in that. Permanently!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Personal Responsibility Takes Another Hammering...

...thanks to coroner David Hinchliff:
He said he would write to the landlord of the property in Lindsay Mount, in the Burmantofts area, and recommend they look into fitting all windows with static inhibitors to prevent them opening too wide.
He also said he would recommend regular inspections of the properties to ensure safety features are in place and working.
Why not just suggest that stupid, irresponsible, caring-only-for-their-own-pleasures parents be prevented from breeding in the first place, David?

Wouldn't that actually do more damn good?
The inquest heard that Liam, with his mother, father and siblings, had been living in his grandfather’s one-bedroom flat for three weeks while they waited to be rehoused.
On the day of Liam’s death, on May 31, the family were in the bedroom of the flat for around three hours while workers replaced carpet tiles in the living room.
Mr Hinchliff said the window in the bedroom was opened as the room became 'very warm and stuffy' and the adults were smoking.
I'm surprised that little fact didn't bring the anti-smoking zealots out like a pack of ravenous hounds...

Any chance of a prosecution of those responsible for his safety?
Mrs Shackleton, Liam's grandfather Peter Shackleton, another relative, Shaun Shackleton, and Mrs Shackleton's friend were all arrested on suspicion of child neglect.
Liam's father was also arrested at a later date.
No charges were brought against any of those arrested.
Mrs Shackleton, 29, who broke down in tears during the inquest, issued a poem she wrote about Liam in which she described how she missed her "precious son".
She wrote: "Words cannot describe the sadness this brings or how very dearly you are missed. Knowing that you are no longer here is very painful indeed. An emptiness now exists which only you once filled.
"You were a wonderful son, you gave me so much joy, you would make any parent proud."
She ought to do ten years for that alone.

Panto Season Gets Earlier Each Year...

Ready with a rousing chorus of 'Oh, yes he does..!'
Nadeem Aullybocus*, defending, said his client had thrown the bottle at a display stand hoping to hit cigarettes, and it bounced into the assistant.
Mr Aullybocus said: "He doesn't make excuses. He knows he's done wrong."
*That'll be one for Furor Tuetonicus ;)

You Expect Decency And Consideration?

Mark Stephens, of Bynea, had demanded action be taken over pet owners who he says let their animals run riot at the ponds along the Millennium Coastal Park, as well as at Furnace and Swiss Valley.
Claiming he has been sworn at and abused as he attempts to fish peacefully, Mr Stephens has had enough.
"There are anglers trying to fish and dog walkers are abusing us," he said. "We are paying £30 a year for our licences, so we have just as much right to be there as they do.
"It has been a problem on the coastal path for about two or three years, but it's also happening at Furnace and Swiss Valley.
"We've even had a dog swallow a hook because it came running up and started eating the bait. We couldn't stop it and it ate the hook.
"My friend had one of his rods broken when a dog ran through it in Swiss Valley too.
"The dog walkers are getting out of control."
And, not unreasonably, he looks to ‘the authorities’ (who are, after all, charging him money) to resolve this. Just like everyone seems to, these days…
Mr Stephens has complained about the issue to Carmarthenshire Council, asking for an order to be put in place preventing dog owners from letting their pets run off the lead. But he is not optimistic that anything will be done.
"They've washed their hands of it," he said.
"They said they're not going to look into it, but I know they can do it."
Indeed they can do something, if the ‘backlash’ from the dog owners isn’t too heavy. We will see this in a minute.
A Carmarthenshire Council spokesman said: "Fishermen and women are asked to be responsible about discarded tackle and dog owners are asked to keep dogs under control or on leads.
"Cyclists are asked to be careful of pedestrians and runners and vice versa and kids are asked to refrain from jumping into the dock.
"We can only ask people to behave and act appropriately in the respect of decency and consideration."
Well, you can ask, sure. But sadly, in addition to becoming a nation of sheep scared of their own shadow, we’ve also become (paradoxically) a nation ever more aware of, and demanding of, our rights to do as we please no matter the cost to others:
Owner Roger Utley has taken the lead with a new campaign to keep dogs running free. The 61-year-old has whipped up a protest over one part of the Stroud District Council's proposed new dog control orders.
He regularly exercises his black Labrador Inka off the lead around the quiet back lanes of Bisley.
He said that if the "onerous" and "wide-ranging" restrictions in the draft orders were passed he and Inka's outings would have to be on the lead in future.
And these ‘onerous and wide ranging restrictions’ he’s bleating about?

Why, just the requirement that, when near roads, he keep his dog on a lead. That’s all. It’s the sort of thing nine out of ten sensible dog owners do as a matter of course. After all, you may have a ‘quiet road’ you know well, but you never really know when that can change, and who wants to be the owner of a squashed dog or the cause of a road traffic accident?

Well, clearly, Mr Utley is prepared to take that risk:
Retired plumber Mr Utley said responsible dog owners would have no difficulty with the order's other requirements to scoop poop and keep dogs out of children's play areas.
But he has a problem with a proposal to make it an offence to have a dog off a lead on any public road, pavement or grass verge which is within 4m of the carriageway, maintained at public expense and subject to a speed limit of 40mph or less.
And he’s using the sort of argument against it you’d think I’d be happy to support:
"It has produced a strong reaction among our dog owners, many of who have emailed the district council to protest," said Mr Utley.
"This may look like a storm in a teacup but, at its heart, it's another example of lazy law making. Faced with a small number of people indulging in anti-social behaviour, the solution is to impose a wide-ranging restriction on the freedom of the law abiding majority."
But I’m afraid I’m not, for once, going to agree that this is an awful imposition on the freedom of dog lovers to let their pets run free.

Because responsible dog owners don’t do that in the first place. Our dogs were never, ever off the lead in the street.
Mr Utley said dog owners had long exercised their pets off the lead without a problem in most village back roads.
Just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean it’s right.

But I suppose since decency and consideration for others are now passé, Mt Utley will get his way. And Mr Stephens will go on paying money to a council that takes it yet does nothing in return for it…

Monday, 16 July 2012

That's Not 'Mitigation'...

...that's fully-deserved reaction from a disgusted society:
John Relton, mitigating, told magistrates that Lawson suffers from bipolar depression and has received abuse following the publicity of the court case.
Hardly surprising...
Chair of the bench Esther Blakey said an aggravating feature of the offence was Lawson, who has previous convictions, involving youths in the crime.
Details of her previous convictions weren't given.

Still, look on the bright side: no mention of children, for once!

See, Hawkesworth, You Cretin? It CAN Be Done...

A 12-year-old schoolboy who raped two little girls was sentenced to four years' detention yesterday.
The boy is one of the youngest in the country to have ever been convicted of such offences.
No excuses here - this wasn't a case of 'society' at fault. This judge laid the blame squarely where most of it should lie:
Sentencing the boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, Judge Mark Brown pointed out that he came from a broken home and his parents had a difficult relationship.
'There is no longer a father figure in the home, which may be a relevant factor.'
Speaking to the boy, he said: 'The psychologist indicates you feel rejected and hurt by his lack of interest in you.'
The judge said it was felt 'a lack of boundaries and behavioural controls has been a factor in your offending which may be due to the absence of a father figure who should be setting a mature example for you.'
It seems we're back to Phillip Larkin once more! And we have to ask ourselves why judgements in this wretched legal system can be so perverse and out of whack with each other.

A Strange Sort Of 'Prejudice'...

Sascha, 34, and Nyree, 31 - who have an OBE and MBE respectively for their services to disability sport - have cerebral palsy (CP), a neurological condition that normally occurs before or during birth.
For a number of reasons, usually lack of blood supply and therefore oxygen, parts of the brain die or do not develop.
Despite this, their sporting achievement has been impressive. Though, as ever, it's not been without  heartache:
Both Sascha and Nyree have faced great obstacles. Not least among these is prejudice – whether from cruel bullies who taunted them...
Which is truly appalling.
...or well-meaning surgeons who offered to help ‘fix’ them.
I... What?

Hang on, how is that prejudice?

*thumbs through dictionary*

Sascha has a form of CP known as hemiplegia – as well as walking with a limp, his right arm is thinner and weaker than normal and his hand is permanently clenched and turned inwards.
Nyree, who grew up in South Wales, has diplegia, meaning both her legs are affected so she cannot walk without support. ‘If I were standing in the middle of a room without my stick, I would fall over,’ she explains. She uses a wheelchair much of the time.
Wouldn't offering to 'fix' this be considered just what doctors are for..?

I have come across the bizarre phenomenon of 'deaf culture' before, but I've never seen this concept ascribed to other disabilities. It seems both were denied a real choice in the matter from a young age, though.  Phillip Larkin was right:
Both were offered surgery as children, but neither has ever felt the need for medical intervention, arguing that exercise help them to manage their symptoms.
‘Mum was told I could have an operation to stretch the tendons in my leg but she said no. She wanted me to do it naturally with physio and exercise,’ says Sascha.
Nyree’s father, John Lewis, and her aunt also had CP, and they didn’t want her to have surgery. ‘I was offered an operation where they cut the tendons in the back of the ankles, knees and groin,’ she says.
My father didn’t want me to have it – his sister had it and he said she still had difficulty walking. A friend with a similar disability has had so many operations – little tweaks to fuse bones and make her legs more stable, things like that. To me, it’s not worth it.’
Maybe so. But that's not 'prejudice'. And to label it such - whether you are responsible for the wording, or the 'Mail' reporter - is to bring the entire concept into disrepute...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

I Guess He's A Very Cross Terrier?

Neddie, a Jack Russell/Border Terrier Cross, attacked a woman walking her own dog in Castle Meadow public field in Berkeley.
The dog, which escaped when owner Helena Harrison, 42, dropped the lead, went for Susan Stump, sinking his teeth into her left knee.
Six months previously five-year-old Neddie ran out of his owner's house in Lantern Close and chased two children riding passed (sic) on their bicycles, Gloucester magistrates heard on Tuesday.
It was still aggressive when officers attended the house. But hey. let's give it another chance!
Defending barrister Susan Cavender said Harrison had installed a stair gate at her house after the first incident and has now put up fencing around the garden.
"She also puts a muzzle on Neddie whenever he goes out into public places but on this occasion he had just had a serious operation and was recuperating so she left the muzzle off.
She has acted like a responsible owner," she added.
No, she hasn't. A responsible owner would have either had the beast retrained or destroyed.

Certainly, they would not have taken the muzzle off just because he felt a bit poorly that day!