Monday 31 October 2011


Jaydee Cooper, aged 16, was yesterday handed an anti-social behaviour order at Plymouth Magistrates Court which she must comply with for three years.
Good luck with that

But hang on, she’s 16, so why are we allowed to know her name?
After hearing representations from The Herald, the Magistrates decided it was in the public's interest to know of the order and permitted Cooper to be identified.
It seems she’s pretty well known to anyone in the criminal justice system already:
Cooper, of Desborough Road, St Judes, had 24 convictions relating to 37 offences including shoplifting, assault, making threats and damaging property.
And of course, has no doubt seen not a single day of jail time for any of them.

All the usual features are here:
The court heard the teenager had experienced a troubled up-bringing and was living in care provided by Plymouth City Council.
Which provided a surprising bit of ‘mitigation’:
Defence for Cooper, Owen Lawton, questioned if the local authority had done enough before making the Asbo application. He said three letters addressed to the "parent or guardian" of Cooper had been sent when she was under care provided by the council.

He said: "She had no parent or guardian."
Well, yes, she did. She had the council, in lieu of her natural parent, but as we’ve seen from Winston Smith’s blog, their powers to actually provide real care, or even tell these wastes of oxygen the first ‘No’ they’ll have ever heard in their short brutish lives, are limited.
He also said not enough had been done to ascertain the views of Cooper's mother. But the court heard when she was eventually contacted she supported the application.
What’s that old advice for lawyers, ‘Never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer’?

Looks like he needs to go back to lawyerin’ school…
The Asbo handed to Cooper ruled she must not enter the city centre shopping area, including Royal Parade, Drake Circus, where she is already banned, Charles Cross, Bretonside, Cobourg Street, Western Approach and the Eastern side of Union Street.

She is however permitted to break this condition on Wednesdays between 10am and 2pm so she can go shopping.
Well, of course! Wouldn’t want the little darling to think she was being punished, would we?

Although how does she have money to go shopping anyway? God, we aren’t giving her ‘pocket money’ while she's in so-called 'care', are we? I suspect the answer’s ‘Yes’…
Magistrates warned Cooper if she breached the order she could face up to five years in jail.
Note the ‘Could’. It’d be more honest to tell her she probably won’t.

It does raise the question, though, of just when we should decide that some people are no longer worthy of effort. And, having made that decision, what should we do with them?

And I Thought Hackney’s Reputation Couldn’t Get Any Lower!

A council banned filming of a television drama about drug crime and gangs on an east London housing estate - because it stigmatised black people.
Hackney mayor Jules Pipe vetoed filming after the council considered if the series would have a 'detrimental' effect on the area's reputation.
Trust me, Jules, everyone already knows the place is a cesspool.
He said: 'Estates aren't film sets - they are people's homes.

'In this case, it was not fair on residents... having their neighbourhood stigmatised on national television as riddled with drugs and gangs.'
What’s ‘not fair’ on the residents is having their neighbourhoods actually riddled with guns and drugs, Jules…
Toyin Agbetu, whose organisation Ligali campaigns against negative stereotypes of black people, told the Independent On Sunday: 'You don't have to always portray the African community as drug-dealing, gun-toting criminals.

'This isn't the time to be going backwards and focusing on these stereotypes. We don't need to perpetuate more reasons for civil unrest; there are many great stories that don't need to focus on the boy in the hood.'
So, the fact that the tv company is portraying reflecting the grim reality of urban estates is a potential reason for those urban estates to riot?

Do you idiots ever listen to what comes out of your own mouths?

It’s not like this is the work of some Islington ivory-tower dweller, either:
Bennett has lived in Hackney for 25 years and was inspired to write the series when he saw a child dealing drugs near his home.
Director, Yann Demange, defended the drama. 'Whether one likes it or not, we're shining a light on a particular part of London and it is truthful,' he said.
And of course, there’s nothing like a little bit of controversy to fuel publicity for a new tv series, is there..?

Well, There’s One Glaring Reason Why It’s ‘No Longer An Issue’…

…and it’s the same reason that quaggas in your garden and passenger pigeons on your bird table aren’t an issue either:
… a council spokesman said the issue had been a problem in the past but was no longer an issue at any Millennium Coastal Park waters or county-owned ponds, possibly because carp stocks have been depleted.
Dyfed-Powys Police’s wildlife officer PC Adrian Ward said the issue was being taken seriously.

He said: “We have recently been made aware of concerns in relation to carp fish being removed from ponds near the Dyfatty Industrial Park by the water bailiff and Llanelli Carp Fishing Association.

A meeting is due to take place imminently to discuss the matter and how to tackle the problem.”
Whew! Thank god Adrian's on the case, moving swiftly into action, eh? Well, if meetings and discussions count as 'action', anyway.

I suppose a few patrols on the cold mornings are too much to hope for?
A spokesman for the Environmental Agency (sic) said: “I don’t think we have had any reports of this issue. If no one has reported it to us we have no involvement.”
'Who, us? Didn't see nuthin'..'

Which is rather strange, as the Environment Agency (note correct spelling, 'This Is SouthWales'...) is well aware of the problem, and indeed of the likely culprits.

Sunday 30 October 2011

When Does ‘Citizen Journalism’ Cross The Line?

Mr Perry, of Southfield Close, Wetwang (Ed: stop sniggering at the back!), believes he is being targeted in a "witch hunt".

He said: "I am not a nuisance. I haven't harassed anyone. All I've done is ask them for a right to reply on my stories.

"I was just doing the job of a decent citizen. I was exercising my right to scrutinise local issues.

"I'm going to persist in this case and fight the Asbo. I was just doing a public service."
That’ll be one to watch, then? His alleged victims are adamant that he has this coming:
Former Driffield mayor Councillor Steve Poessl said Mr Perry had made his life a misery for about two years.

He said: "It started when I was the mayor. I found it hurtful.

"It is not something you want when you are in public office.

"I had not seen or heard of this man before."
What do you want when you are in public office, then? Never to be asked any questions? Never to have to meet any member of the public that hasn’t already been vetted by your staff?

Never to have a complaint made against you?
East Riding Council's standards committee has rejected five complaints made by Mr Perry against local councillors in Driffield, Pocklington and Wetwang.

All five complaints were lodged in a two-month period last year.
Sounds like someone went a little mad with the ‘Contact Us!’ button on the council website!

The complaints make interesting reading:
They included allegations that one councillor in Wetwang carried out an "orchestrated campaign" against him by writing letters to his website host company in an attempt to get the site taken down.

Mr Perry also claimed the unnamed parish councillor had been trying to provoke "vigilante action" against him by distributing posters about him in the village.

In his other official complaints, Mr Perry accused unnamed Pocklington and Driffield town councillors of "malice, deceitfulness and intimidation" towards him.
So, he’s got an ASBO for harassment and unwelcomed contact for complaining about…well, harassment and unwelcomed contact?

Hmmm, this is definitely going to be one to watch.

As is this, from fellow Tweeter and Blogger @Sir_Olly_C.

Blog Title Of The Month

Masterly, Anna Raccoon, just masterly:

Quote Of The Month

...comes from Leg-Iron, on the UKBA border controls for ostensibly 'offensive' weapons:
Stun guns are not legal in the UK. Unless you are a State employee. Just as farmers, but not cows, are allowed to have cattle prods.

Post Of The Month

Pavlov's Cat has the ideal method for correcting that niggling little lean that one of our famous London landmarks has developed...

Man Bites Dog….No, Really!

A Latchford man has been jailed and banned from owning an animal again after biting his pet Staffordshire bull terrier more than 30 times and attempting to drown it.
Vets and RSPCA inspectors said the monstrous attack was the worst they had ever seen after Mark Helps, of Cross Lane, turned on the dog because his girlfriend would not go to bed with him.
He also assaulted the girlfriend. Of course.
The 31-year-old had been drinking heavily when he punched Vanessa Briggs, aged 20, so hard it knocked her out before biting her nose.
The defence clearly did her best with limited material:
Miriam Sutton, defending, said: “The defendant had consumed so much alcohol his recollection of the evening is very unclear but he has shown some remorse.”
Only ‘some’..?
Judge David Hale sentenced Helps to 20 months.
He’ll probably serve four. If that…

Sunday Funnies

Not just the enviable ability to fly...

Saturday 29 October 2011

Colonel Blimp In The Golf Club With The Cutting Remark!

It’s like a surreal game of ‘Cluedo’!
A retired Army Colonel is locked in a bitter dispute with one of London's top golf clubs over its lack of disabled access.
A lack which – it transpires – is not actually through a callous disregard for the welfare of the disabled:
The saga began when Col Cuthbert-Brown tried to invite a friend David Loftus, a former soldier, to a reception following the Great River Race at the golf club last month. But he was told the 300-year-old building had no lifts to help wheelchair-bound people up its ancient flight of steps.
A manager at the golf club told Col Cuthbert-Brown that English Heritage prevents him from making changes to the stunning Grade 1-listed club in Richmond Park.
And rather than leave it at that, he actually offered to assist the man! The heartless fiend!
He apologised and offered to provide extra members of staff to carry Mr Loftus up and down the stairs.
That strangely didn’t satisfy the Colonel who, rather than direct his fire at the right target (English Heritage’s byzantine processes for agreeing changes to listed building), chose instead to launch a barrage at the club.
But the colonel, who is now in charge of the Royal Military School of Music in Twickenham, was livid at what he perceived to be a lack of support for his friend and reported the golf club to Richmond council for an alleged breach of equality laws.

With targeting skills like that, I'm surprised to hear he isn't a US colonel...

For once, though, he met stiffer opposition than he must have previously been used to in the 101st Woodwind Division:
When the club's general manager John Maguire discovered the referral, he sent Col Cuthbert-Brown a withering email.

"Many thanks for officially complaining to the council re disabled access to Richmond golf club. It proves my suspicion of just how sad a character you must actually be," he wrote. "It must be bitterly disappointing for you to discover that the council cannot take any formal action as we have done nothing wrong.

"If/when we get permission from English Heritage... we will be able to offer disabled access to any disabled guests who visit us."

Referring to the Colonel's current position at the music college, he signed off with the line: "I suggest you stick to playing the triangle, as it's more suited to your personality."
*doffs cap*

That, Mr Maguire, is a letter of pure genius! I salute you.

Naturally, when contacted by the newspapers, he was just as forthright:
Mr Maguire said: "This is nothing to do with disabled access or Richmond golf club. It is to do with a military officer who has had people buttering him up all his life and who has got the a*** because I spoke to him in the way I did. If he can't take a joke then more fool him."
I do so very much like the cut of Mr Maguire’s jib.

Oh, For Fox Sake!

A five-year-old boy woke screaming in terror when a fox got into his bedroom, only streets from where two babies were mauled in their cots last year.
This child wasn’t ‘mauled’, not that the screaming headlines don’t lead you to believe that…
Mrs Rook, a headteacher at Lawdale Junior School, said the animal crept into Marius's bedroom on the third floor of her Victoria Park Road home in the early hours last week.

Mrs Rook rushed to her son when she heard him crying and complaining about a pain in his ear.

She said: "I thought he had just had a bad dream but then the fox started across the bedroom."
And how did it get in, all the way up to the third floor? Well, blame that far more invasive urban nuisance...
It is believed the fox got in after burglars broke into the family home and left a window open after making off with thousands of pounds of goods.
And she's not worried about that? Maybe the fox was the burglar?!?
Mrs Rook said police used a noose to drag the animal into their garden, and let it go.

She said: "It is very scary to think what it was trying to do," adding she wanted the fox to be killed.
And what about the burglar? Personally, I'd rather see them taking the Big Sleep!
Councillor Feryal Demirci, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: "We understand that this must have been distressing for the family and that some residents are concerned. But all the expert advice we have suggests that incidents involving foxes are incredibly rare."
Well, quite. Unlike, say, burglary.
A Met Police spokesman said they had received no reports of a fox attack.
So the officers who noosed it and set it free didn’t report it? Or were they not actually police at all?

A Lawyer Worried About Demonstrating ‘A Lack Of Grace’..?

Wonders will never cease!
The tragedy was the end of a terrifying campaign of harassment by Dean Stephens, which had been going on since a fight between their respective dogs 10 months earlier.
A fight which, for once, didn’t end in a heartbroken pensioner and a disappearing chavscum, since Mr Pedley’s dog was able to defend itself quite capably.

But it still turned out badly for the innocent party. Doesn’t it always?
Dean Stephens (42) was jailed for 27 months yesterday at Leicester Crown Court after admitting putting the Pedleys in fear of violence, during at least four incidents between June 2010 and last April.
His brother, Wayne, (41) admitted threatening behaviour on the day of Mr Pedley's death.
He was jailed for four months, but released having served the time on remand.
*sigh* Well, of course he was…
The defendants, both of Tudor Road, Leicester, have a history of violent offending and threatening behaviour.
Really? They don’t look like underclass oxygen-thieves, from their pictures. How surprising…

For once, the defence managed to find some small glimmer of humanity deep down inside his conscience, and didn’t lay on the mitigation fairy story with a trowel:
Simon Clarke, mitigating for Dean Stephens, said: "There are two sides to every story, but it would demonstrate a lack of grace to put it forward. Nothing can bring back Mr Pedley."
While the brother’s lawyer was forced to go for a ‘the other guy’s worse!’ defence:
Christopher Kessling, for Wayne Stephens, said: "His involvement was limited in the scheme of things."
Yes, I have to say, looking at them, the word ‘limited’ was indeed one that initially sprang to mind…

Just Pointless Paperwork..?

Phillip Belcher, 22, was found guilty at Southampton Crown Court of racially-aggravated assault against a worker at a home at Stoney Cross in the New Forest where he was resident at the time.
Now, I don’t think that care workers should just have to suffer abuse or violence in their line of work, but surely taking this man through the criminal justice system is a nonsense?

Especially if it’s not his first offence anyway, and it seems it isn’t:
The court also heard how Belcher, who was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, had attacked another care worker while he was in a residential centre in Newport, Wales.
We aren’t told what sort of ‘home’ this is, but clearly if he’s not considered able to fend for himself, how is he mentally competent to stand trial?
In sparing Belcher, who now lives in Wales, a jail term, judge Peter Henry warned him he was on his last chance. He was given a 12-month community order.
Why should a jail place be taken up by someone who is clearly ‘mad’ even if not in the legal sense?

Is it just so it’s recorded somewhere?

Friday 28 October 2011

Irresistible Object Meets Immovable Force….Or Something Like That!

A new 870-mile walk around the whole of Wales is in jeopardy over a half-a-mile stretch next to mobile homes on a travellers site.

The 80 gypsies on the camp are protesting that walkers strolling past their caravans will be 'an invasion of their privacy' when the route becomes part of the Wales Coast Path.
Oh, boy!

*rubs hands together*

*gets popcorn*

Naturally, the council immediately assumed the position with regards to the travellers, to no avail:
Council chiefs tried to solve the problem by paying for a 16ft high screen around the camp.

But travellers living at the Rover Way site say it would be like a prison - and called for the coastal path to be moved inland away from their mobile homes.
Yes, the prospect of a coastal path that goes inland foxed me too…

Ramblers are OUTRAGED! at this, as you might expect.

And they must expect to win, too, as they have so many, many times before, even over such figures as the feared Van Hoogstraten.
Gwyn Lewis, 59, spokesman for Cardiff Ramblers, said: 'I have a pavement outside my house - how is this any different?

'You can't control who walks the road outside your house and you wouldn't expect to. It is all part of living in a normal house.'
Yeeees, the clue is in the phrase ‘normal house’, I suspect.
Travellers on the site - opened 30 years ago - say they would be prepared to take the law into their own hands to block the path.
Really? Well, blow me down, I never expected that!
Richard Probert, 27, who lives in the site with his young family, said: 'We tried to reason with them and talk sensibly, but we might as well be talking to children.

'I'm not being funny, but you don't know what type of person could use it - there could be drug dealers or paedophiles.'
Neither of whom are ever, ever to be found in travelling communities, of course. Perish the thought…

More Vibrancy And Cultural Enrichment…

Akilan Kandhasamy, 29, was fatally stabbed at about 11.30pm on Saturday at a party held at the New Horizon Centre, in South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham.

According to the family which organised the party, a group of teenagers – five black youths and two girls, one black and one white – were hanging around outside the community centre and began demanding money from guests at knifepoint.
A veritable United Nations of diversity!

If it turns out they are the culprits, and one or more has ‘learning difficulties’ (and if they don’t, they will by the time their defence team finishes) we’ll have the whole Victimhood Poker suite!
Baskaran Sinnathurai, who lives in Thornton Heath, said one guest had been robbed of £60 in cash and ran inside to warn others and to call the police.

Minutes later, he said, Mr Kandhasamy stumbled into the hall clutching his chest and appeared to have been stabbed once.
Not being familiar with modern English customs, they expected public services to be, well, serviceable:
Mr Sinnathurai also said party guests ran across South Lodge Lane to a nearby police office for the Pollards Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team, wrongly assuming a police officer would be there.

He said: “Two people ran over and ran back saying that no one had answered. We didn’t know they were there during the day only. We were running around not knowing what to do.”
An everyday story of ‘government cutbacks’?

Well, let’s count how many PR staff and ‘victim support teams’ and ‘community reassurance officers’ turn up in the aftermath, while the - stretched-thin - real police try to solve the crime, before we decide that, eh?

The Unelected Judiciary…

The man who slashed the throat of a policeman had been released on licence halfway through a prison sentence despite being one of Britain's most dangerous criminals.
I know, I was astonished too…
He had been released from jail 11 months earlier after serving half of a two-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.
Onyenaychi, of Stratford, has a criminal record for violence dating back to the age of 12, often stabbing and slashing his victims and even attacking prison officers in the middle of being sentenced.
His contempt for the justice system was total (and of course, pandered to, where the US courts would have had him shackled and dragged into the dock):
The dock was empty as the verdicts were returned as Onyenaychi refused to leave the cells, as he had done throughout the trial.
And despite this, the ConDem’s criminal advocate is shrugging his shoulders and admitting there’s not much he can do, see, because those judges, they just don’t respect his authority:
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke today claimed that judges would scupper any attempt by MPs to impose a mandatory prison term for juveniles who use knives.
Well, Ken, why try and fail, when you can just not try at all, eh?
But as he warned against moving towards American style sentencing, Mr Clarke warned that judges would "find a way" to get round any rules that MPs imposed.

He cited the example of the existing law requiring a minimum five-year term for those caught with a firearm, claiming that the sentence was often not imposed, despite the will of Parliament, because such legislation often contained a "proviso" that allowed judges to hand out a lighter penalty.
So make sure there’s no proviso. Or is that too much like hard work/likely to get thrown out by our EU masters*?

* Delete as applicable

The Saudis Use A Sword…

…us dog-loving Brits use a Rottweiler.

Oh well, if it stops them thieving…
Spud, a five-year-old Rottweiler, pounced on 35-year-old career burglar Carl Lazenby as he was hiding in a garden.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Lazenby later complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after nearly losing his arm.
Only nearly? Send Spud for retraining, or perhaps some emergency dental work!
Lazenby’s barrister Peter Hampton said he had lost three tendons in his fingers and would never have the use of his right hand again.
I’m sure it won’t prevent him from filling in disability benefit forms…
Lazenby, of Fairleigh, Manor, admitted burglary and an attempted burglary in August.

His criminal career began at the age of 13. He has been convicted of 13 house burglaries and asked for another 17 to be considered over the years.

He was released from his latest jail term in April this year, but his licence was revoked in August after his latest arrest.
The incident did give his defence a rather unusual opportunity to plead for leniency, though:
Mr Hampton said his mitigation for Lazenby was “unusual and exceptional” after justice had already been “meted out” by Spud.
Sadly, this being England, it’s not left up to the dog to pass sentence, more’s the pity…
Judge Alan Goldsack, the Recorder of Sheffield, said he would bear the injuries in mind when passing sentence, along with his benefits being withdrawn and his efforts to get off drugs.

But the judge told Lazenby: “None of these factors can excuse this further serious offending by you.”
Believe it or not, the IPCC is actually taking his complaint of ‘excessive force’ seriously.

Thursday 27 October 2011

OK, I’m Convinced, Jail Doesn’t Work After All…

…let’s try birching instead:
The York student jailed for violence during the London protest against spending cuts is today back home after being released early on curfew.

Frank Fernie was released from jail in Cambridgeshire yesterday, three months into his 12-month sentence.

Has he at least learned his lesson?
He said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to be back in York; I’m absolutely chuffed. I think I have spent quite long enough in jail and I just want to spend some time with my family and friends now.”
The former Archbishop Holgate’s CE School and York College pupil, described in court as an “exceptionally promising” student, added yesterday: “From the outset I thought the sentence was quite unfair considering my background – I have never had any previous convictions and I have worked for voluntary organisations. I thought it was a bit harsh.

“Everyone makes mistakes. Prison really wasn’t the place for me – there really wasn’t any need for that.”
There really wasn’t any need for you to throw stuff at the police was there, but hey, s**t happens, right?

Of course, there are plenty of people only too happy to confirm and support this little cretin’s over-high opinion of himself, and it’s not just his family:
Kathryn Smith, one of those who campaigned as part of the Free Frank Fernie campaign, said: “The campaigners are delighted. It is testament to Frank’s good character, which everybody has spoken about, that he has been released early.

“We continue campaigning now. He has been released on tag to serve the rest of his sentence at home. What the campaign is looking for is for somebody to look again at his sentence and say that it was not fair in the first place.

“I still think, ultimately, he has this on his record and that does not seem right for a moment’s hot-headedness. It if was done in town on a Saturday night, it would be a rap on the knuckles. We still view this as a political sentence and want it expunged from his record.”
Yes, he almost certainly would have escaped even this minimal punishment if it’d been an ‘ordinary’ night out on the town, but a) that means there’s something wrong with those sentences, not this one and b) there’s an element of ‘example-making’ that quite rightly applies to rioting, and the courts have agreed that this is rightly so.

So I really hope that you are going to be disappointed.

Like Lions, The Underclass Now Leaves Hunting To The Female…

...while the male waits on the sidelines to grab his share:
A pair of teenage girls attacked a woman in the city centre, allowing a male accomplice to steal her handbag.
Just lovely, eh?
Bright, of Lawford Street, Old Market, and the other girl ran up behind Ms Toms and pulled her to the ground, grabbing her hair. The male then joined in, punched her in the face and ran off with her handbag.

The robbers ran up Union Street and into The Galleries shopping centre.
And how were they caught?
Avon and Somerset Police linked Bright to the crime when they arrested her for shoplifting and she had Ms Toms' driving licence on her.

Of course, this is no first offence. It never is, is it?
Both girls had previous convictions. Bright's included battery, intimidation and shop theft.

The 15-year-old had a previous conviction for robbery, the same battery and intimidation conviction and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
And also the same lack of serious punishment, I presume?

Certainly, the same old excuses:
Mitigating for both defendants, Catherine Spedding said both had difficult family backgrounds.
She explained how the 15-year-old had "stepped into the shoes" of her older sister, who is serving a long prison sentence for a very serious crime.
So, it’s more of a family business?
But she told Judge Michael Longman the teenager was maturing and determined to spend more time in school to get good qualifications.

"She's clearly a tormented soul," she added.
And she’s sharing that ‘torment’, one mugging at a time…
Judge Longman deferred Bright's sentence so that she could continue to make progress with her behaviour before he hands out her punishment.

He said: "This was a vicious and cowardly attack. It's an enormous effect to inflict on somebody, quite apart from the loss of their property."

On the 15-year-old, he imposed a one-year youth rehabilitation order, including supervision and a 90-day curfew, from 7pm to 7am.
Our justice system is broken. Utterly.

”… changing demographics.”

Churches planning to take over empty business park units are threatening to undermine the viability of firms struggling in the downturn, a leading forum has warned.
Gosh! And I thought the churches were struggling. How can this be?
Creekmouth Forum spoke out as councillors prepared to look at plans to open two new churches on an industrial site in Thames Road, Barking. One church is expected to draw more than 800 worshippers at peak time.
That’s a lot of bums on seats pews…
The forum of 250 Barking companies believes the places of worship could destroy the identity of Thames Road, cause too much traffic and fear they may have difficulties complying with health and safety regulations.
Why should they fear that they might have difficulty complying with H&S? What sort of church is thi…

Barking and Dagenham Faith Forum said the increase in church applications was brought upon by changing demographics.
Oh. I see what they mean now.

And I see the reason for that H&S concern too:
Separately, Pastor Stephen Ologun has made an application to take over empty industrial premises to open a Redeemed Christian Church of God in Selinas Lane, Dagenham.

He said: “Our presence does not in any way jeopardise the progress of the business community.

The presence of a church will only bring a blessing.”
Really? How long before we hear about this sort of 'blessing' happening at these new mega-churches, I wonder?

Wednesday 26 October 2011

At Last, A Crime Even The ‘Guardian’ Couldn’t Blame on The Jews!

Though I expect someone, somewhere is trying
A man hid four wraps of illegal drugs under his foreskin, magistrates have heard.

So, how was he found out?
Police, acting on tip off
*stifled giggle*

When Is An Emergency Not An Emergency?

The attack was witnessed by an ex-Metropolitan Police Officer who called 999 - but police at Gloucestershire Police graded the call a 'Category Two' incident, meaning it only required a response within the next four hours.

The former policeman followed Riddall's car and again phoned 999 less than fifteen minutes later, this time giving the fiend's registration.

But officers still graded the call a Category Two, despite Riddall's registration being linked on police computers to another suspicious incident just four months earlier.
No, before you ask, none of them were sacked for gross incompetence...

The ex-police officer clearly has more integrity than any of the current sorry bunch:
'I left it to the police to do their job. If I'd known this guy had a young girl in the car with him, I'd have forced him off the road without a second's thought. I do feel bad now that I let him go.'
Yup, he actually feels guilty. Even though it's no longer his responsibility.
The woman, now living in London with her daughter, said the findings of the police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission meant nothing to her family.

'The simple fact is the police should have come out when they got that call - they had a witness saying someone was being attacked in a car. How serious does it have to be before they go and check.

'Yes, they've admitted they've made mistakes and they've now made some changes, but that's not good enough. I'm disgusted with the whole system, we feel completely and utterly abandoned.'
You aren't alone. Everyone does.

The IPCC report is rather revealing, though:
The IPCC ruled the 999 calls were not dealt with efficiently and resources were not deployed to the incident, but said the calls made no reference to the victim being a child.
Because that makes all the difference? The age of the victim is a reason for taking it more or less seriously?

Is this possibly due to the poisonous legacy of these cases?

And what of the bumbling incompetents in this case? Did they receive any punishment at all?
'The control room staff were clearly unaware of her age and vulnerability,' said a spokesman, adding that two inspectors, one sergeant and five control room staff were subject to performance advice for their individual inaction in handling the initial 999 call.

Why Our Children Isn't Spelling Good..?

Traders have spoken out over controversial plans to name a multi-million pound development City Sentral.

Did they learn nothing from the recent ‘Consignia’ fiasco?
Developer Realis decided on the name for Stoke-on-Trent's £350 million shopping centre in September.

But the intentional misspelling of the word central has been met with a flurry of complaints from residents and community leaders who have branded the name 'embarrassing'.
Well, quite! The company is in bullish mode over this, though:
A letter has been sent to Realis in a plea to get the name changed, but the company has refused.

Managing director Duncan Mathieson said: "We did not decide on this name lightly or without considerable research and careful consideration.

"In my experience, new names always come in for criticism in the early days."
Yeeees, so I guess you did factor in the ‘Consignia’ farce after all…
The company has explained how the use of the 'S' in 'Sentral' reflects the nature of the scheme – Stoke-on-Trent as central – while also giving it stand-out quality.
Oh, it ‘stands out’, all right. But I don't think you'll like what it says about you...

”It was something I needed to do and I did it…”

A pregnant Carmarthen woman, suffering from stress, took a rolling pin to the town's police station and smashed up a police vehicle with it, a court heard.
Did she have a problem with the cops?

Well, no, it seems not:
When interviewed Havard fully admitted the offence.

She told officers she was at home and, due to a build-up of frustration, she grabbed a rolling pin and went to the police station. She didn't want to damage any other person's vehicle, she said.

"It was something I needed to do and I did it," she added.
Defending Kate Williams said: "This is a very unusual and a very sad case."

She added: "It is totally out of character."

She said single mother Havard was five months pregnant with her second child at the time of the offence.

"She was struggling to cope with the pregnancy and suffering quite extreme hormonal fluctuations. She was in the house and everything got on top of her. Why she dealt with it in this particular way she cannot tell."

Ms Williams said Havard, described as "an intelligent and articulate young lady" was now receiving help from her midwives.
Wouldn’t the mental health authorities be a better bet? There must be some deep-seated issues with the police to make her so hell-bent on targeting them…

Tuesday 25 October 2011

What’s In A Name?

Or for that matter, an apostrophe?

A child's wig on sale at a budget store for Hallowe'en has been branded "racist" and "horrifying" by a grandmother.
And you’ll never guess why…
Furious Norma Taylor, 48, is calling for the 'Sinister Black Childs (sic) Wig' to be taken off the shelves of 99p Stores in Croydon.

She was so surprised by the wigs that she bought one to show to her friends in case they didn't believe her.
You’ll note the lack of an apostrophe there, that the newspaper helpfully notes ‘(sic)’.
"It just blared out at me – I was very shocked and horrified and I demanded to speak to the manager.

"He just laughed it off even though, as a black person, I was trying to show him where I was coming from.

"Even on the receipt I have it says 'Sinister Black Childs Wig' (sic) – I couldn't believe it."
Well, no, because you read it as ‘Sinister Black Child’, not as a sinister black wig meant for a child, FFS..!
Ms Taylor, from West Croydon, thought of her three-year-old granddaughter, Mercedes, when she clapped eyes on the controversial item.

She said: "I thought 'if she was to come in and see this, it would be so sad'.

"She's such a positive, bright and lively girl and I think if she saw that it would upset her so much.

"It would make her think 'is this really how the world sees us?'

"It is very negative and it would really be a downer for her and all the other children going into that shop."
Only if they are as dim as you, love. And possess such a huge chip on their shoulders. Which is probably a damned good bet!
But bosses are adamant there is nothing wrong with the product.

A spokesman said: "It is quite obvious that this wig is in no way at all meant to be racist."

He refused to comment further, but said there are no plans to remove the wig from the shelves.
Well, thank god for that. But I wonder how long that’ll last, when the racemongers and dimwits start their Twittermobbing?

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen!

Papering Over The Cracks Gaping Chasms

A police force yesterday announced it would be placing rainbow stickers on the front desks of police stations in order to make gay and lesbians feel more confident about reporting crime.
North Wales police has a history of coming down strongly on those accused of homophobic crimes.

In 2006 they were criticised after hauling one of their own retired police officers through the courts when he called a woman colleague a ‘dyke.’
Criticism that was totally justified by the fact that the courts told them to go away and stop wasting everyone's time...
Former Detective Sergeant John Atkinson, 46, who had repeatedly apologised for the remark, was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by magistrates and criticised the force for wasting taxpayers’ money.
It gets better...
During the hearing it emerged that Mr Atkinson, who served with North Wales Police for more than 22 years, faced trial even though the force’s then chief constable escaped prosecution for uttering a similar word.

Richard Brunstrom was apparently not charged despite referring to homosexuals as ‘queers’ during a meeting.

And we wonder why the police are leaving this failing system in droves, and leaving us just with the incompetents, the corrupt, and the jobsworths...

No More MONA

A gang of youths punched and kicked a ‘vulnerable’ man in a Blackburn park before stealing his bike.

The 36-year-old victim was cycling through Witton Park when he was pushed to the ground and attacked by the gang.

The man, who has learning difficulties and has been described as vulnerable, was stopped by the youths as he tried to cross a footbridge at around 5.20pm on Sunday.
‘Youths’, ‘youths’, ‘youths’, won’t someone give us a descrip…

Police said the group of between six and nine Asian youths dragged the victim from his bike by his jacket before punching and kicking him while he was on the ground in the Preston Old Road park.
I’m guessing they aren’t Chinese. It’ll be interesting to see the rules of Victimhood Poker deal with this one, won’t it?
Detective Sergeant Rob Anderson from Blackburn CID urged people to be vigilant while walking through the park.

He said: “It is always a concern for us when people are victimised in public parks and this man has been left extremely upset and shaken by this incident.

"But we would like to reassure the public that there is hardly any crime in Witton Park and we will ensure that we work hard to ensure that no patterns develop in the area.

“Although there is no need for the public to be afraid, we would urge them to be extra vigilant whilst walking through the park with valuable items in their possession.”
So, there’s no need to be worried about actual assaults here, but the police feel free to frighten the bejeesus out of shoppers elsewhere with what might happen?

How Low Can You Go?

A father who robbed two terrified teenage girls on their way to school blamed it on his young son being diagnosed with a heart murmur.
Not even that he’d just had that terrible news and had a minor breakdown, mind you:
Tim Noble turned to drink, drugs and a criminal lifestyle after his child had three open heart surgeries in the last two years, Bristol Crown Court heard.
And I’d love to know why his partner isn’t in the dock as an accomplice:
The court heard he was being driven to Asda by his partner to buy a bottle of vodka at around 8am on September 9 when he saw two girls he knew walking to school.

His partner stopped the car and then Noble demanded the 14-year-olds' phones and cigarettes.
He proved quite a chatty sort of mugger, too:
"I feel like a ***** but these things have to be done," he told them, before adding, "I take it this is the first time you've been robbed?"
It’s only a wonder he didn’t ask them to complete a satisfaction survey…
Darren Burleigh, defending, described Noble's behaviour as "stupid and ridiculous".

He said: "He is ashamed, as he should be.

"He doesn't seek to minimise what he has done."
Oooh, that’s novel!

And also wrong, as – no doubt without even pausing for breath – the mitigation followed:
"He had consumed a significant amount of alcohol and substances the evening before and through the night.

"There was an argument with his partner about money.

"It is out of character. There was no weapon, no actual use of violence.

"He let their minds run wild with what he would do if they had not submitted to his commands. "
For once, the judge wasn’t buying it:
Judge David Ticehurst said the defendant "deliberately targeted school girls because they were vulnerable".

He said: "He was not so befuddled by alcohol that he targeted a large man or a rugby player so he was clearly thinking that clearly."
Heh! Nice one, your honour.
"In your statement to me you said 'I'm always a really friendly, nice, outgoing person'. Not to these girls you weren't.

"You said 'I'm a great dad'. Your son needs your support, not someone who takes drugs."
He handed down a sentence of two years. But we all know it’s going to be less…

Monday 24 October 2011

“Bad fish…”

Barbara Weuringer, a marine zoologist and shark researcher at the University of Western Australia, said it was impossible to know which sharks were responsible for the attacks unless their stomach contents were examined. She said the proposed cull "sounds a little bit like taking revenge".
And as we all know, that emotion is restricted to man, despite what Michael Caine might have to say about it.

The problem is that the method of tracking down the ‘rogue’ shark or sharks is imprecise and risks catching any shark in the vicinity. The sea holds no pugmarks, even if sharks ever left any…

But that cuts no ice with those who, like Amity Island’s fictional mayor, derive their livelihood from tourism. Including this chap:
However, a diving tourism operator, Terry Howson, said: "The problem sharks that move into an area and are aggressive should be dispatched to remove the risks of future attack. It's absolutely hurting the tourist trade. Australia is getting a name for itself as being full of dangerous animals."

And remember, it’s the shark’s territory. Man is just a visitor.

You’d Be Better Off Getting Hannibal Lecter To Babysit…

A babysitter bit, scratched, gouged, burned and throttled a three-year-old boy because he would not stop crying.
If you think that’s rather unusual for a licensed babysitter or even a friend of the family helping out, well, don’t worry. We are deep into underclass territory with this one.
The boy, who is from Chelmsford, is now four and under the care of social services, but he cannot be named for legal reasons.

In February this year, his mother left him with Victory, who drank vodka and beer and smoked cannabis regularly for the four weeks the boy stayed with her.
Yes, four weeks. That’s stretching the term ‘babysitting’ into something the term was surely never intended to encompass…

Victory’s unsuitability to be in charge of a child should have been obvious to anyone who wasn’t….well, just like her, so it’s not too surprising that the SS have taken the child:
When she called 999 on February 28, she told the emergency services her own daughter had been playing a game with the boy that involved a scarf being tied around his neck.

"This defendant later, after she had told many lies, admitted that she had strangled him that night and had worried that she might have killed him, but the paramedics saw many other injuries as well," said Mr Jackson.

"She was interviewed extensively under caution. She began by explaining the injuries as a mixture of accident and laying the blame at the door of her own daughter, but after some time under interview she decided to start telling the truth.

"She told police that one night after the boy had soiled himself, 'I dragged him into the bedroom and asked why he hadn't asked to go to the toilet.

"'He spat his drink everywhere and I just went into a frenzy'."
Depressing reading…

I wonder if the SS have also taken her daughter? I would really, really hope so.
Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC will decide how long to jail Victory for next month.
Would life be too much to hope for?

Closure (Of A Sort)…

It’s always nice to get closure on a previous post, isn’t it?
Munir Yakub Patel, 22, agreed to use his position as an administration clerk at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court, Cranbrook Road, Barkingside, to avoid putting details of a traffic summons on a court database in exchange for £500.

Patel, of Green Lane, admitted the charge at Southwark Crown Court today.
Well, well, well…
Outside court, Gaon Hart, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Public corruption is an extremely serious offence that undermines public faith in the integrity of those who work in the criminal justice system.

“His conduct has brought into disrepute the criminal justice system as he sought to undermine the very laws which he was employed to uphold.”
Of course, he wasn’t sentenced straight away, oh no.
Patel was bailed until November 11 when he will be sentenced.

Judge John Price warned him he may face immediate custody.

The maximum sentence is 10 years.
One to watch.

I Rather Doubt He Ever Possessed The Ability…

A workman on a building site left a teenage apprentice unconscious and with a broken jaw after a row over a scratched work van.

Even the defence can’t find some halfway-decent mitigation for this:
Clare Evans, defending, said of her client: “He maintains that this was an incident that was isolated.
“As they began to argue the toss about whether Mr Hibbins did or did not cause the damage Mr Aldridge rather expected Mr Hibbins to say ‘all right, I did’. He said he rather lost the ability to know what to do.”
Judge Tom Corrie said he viewed the defendant’s account “with a healthy dose of scepticism” and added: “There was no excuse at all for this grotesque over-reaction.”
Reaching deep down into the Big Book Of Excuses, the defence suddenly remembered some:
Miss Evans said Aldridge, who has a previous criminal record for domestic abuse, had not had much sleep the night before the attack and his partner had recently lost a baby at 38 weeks.
Oh, well, quite understandable. Who could put the poor man behind bars after hearing that?

Certainly not the judge:
Judge Corrie gave him a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, with 12 months’ supervision, 150 hours’ unpaid work and order to pay £500 costs and £500 compensation.
As Aldridge left the dock, a member of Mr Hibbins’ family told him: “You got off light there, didn’t you? Got off very light.”
Yes. Yes, he did…

Sunday 23 October 2011

Hey, It Seems Ignorance Of The Law IS An Excuse After All!

Police are turning a blind eye to cyclists in Southend’s High Street after admitting they can’t be stopped.
Really? How fast do these cyclists go, FFS!? Can't they bring in the Interceptors?
Although the practice is outlawed, senior cops say there are not enough warning signs about the ban to justify a crackdown.
So, the police are now deciding what laws they will and won’t enforce?

It seems they are claiming that part of their problem is the confusion caused by Southend’s own bylaws:
Under the Highway Act 1835, cycling in pedestrianised areas is illegal unless it has been deemed a “shared-use” area by a council.

Breaking this rule was made punishable by a fine of £30 by the Government in 1988.

Although the High Street is technically a “shared-use” area, a separate set of Southend bylaws include a restriction on cycling.

However, the thoroughfare is confusingly included in Southend Council’s published cycling routes.
And yet, there are signs prohibiting cycling in the High Street area – I pass them every day, on my way to the train station.

Two minutes searching on Googlemaps proves this:

Here's one!

Ooh, here's another!

So this arbitrary decision by Essex Police cuts zero ice with me.

Perhaps a token percentage of their wages bill should be withheld by the council, on the basis that they aren’t fully doing the job they are being paid to do?

”…a thoughtful and caring person…”

A woman given an Asbo for annoying neighbours claims she is not a nuisance, but the victim of a bitter row.
Oh, this’ll be good. Talk about getting given enough rope to hang yourself..

*gets popcorn*

OK, continue!
… Mrs Quinney, who has lived in the street for 18 years, denied she had been tormenting neighbours and said it all flared from a row about her labrador.

She said: “We had been taking the dog for a walk when the dog chased a cat out of the front garden. The owner jumped out of the back of his vehicle, kicked the dog and swore.

“They said they thought the dog could hurt a child.”
Ah. Someone else who doesn’t think the leash laws apply to them, and that their mutt should roam at will, terrorising the neighbourhood.
Describing herself as a thoughtful and caring person
Mrs Quinney said the court case related to incidents over the past seven months and did not include anything before then. She said: “My side wasn’t put across in court. I have suffered for the past three years from torment from neighbours.

I had character references, statements and details. My solicitor didn’t read anything out and I didn’t read anything out.”
You came prepared with all this stuff, yet didn’t use it? I do have to wonder why….

Please Do Not Ask For An Unauthorised Police Check…

…as a refusal often offends can get you a criminal record:
A post office worker who asked a police officer to carry out an unauthorised police check on her future son-in-law has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
Now, who would feel a need to do that?
In February 2011 a Police officer contacted the Directorate of Professional Standards [DPS] to report the incident.

An investigation was launched resulting in Patel's arrest on 4 March.
DI Claire Moxon, from the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards, said: "Police systems contain sensitive personal information that must be kept confidential.

"The officer did exactly the right thing and reported it straight away so that we were able to take action. We will take action against anyone who asks a police officer to conduct unauthorised police checks."
Isn’t anyone wondering why she thought this particular police officer would be amenable to such a request?

Sunday Funnies

Just like little people in fur coats!

Saturday 22 October 2011

It’s Not ‘Vilification’…

…if you deserve it:
Catrina Baker, 18, hurled three-month-old terrier Poppy the length of a car with 'substantial' force, resulting in the injury that proved fatal.

The broken neck lead to the paralysis of the muscles required to breathe and Poppy died of asphyxiation, Hartlepool Magistrates' Court heard.

And why exactly did she do this?
Baker, who was nine-months pregnant at the time of the attack in June, picked up the puppy after it urinated on the settee.

Mr Ellwood told the court the animal was 'probably frightened during an argument' between Baker and her boyfriend at what was then their shared home.
*entertains murderous thoughts*
The court heard how the local authority has intervened since the incident and Baker now has restricted access to her four-month-old child.
Well, thank god for that! At last, a sensible decision…

I bet mitigation is amusing:
Neil Douglas, mitigating, said Baker was about 12 days overdue in her first pregnancy and was under stress after several arguments with her partner.

Oh, and she deserves leniency from the judge because….well, read for yourself:
'I would also touch on the effects the reports of this case have had on Miss Baker. She has been vilified locally.'
The OED defines ‘vilification’ as ‘to make vicious and defamatory statements about someone’. So, she’s not being vilified, so much as she’s reaping the disgust of society at her horrendous act.

Which could easily have been expressed much more forcefully, so really, she's got off easily:
District judge Martin Walker told Baker she will be subject to a supervision order for 18 months and must pay £200 costs.
She is banned from keeping animals for five years, although she is allowed to continue living with her mother, who has two dogs and cat, as long is she is not responsible for their care.
I’m not sure what difference that’s going to make, should she lose her temper again. Hope her mother has some very heavy dogs…

‘But I’m Special!’

Common sense went out of the window as a jobsworth parking officer dished out a ticket to a Bath charity boss on a mission of mercy who stopped for 90 seconds on double yellow lines.
Sounds like this newspaper has already made its mind up on who is in the wrong here, doesn’t it?
Cecil Weir, who is the funding manager of the Julian House, the city’s homeless shelter, was delivering a box of Christmas cards to the church’s big charity sale this week at St Michael’s Church, which is entirely surrounded by ‘no stopping’ roads in the city centre.

Mr Weir said he had parked for only a minute and a half and returned to his car to find a parking enforcement officer beginning to write out a ticket. The act of writing out the ticket took more than four minutes – three times longer than the car was going to be parked for in the first place.
Well, yes. Just as the act of clamping a car for being an obstruction means it’s there longer than it may have otherwise been.

But, so what? Should we not issue tickets? Even when they are fully deserved?
I fully admit that technically I shouldn’t have parked there, the loading bays were full and I pulled up right in front of them. I wasn’t blocking the road or anything,” he said.

I’m not looking for any special treatment….
Really? OK, pay the ticket and shut up, then.
…I just think it’s such a shame that discretion has gone out of the window.

“The purpose of having double yellow lines is to keep that road clear, but my car was there a lot longer because I got a ticket than if I could have just driven off after 90 seconds.

“I know these traffic wardens have a job to do, but it seems that they are driven by targets rather than common sense,” he said, adding that he would be appealing against his ticket.
Wait, hold on there…

Let’s have that bit above again:
I fully admit that technically I shouldn’t have parked there, the loading bays were full and I pulled up right in front of them.”
Well, that’s going to be one short appeal!

When Is A U-Turn Not A U-Turn..?

Safety signs will finally be introduced at Southend seafront’s shared space.
Well, well, well. I guess the concept doesn't work, then, Tony?
The signs, the wording of which is yet to be finalised, will warn drivers to look out for people crossing the road. They are expected to be in place within the next few weeks.
And what about that other 'shared area', the one in front of the Southend Victoria train station? Will that also get signs?
However Tony Cox, the Tory councillor responsible for transport, insisted the move was certainly not a U-turn.
Why, no! Perish the thought!
He said: “We have never said we will not introduce signs.

“Now we have listened to what people have said and taken this step.”
No, you've been forced into it by the stunning lack of success of your mad scheme. How's that knee, Tony? Jerking quite nicely now, isn't it?

Friday 21 October 2011

Another Sore Loser...

This time, though, a little bit less technically demanding game was involved:
A bar room contest of the children's game peanuts resulted in the victor having surgery after his "embarrassing defeat" of an opponent who later assaulted him.

Paul Carrick, 40, punched Barry Answorth, 58, in the in the face outside Yello Bar, city centre, fracturing his eye and cheekbones.

Still, at least he didn’t bother testing his defence’s powers of imagination too hard by pleading innocent:
Carrick, of Posterngate, Hull, claimed he could not remember the incident when he was arrested.

He pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm on the day he was due to stand trial at Hull Crown Court.
And the judge wasn’t impressed with his behaviour.
Judge Simon Jack told Carrick: "This was a serious matter. It was an unprovoked attack. You hit a man much older than you for no good reason at all.

"It is right to say you only punched him once, but it must have been a hard punch because it broke his facial bones."
So, some jail time?

Hah! Don’t be silly…
Carrick was sentenced to four months' imprisonment suspended for 12 months.
That’ll teach him.

Strange Definition Of ‘Good Character’*

A man and wife who each wed someone else in sham marriages in a bid to stay in the UK have both walked free from court.
Well, of course!
They kept their freedom because they are to give evidence against a co-accused in the scam.

Mercy Idehen, 44, a cook, and her partner, 46, were both of previous good character.
Really? How does that tally with this?
Prosecutor Stephen Parker said the defendants arrived in this country illegally in 2003/2004 from Italy and have children aged nine, 10 and 12.
Strange idea of ‘good character’, deliberately breaking a country’s residence laws…

* Yeah, I know it’s really a legal term meaning ‘You don’t have any convictions’ but still…

More ‘Rights’ We Never Knew Existed…

Crunch talks are being held in a bid to avert a blockade by 120 minicab drivers which could bring Dagenham to a standstill.
Who’d notice, if they did it at rush hour, school-run time or Saturday?

But what’s their beef, anyway?
The drivers are planning to park their cars to stop traffic on four main roads unless Barking and Dagenham’s traffic department removes yellow lines outside their offices and gives them parking bays.
They say they have been parking on the yellow lines – in breach of the Highway Code – to pick up passengers without receiving fines for years, but are now being given CCTV parking tickets.
About bloody time too!
Mark Williams, 40, said: “There are 120 drivers. They are fuming and spitting blood.

“We pay so much money each year. Black cabs can drive in bus lanes, but we can’t.

There is one rule for them and one rule for us. We all do the same job.”
Well, no. Actually, you don’t. You are minicabs, and can only be pre-booked. They are hackney cab and can be hailed on the street.

You’re patently not the same, and so have different regulations and allowances.
“We’re not asking for the world – we’re just asking for our rights.”
It’s your right to be allowed to ignore yellow lines, or have a designated parking bay?

I bet you aren’t prepared to pay for that bay, either…
The blockade has been put on hold pending the outcome of a meeting with Barking and Dagenham Council and Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, on October 21.
That’ll be interesting….

Thursday 20 October 2011

Are You Listening, Ken Clarke? Pt 2

Violent crime plunged in parts of London after the summer riots because so many thugs were locked up, police figures suggest.
What a shocker. Even the judges seem to be getting the message loud and clear.
In Croydon the number of violent offences fell 20 per cent in the four weeks after the August disturbances compared with the four weeks before.

Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell, who obtained the figures from borough police, said: "That shows very clearly that putting those offenders away has worked in reducing crime in the short term. It shows a very significant reduction.

"Rather than [the riots] being a spontaneous protest, in Croydon there was significant amount of organisation. Gang culture was certainly at the core of crime in our town."
Who doesn't know that already?
The Croydon statistics were revealed as Met figures showed that big rises in the burglary and robbery rates could have eased as more police were deployed following the riots.
So, locking up the scum and getting more police on the streets is the answer? Well, gosh, someone needs to ensure Ken Clarke is made aware of the question, then.

Of course, the usual suspects immediately mount their familiar hobby horses:
In the Commons debate on the riots, Mark Field warned of "worrying signs" of a "tipping point" where gang culture was out of control.

Mr Field, Tory MP for Cities of London & Westminster, called for more spending on activities for children out of school. "I do believe we need to look at youth community services and if we are to make a genuine long-term impact, it has to be one of the legacies of ensuring these riots don't happen again," he said.
Yes, if only this poor, disadvantaged youth had something to do, eh?
Tottenham MP David Lammy recalled the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985 when he was a boy and said it was "a tragedy" that his constituency had been hit by rioting twice in a generation.
He makes it sound as if it was a meteor strike, something totally unrelated to the people of the area…
Tory MP David Davies said more black and Asian police officers were needed so that forces were trusted more by the communities they served.
Really? You think that'll help?

Victim Of Crime?

Simon Curtis, 40, of East Road, Mersea, was at home with his family when his daughter heard his truck being stolen.

He and her boyfriend, Mark, raced outside and gave chase.

What followed was a seven-mile pursuit involving the force’s finest. Even the dog unit was drafted in to catch the culprits.
Luckily for Simon, they didn’t wind up at a traveller’s site, or it probably wouldn’t have mattered how many cops he had trailing him…
Eventually, Simon pulled over and left the chase to the police, before the truck was found abandoned on The Willows estate up against a bungalow.
Whew! A happy ending, then?
However, the recovery is not all good news for Mr Curtis, as the truck is now being checked by the forensics team – which means he cannot use it for work.

He said: “I’m a builder and I’m at home when I should be at work, so I feel more anger than relief.

I knew they wouldn’t let me have it. I just wanted to pick it up.

“Also, the insurance company said it will only give me a courtesy car if it has to be repaired, and not because the police have it.

“So I am stuck at home waiting for the police now and trying to sort out an alternative.”
Great. Even when you win, you lose out…

For A Moment There, I Got Quite Excited…

Nicholas James Hildebrand, aged 26, of Shakespeare Road, Dartford, was sentenced on Monday after admitting allowing his Staffordshire bull terrier, Banksy, to be dangerously out of control.
And his excuse for the escape of his out of control beast, who had to be dragged off an elderly man by his flatmate?
Defending Hildebrand, Giles Morrison said: “When Mr Hildebrand went out, he thought the window was closed.

“He was not well at the time and was on medication which may have stopped him from making necessary steps to make sure he was secure.

“He has expressed genuine remorse for what happened to Mr Keane and his dog.”
Well I’m sure it was genuine. It always is, when in the dock.

So what action was taken?
The court decided he should be:

1. Castrated
2. Muzzled in a public place
3. Kept on a lead of 2m or less when in public
4. Always under the control of a responsible adult of 16 years or over
5. Never taken within 100m of Priory Hill
6. To be micro-chipped
7. To wear a clearly legible ID disc with Hildebrand’s mother’s name on
8. Under the care of Hildebrand's mother until he moves to secure accommodation
WOOOOHOOOO! About time a real punishment was….

Oh. Wait.
9. His mother to take care of Banksy until Hildebrand finds a new home that is approved secure by Kent Constabulary.

I guess it was the dog they were talking about….

Sex, Lies And…Videotape?

A 20-year-old woman has been jailed today for two years after falsely claiming that she had been raped.
Yes, I know she’ll only serve half that, but it’s better than the usual ‘punishment’…
Horrocks, who was 19 at the time, who had no previous convictions, only admitted perverting the course of justice last month.

Horrocks underwent a full medical examination and over several days was video interviewed by trained officers, and gave a lengthy and detailed account of her ordeal, all of which proved to be false.
Bill her for the wasted time then!

How did they reach the conclusion that she was lying? Well….
Mr Flynn, who is from Rochdale, presented videotapes of him having sex with Horrocks to police to prove that sex between the pair had been consensual.

So, he claimed to be ‘embarrassed’ about being accused of rape, but had no problems videoing himself in the act…

He doesn’t really come out of this too well himself, does he?

Mitigation’ll be good…
Kathryn Pierpoint, defending, said her client was 'very remorseful' for her actions and now wished to apologise directly to Mr Flynn.

She now understood the gravity of her conduct but had been a 'very immature young woman' at the time of the offence.
Well, of course!
Miss Pierpoint said that Horrocks had come from a troubled background, moving around the country before returning to Burnley, and had made efforts to secure qualifications with little or no family support.
Which seemed to incite the lone commenter at the time of writing:
Cfoster93 says...

This is a load of sick lies! You people disgust me. You just twist the story to make it sound as bad as possible. As for 'with little or no family support' did you even research this or just put it because you thought it sounded good?!
Well, it already sounds pretty bad, but not – I suggest – because the paper has needed to ‘twist’ any of the salient details.

As for the veracity of the defence claim, I rather think that’s up to the courts to verify, not the newspaper…

Meanwhile, over at Angry Exile’s, it seems the Aussie sheilas have been holding their end up in the fake rape claim stakes too…

H/T: Bucko & Curmudgeon via email

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Driving Miss Daisy Caroline

A 76-year-old gran who led police on the slowest-ever car chase on the A12 is appealing against her driving ban.
I thought pensioners were all hard up?
Caroline Turner’s legal fight is being funded by sales of a game, designed by a friend, that challenges players to get round the board without being disqualified from driving.!
She said: “I feel totally demoralised. The sentence was harsh and unjust.”
Ummm, no. Not really. You could have killed someone. Possibly even yourself.
Friend and game creator Andrew Tucker is helping her with legal fees by donating £2.50 from each sale of Disqualified.

He said: “She has spoken to solicitors to see what can be done.

I accept she did make an error and so does she.

“But the way they dealt with it was far too strong for an old lady who was visibly frail.”
She might have been 'visibly frail', but the near-tonne of steel and carbon-fibre she was driving wasn't, was it?

And no, running alongside the car wasn't 'far too strong'; in fact, she was treated with (comparative) kid gloves.

They could have done much, much more.

An Everyday Story Of Lincoln Folk…

A mum-of-three headbutted a woman and minutes later sent her a threatening message, Lincoln Magistrates' Court heard.
Shelly Hubbard, 27, of Halton Close, Lincoln, carried out the assault after seeing the victim, who had previously dated Hubbard's sister's boyfriend, in Wahoo bar in Silver Street, Lincoln.
This is, I think, one of those stories I might need to draw a diagram to follow…
Defence solicitor Bill Miller said: "She accepts that she headbutted the complainant after being slapped by her. She accepts that her reaction was over the top and she is ashamed by her behaviour and offers her apologies to the victim."
Well, of course she does, She’s in the dock!
Magistrate Geoffrey Gowland said: "You're well aware by now the seriousness of assault and the court deems them most seriously.

"Quite a lot of them go to custody. You have got three children and you have got to think what the consequences would be if you go to custody. You have got to stop letting your feelings get away from you.

"You need to think twice before you act as another appearance in court might not be so lenient."
Oh, magistrate, you tease! Of course it’ll be as lenient…
She was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a 12-month supervision order attached and ordered to attend a ten-day drink awareness course.

She was also given a curfew order for three months, banning her from going out on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, and ordered to pay £150 compensation.
And if the name and/or picture sounds familiar, well…
A boy aged two has become the youngest Briton ever to be threatened with an Asbo.

Lennon Poyser received the warning along with his sisters Olivia, five, and four-year-old Megan, after neighbours complained about their behaviour.

The three tiny tearaways have been accused of verbally abusing adult residents and damaging property.

But mother Shelly Hubbard, 24, claims her children are physically incapable of the crimes they have been accused of.
Mrs Hubbard, of Lincoln, said: 'I couldn't believe what I was hearing. They were accusing my tiny son of being an instigator of anti-social behaviour. It's ridiculous.

'When he's out playing in the park he's preoccupied with his sister's push chair and children's book In the Night Garden. He's the furthest you get from a hell-raiser.

'He does kick a football but it's tiny and plastic and blows back to him in the wind. The very notion of him being able to kick a proper football over a 7ft fence is laughable.'
As is the very notion that he can expect his mother to be a good role model…

This Sort Of Thing Drives Me Mad!

Terms like "bipolar", "autistic" and "schizophrenic" are often used in jest to describe character traits. But how harmful is it to bandy the names of such conditions about?
Note the phrasing; ‘how harmful is it?’, not ‘is it harmful?’…
The neighbour who keeps his house tidy has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). A socially awkward colleague is autistic. The weather isn't just changeable, it's bipolar.
I have to say, that’s not a term I’ve ever used about the weather…
Such analogies are so familiar they surely qualify as cliches. They are also inaccurate and, to many, deeply offensive.
Ah. Here we are with the ‘giving of offence’ again. Surely this decade’s Eighth Deadly Sin...

So, who’s driving this?
Arun Chopra, a consultant psychiatrist at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham and the author of the British research, believes the tendency has a negative impact on the treatment of patients.
Shouldn’t he be, I dunno, treating them? Rather than worrying about language?
He argues that deploying terms in such a way contributes to public misunderstanding - for instance, reinforcing the false notion that schizophrenia is a "Jekyll and Hyde" illness related to split personalities.

Moreover, he says it can be deeply upsetting to patients and their families, and recalls seeing a woman whose son was diagnosed with the condition bursting into tears when she read a newspaper article which described the weather as "schizophrenic".
Sounds like she could do with some therapy…
"You would never hear it used in relation to a physical condition. You wouldn't hear someone being described as a bit diabetic."
Ahem: ‘lame duck economy’, ‘deaf to the consequences’, ‘crippled with doubt’, anyone..?
… he says he would like the Oxford English Dictionary to remove its secondary definition of schizophrenic: "With the implication of mutually contradictory or inconsistent elements".
I’d like a pony. I’m not likely to get one.
However, not all those affected by frequently misapplied conditions object to their use in this manner.

The Daily Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon, who has been diagnosed with OCD, says she frequently has to point out that her disorder involves more than simply cleaning her house.

But she feels that attempting to clamp down on this kind of use of the term veers close to political correctness - and, moreover, that she is grateful the condition is, at least, widely discussed.
Oh, what does she know? She should shut up and let Dr Feelgood make all her decisions for her….

H/T Bucko, who wonders if there's a mental health issue to tag those who have such a sense of humour failure about this sort of thing.

Keeping Us All Scared…

Aspiring crime fighters helped bus users keep safe on their way home in the evening.
If that language conjures up images of sub-par ‘Batmanesque’ figures helping Granny to step down safely from the No.27, well, think again…
Barking and Dagenham Police cadets spent four hours handing out safety tips and purse chains at Sainsbury in the High Road, Chadwell Heath, on October 1.
And those ‘safety tips’?
The cadets urged shoppers to plan their journey in advance, have their travelcard ready, stay on the lower deck of a bus near the driver when they feel nervous, use passenger alarms if they feel threatened and beware of unlicensed minicab drivers.
Whew! Don’t have nightmares!
Safer Neighbourhood Team Sgt Ian Lee said: “Our cadets worked hard to get shoppers and bus travellers thinking about what makes them vulnerable.”
Yes, clearly you did..!

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Awwww, Diddums!

A graduate who avoided jail after handing herself in for stealing a television during the London riots said today her life had been made "hell".
By…some unknown third party, presumably. Couldn’t possibly have been her own actions, dear me no.
Her mother, Pamela, said she now wanted to try to get on with her life. "All she wants is to forget it and put it all behind her," she said.
Yes, so would I, I suppose, if I’d committed a crime.

That’s probably why I don’t…

Hyperbole Corner

Which events in London during 2011 will bring most lasting disgrace to the capital, and to the nation?
Well, the riots. Surely?
The teenage rioters who plundered fashion outlets presented a dismal spectacle. But many will grow up and look back on those moments of madness with embarrassment.
Yeeees, because that’s all it was, right? Just a ‘moment of madness’? Not organised greed and thuggery…

So, what’s top of your list, then?
The members and overpaid senior officers of Labour-run Brent Council have no excuses of youth, despair or deprivation. These boorish jobsworths have committed vandalism of a graver sort.
Graver than burning down businesses and killing people? Really?!

What the hell have they done, because I’m pretty sure it’s not made the papers?!
Not content with winning the High Court case last week that sought to halt the closure of six branch libraries, Brent council – with indecent haste – dispatched wrecking crews.
Oh. That’s it? They argued their case before a judge and won? Those barbarians...
On Thursday they were sent around the borough to board up buildings that for more than a century have brought enlightenment and inspiration to residents.
Enlightenment, inspiration, and Catherine Cookson novels….
Of course, the library service requires reform. Many options exist to refresh dowdy branches.
Oh, indeed there are. I've highlighted a few in this very blog. And they tend to drive away as many people as they attract, so it’s really a losing proposition all round.
For now, though, the Brent campaigners must be allowed to challenge this official crime against an entire community. And their appeal must prevail.
Must it? Well, we’ll see….