Monday 22 October 2007

Bring in voting for Judges

What we need in this country is to vote the judges into being allowed to hear cases.

At the moment the Judicial appointments in the UK are, and have been, primarily by the Lord Chancellor. The judicial appointments commitee is a joke. As the Lord Chancellor is a Labour apointee serving the Labour government then we get judges that are up the arse of the government that appoints them.

At the moment the system is designed to fast track - Yep, you guessed it - ethnic minorities and others as Judges.

The fact that Keith Vaz, one of the most bent politicians in Parliament, is the chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee makes the process even more farsical.

Alexandra Marks, a solicitor with Linklaters who has succeeded in being appointed a recorder, told the inquiry by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee under Keith Vaz, MP, that progress had been made at the lower judicial rungs but on the more senior levels - and in particular the post of recorder - there were “real problems”, she said. “The conception is that the district judgeship is the glass ceiling.”

She later said: "Although the Ministry of Justice cites figures showing more women, ethnic minorities and solicitors generally being appointed to judicial posts, most of these are at the lower levels, such as to tribunals. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is the position of recorder that is the stepping-stone to the senior judiciary. Tribunal posts rarely lead to senior judicial posts."

Up until a few years appointment to be a judge was based on what public school you went too - now its what political party you support and what colour you are.

If anyone calls that an improvement then they are barking.

Apart from the government, the primary reason why our country is so fucked up is because of the Judges.

Following the Gramsci method many leftists infiltrated the legal system in the past so as to use the law to change society they way they wanted it to be changed.

This is why we get the judges using the law as a political platform.

We even have the farsical situation that Judges issue reports on how their chums in the judicary are doing their jobs, like here on 22 June 2007 Sir Igor Judge, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Head of Criminal Justice has responded to the release by the Attorney General’s Office of statistics on references to the Court of Appeal of what he regarded as unduly lenient sentences imposed in the Crown Court.

Sir Igor Judge, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Head of Criminal Justice has responded to the release by the Attorney General’s Office of statistics on references to the Court of Appeal of what he regarded as unduly lenient sentences imposed in the Crown Court.

Sir Igor said:

"The right conclusion to draw from the statistics is that the system is working as intended.

“This information shows that from time to time sentencing decisions are made which the Court of Appeal considers are wrong. Accordingly they are corrected.

“Only around 100 cases were referred in the last year, and they did not all lead to an increased sentence. To provide some context there are around 80,000 cases dealt with in the Crown Court in any one year . "

Oh thats alright then is it Igor, everything is fine.

There is no other British institution that operates with the unassailable power that the judiciary wields. Its unelected practitioners are largely untouchable, unaccountable and unpunishable. There are many good, and some great, judges; but the worst are an affront to justice and give the judiciary as a whole a bad name.
In the past five years Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, has referred 501 sentences to the Court of Appeal because they were felt to be unfair and in need of adjustment.

Although these cases include a range of offences such as rape, people trafficking and street robbery, many involve serious child abuse. Overall, 373 sentences were found by the Court of Appeal to be unduly lenient. In 303 cases sentences were increased. About 70% of sentences were extended in child abuse cases.

Not every sentence increased by the Court of Appeal is due to a judicial error. But there are no real professional consequences for judges whose mistakes result in their sentences being regularly questioned and overturned. There is no red card system or judicial sin bin for blundering judges who time after time let serious criminals off too lightly. There should be. Repeat offenders should be banned from the bench — by their own colleagues in the Court of Appeal — for extended periods.

What does a judge have to do — or fail to do — to be suspended or removed from office? Moreover, once he or she is proved to be incapable, who makes the decision that it is time to go? The mere fact of having made decisions that had been reversed on appeal does not constitute incapacity or misbehaviour. Even a criminal conviction, such as drink-driving, does not automatically mean expulsion.

Only the Queen can dismiss a High Court judge, and only then after a motion from both houses of parliament. More junior judges may be dismissed by the lord chancellor — but only, it seems, if a judge has completely lost his or her marbles or misbehaved so badly that he or she can no longer credibly sit in a court of law.

The current system of appraisal and scrutiny is still pretty primitive. A furious headline in a tabloid newspaper is usually the worst that can happen to a judge. Some lobby and victim support groups list the names of judges who have consistently sentenced rapists and paedophiles to prison terms so low that the Court of Appeal is required again and again to increase them. But that appears to be it.

The new sentencing guidelines council should help to reduce the number of judges passing inappropriate sentences by providing clearer and tighter guidelines, but there is no shaming process or serious consequence for the judge whose sentences are regularly referred to the Court of Appeal.

Some of the sentences handed down for the crimes that most appal society are so inadequate that they undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and compound the anguish already felt by victims. One vivid recent example concerns the man who received a three-year community rehabilitation order for six counts of indecent assault against his seven-year-old daughter. Richard Benson, the circuit judge, described the case as being at “the more bland end of the spectrum”. In a separate case, Benson sentenced a man to less than four years in prison for raping his stepdaughter more than 100 times. The attorney-general intervened and the Court of Appeal increased both sentences.

In another particularly nasty case, a man convicted of raping a 13-month-old baby and possessing indecent images of children received a five-year prison sentence. No crime offends society more than those against children. But how sensitive are our judges to the public mood? A rare example of a judge subjecting himself to public grilling was John Gower, who sentenced the paedophile Roy Whiting to four years in 1995 for the sexual assault of a little girl. Although Whiting went on to murder Sarah Payne, having served just over two years, Gower described criticism that the original sentence was too short as “water off a duck’s back”.

After Judge Gabriel Hutton fell asleep twice during a rape trial in 2001, causing it to be abandoned at immeasurable cost to the victim and £35,000 to the taxpayer, his punishment was a rebuke from the lord chancellor. In all, 37 of his cases were successfully appealed before his retirement.

Are the men and women on the bench arrogant, grandly and necessarily aloof, hopelessly isolated, or simply independently objective? The answer is probably yes on all counts. Judges need to know their actions will have consequences for them. The public also needs to know what power it has to seek redress.

It is little known that anyone can complain about a bad sentence to the attorney-general or the solicitor-general. Not only do courts usually fail to publicise this right of appeal, there is also an absolute 28-day deadline for making one. All days count, including weekends and bank holidays. In practice, that means the parents of a child raped by a paedophile have only days to act after sentence is passed. Many are just too traumatised to face this.,,1796332,00.html

Craig Sweeney, 24, was jailed for life at Cardiff crown court for the kidnapping and sexual assault of a three-year-old girl, but was told he could be considered for parole after five years and 108 days.

More than 100 criminals, including murderers and sex offenders, had their sentences increased last year because judges were "unduly lenient", figures showed yesterday. The number was 40 more than in 2005 and will re-ignite the row over "soft judges". The figures, issued by the office of Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, also included a roll-call of judges who handed down what turned out to be light sentences.

Lord Goldsmith took 143 offenders to the Court of Appeal under his powers to challenge sentences considered not harsh enough. In 113 cases, the sentence was judged to be unduly lenient and in 108 cases it was increased. This number was the highest in the last six years.

Sentences were increased in seven murder cases, seven manslaughters, 24 cases involving sex abuse, 20 robberies, seven firearms crimes, 18 drugs offences and six deaths by dangerous driving.

Judges dealing with sexual offenders were most likely to let offenders off too lightly, the figures revealed.

Judge Addison, at Guildford, passed a suspended sentence of nine months on a swimming instructor who sexually touched two eight-year-old girls on two occasions. The Court of Appeal increased this to six months' immediate imprisonment followed by 18 months on supervision.

The same judge gave another offender nine months for a sexual assault; this was put up to three years.

An offender jailed for two years by Judge Rucker at Truro for six indecent assaults had his sentence increased to five years.

A six-year sentence for five indecent assaults and one sexual assault passed by Judge Coleman at Peterborough was increased to nine years.

Judge Hume-Jones, sitting in Taunton, gave a community rehabilitation sentence to a man convicted of three rapes. This was increased to two years' imprisonment.

Among other cases in which judges sentenced too leniently was that of a lorry driver who killed two people by overtaking dangerously. He had a three-year sentence, passed by Judge Matthews at Hereford, increased to five-and-a-half years.

And a teenager who caused the deaths of two people by dangerous driving was given 200 hours of unpaid work by Judge Moore in Sheffield; this was increased to 12 months' detention.

Keith Fenn, 24, was given concurrent two-year and 18-month jail sentences at Oxford Crown Court by Judge Julian Hall for two attacks on a 10-year-old girl in a park. But because of the amount of time Fenn has already spent in prison awaiting sentence, Fenn could be free in a few months time. The sentence was condemned by one MP as "pathetically lenient".

The Attorney General Lord Goldsmith acted after Tory backbencher Mike Penning wrote to him protesting about Fenn's treatment. A spokesman for Lord Goldsmith said: "He has asked for the papers from the CPS so he can consider whether or not to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient."

But the real villain of the peace is Judge Julian Hall, at the centre of a storm over the "pathetically" lenient sentence he imposed after hearing that the girl had appeared much older than her age. He said Fenn's young victim had "dressed provocatively" – a statement which sparked public condemnation. Fenn could have been jailed for life after twice attacking the girl in a riverside park but Judge Hall took pity on him after hearing that the girl had appeared much older than her age.

The same judge caused uproar earlier this year by setting free another paedophile and telling him to give his victim money "to buy a nice new bicycle". What on earth a bicycle would do to alleviate the victim’s mental anguish is quite beyond reason and the judge’s own state of mind should be examined.

There was fury last night as a failed asylum seeker who was jailed for just four months after he killed a schoolgirl while driving while banned mocked justice yet again.

Aso Mohammed Ibrahim was jailed after he knocked down and left 12-year-old Amy Houston to die in the street in 2003.

The Iraqi Kurd was already on bail for driving while disqualified and had twice been banned from driving when he ran off leaving the schoolgirl trapped beneath the wheels of his black Rover.

But yesterday Ibrahim walked free from court after he again pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified.

Remember the tragedy of the nine year old Callum Oakford who was killed by a speeding illegal immigrant who fled the scene after the accident on new Year’s Day 2004 in Sussex. The police did a good job of tracking down Kamel Kadri, an Algerian who had no licence, no MoT and no insurance. Kadri abandoned the car and disposed of the keys. He came to Britain using a stolen passport and his asylum claim was rejected but he remained in the country. Alarmingly he was charged with only minor motoring offences and sentenced to just 8 months for failing to stop after an accident. Kadri was given a further 16 months for having a false passport and banned for driving for two years.

24 hours later the sentence of 8 months was reduced because the judge had exceeded his powers. The maximum sentence he could impose under the current law for failing to stop is 6 months. Callum's family is understandably outraged by this injustice.

Three asylum seekers were charged in Northampton in February 2004 with causing the death of 26 year old teacher, Deborah Peaty. She was seven months pregnant but sadly her daughter Charlotte who was delivered in hospital immediately after the crash did not survive either. Speaking through an interpreter, Sri Lakan Ratnam Yogan and two others entered a plea of not guilty. They were remanded on bail while the case was adjourned.

In February 2004 Yogan fled from Britain while on bail. A serious blunder by the authorities meant that he was not forced to hand over his travel documents allowing easy passage from the UK to escape the trial and whatever punishment he was going to receive. To make matters worse a second asylum seeker involved with the tragic accident has also skipped bail. The police wisely opposed bail a judge thought it was perfectly safe to allow the killers several weeks of freedom in the hope they would willingly return to court to face trial. Police across Europe have been asked to keep an eye out for the wanted men.

A failed asylum seeker was jailed for just four months for killing 12 year old Amy Houston in Blackburn, Lancashire after a hit and run incident in November 2003. Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, a Kurdish Iraqi, got behind the wheel despite being disqualified and having no insurance. Amy's father said "He's laughing at the justice system and he is laughing at every decent person in this country. He will be back on the streets in two months while we face a life sentence." The magistrates, who could only impose a maximum six-month jail term, gave Ibriahim credit for an early guilty plea.

A father of two was killed by Nana Kemajou, a 30 year old illegal migrant from Cameroon. Kemajou was speeding at 90mph when he hit the back of Paul Firtchley's car in January 2004. Kemajou was given a sentence of only two and a half years. Judge Jamie Tabor claimed the sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving where the aggravating factor is speeding has a maximum of just 3 years. Kemajou had been living in Gloucester under the name of a French national and used a bogus National Insurance number to get a job at a dairy. He had no license and no insurance and blamed the accident on Mr. Fritchley despite witnesses saying otherwise.

A twice-failed Iraqi asylum seeker has been jailed for his part in the “terrifying and degrading” gang rape of a Blackpool schoolgirl.

Awat Ahmed, 27, of Cookson Street, will serve at least five years in prison after being found guilty of raping the 15-year-old by Lancaster Crown Court in May this year.
Judge Andrew Blake, ordered that Ahmed be deported after serving his sentence.
The court heard how Ahmed, is believed to be one of four men who took it in turns to systematically rape the girl after meeting her at the Better Burger takeaway, on the Promenade, and tricking her into accompanying them, by car, to a house on Caroline Street in the town on May 17th last year.

A judge has attacked the failings in immigration controls that allowed a failed asylum seeker to remain free for more than two years after he committed an "appalling and brutal" rape.

Judge David Rennie, who jailed Latif Karim, a 38-year-old Iraqi, for six years last month (22nd May) said that the assailant had been "invisible" to the authorities, even after being arrested for a motoring offence and identified as the rapist by his DNA.

A week-long trial had heard that Karim arrived at Dover in 2000 and claimed asylum. In October, 2002, he attacked his victim after barging his way into a flat in Eastbourne and, the following month, was ordered out of the country following rejection of his asylum claim.
The judge also said that, had the jury at Lewes Crown Court acquitted Karim, he would probably have been allowed by the immigration service to disappear once more because of the "confusion" that surrounded such cases.,000/

A failed asylum seeker jailed for child rape is to receive around £50,000 in damages after a judge ruled he had been unlawfully kept behind bars while the Home Office tried to deport him to Somalia.

He won the payout despite being offered the opportunity to go voluntarily - but he preferred to stay in a British prison with free bed and board.

The pay-out is all the more astonishing because the authorities effectively have little choice but to keep him in prison.

He cannot be let out on to the streets in Britain because he is considered a danger to the public - especially women.

But equally, it is very difficult to deported him back to Somalia, despite failing in his asylum application.

Until July no airline was willing to fly compulsory deportees there, and only one will do so now - but it is dealing with a backlog. The man himself, meanwhile, refuses to go voluntarily because he says it is too dangerous for him back home.

He has, in effect, elected to stay in Britain - yet is claiming compensation for doing so. All the while, on top of his £50,000 damages and £100,000 legal fees paid by the taxpayer, he is costing more than £37,000 a year to keep in prison.

His stay in prison beyond his sentence has already cost well over £100,000 to the taxpayer. And he is also entitled to remain anonymous in the media.

This is because the Court of Appeal follows the convention in other European courts that publicly naming asylum seekers may put them at danger from those they may be fleeing from.

The 30-year-old entered Britain illegally on a false Kenyan passport in 1995, and within three years had raped a 13-year old girl at knifepoint. Probation officers warned that if freed he might stalk his victim and attack her again, and that he poses a risk to all women, and the public in general.,,2155011,00.html

A high court judge has ordered Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, to stop sending failed asylum seekers back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mr Justice Collins heard evidence that some of those who had been returned by the UK had suffered rape and torture at the hands of officials or agents after arriving at Kinshasa by charter plane in February.

The deportation of hundreds of Darfuri asylum-seekers was halted yesterday after three judges ruled that the conditions in camps near Khartoum were “unduly harsh”.

John Reid, the Home Secretary, lost his attempt to continue removing failed asylum-seekers to squatter areas or refugee camps near the capital of Sudan. He suffered another setback when the Court of Appeal refused him permission to take the case to the House of Lords.

A High Court judge has stepped in to stop the deportation from the UK of a failed Zimbabwean asylum seeker who is on hunger strike.
The 26-year-old woman, being held at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, had been told she would be put on a flight to Harare on Saturday night.

The removal of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe has been suspended, the UK Home Office has confirmed.
Deportations will stop until after High Court hearings to test their legality.

Some Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers say they are in danger of being ill-treated if they return home because they claimed asylum in the UK.

The Home Office said it took the decision after two judges had commented on the cases - to be heard on August 4 - but overall policy has not changed.

Hunger strike

Mr Justice Collins has appealed to Home Secretary Charles Clarke to block all deportations until the test cases had taken place.

A High Court judge has called on the government to restore the payment of state benefits to asylum seekers until he passes judgement in six test cases.
Mr Justice Collins urged Home Secretary David Blunkett to "adopt a liberal approach" as he reserved judgment after a two-day hearing in London.,,1711908,00.html

A high court judge yesterday delivered a stinging attack on America, saying its idea of what constituted torture was out of step with that of "most civilised nations".
The criticism, directed at the Bush administration's approach to human rights, was made by Mr Justice Collins during a hearing over the refusal by ministers to request the release of three British residents held at Guantánamo Bay.


youdontknowme said...

I don't think judges should be elected. I think they should be stripped of the majority of their powers and the majority should have a large pay cut.

It should be the jury that decides sentences. You don't need to have judges elected when it is the public that is deciding what term the criminals will get.

Seeing as the judges then lose most of their power I would then give them a pay cut and pay them between £15,000 - £30,000 depending upon experience. Seeing as I have the more than halved the judge salary bill I would then double the number of judges (they would need less qualifications because they would basically be referees) which would speed up access to justice

Defender of Liberty said...

Good ideas - I like the jury gives the sentence idea - thats real Community Justice and something I fully endorse.

Worth looking at those as real proposals as per policies.

Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

lee john barnes said...
Good ideas - I like the jury gives the sentence idea - that's real Community Justice and something I fully endorse.

Bad idea. By the law of averages, the majority of people who sit on Juries are the same people who either vote Lib-Lab-Con at election time thereby supporting their own destruction or don't bother to vote at all which is almost as bad (70% of the population don't vote). These people are so dumb that they can't see that their country is being taken away from them, yet you think they are capable of making a sound judgement in a court of law!

I've had experience of Juries. I once sat on a Jury at the Old Bailey and what I learn't was that a lot of people lack basic common sense.

Judges conform to the society in which they serve. With a right wing government in power, Judges would be appointed with right wing views and sentences would be a lot tougher including the option of imposing the death penalty which I support. Any Judge that was found to be lenient would be out of a job.

Defender of Liberty said...

The labour government was elected into power with the support of just 20 % of the electorate - the fact that 80 % think the labour party are rubbish is good news for the Community Justice plan.

I think that Juries are composed of the silent majority that despise political correctness and would therefore give better verdicts - the people are the real power, not the minority in power.