Scum and Mail-watch: The lies and excuses of both the police and gutter press.
Another day breaks, and the tabloids are again united in shrieking at the Human Rights Act, when they should in fact be shouting at the police, the reality of overcrowding in prisons and their own hand in creating that exact situation.
Possibly prompted by an article in the Torygraph from last year, Derbyshire police supposedly defended their decision not to release the photographs of two murderers who have absconded from open prison with the following statement, taken here from the main Scum article:
They've since claimed they were "misquoted", but this is plainly an excuse for not acting sooner, and possibly mislaying the photographs of the two men who have gone missing.
“When making a decision to release any photograph, police forces must take into account numerous factors including the public interest test, whether there is a strong local policing purpose and, of course, the Human Rights and Data Protection Acts."
Not missing a trick, the Mail and especially the Sun have taken this as a great opportunity to bash the Human Rights Act, even though they've quoted both Charles Falconer and Shami Chakrabarti as saying that the Human Rights Act in fact provides the exact measures for those who have been deprived of their liberty to be apprehended, here in Article 5, the right to liberty and security:
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:And if this wasn't enough, then Article 8 additionally makes clear how these men have no right to the protections provided there either:
(a) the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;
(b) the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;
(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.The mistake may have been through a misreading of the ACPO guidelines (PDF), as Not Saussure points out, which are written with "suspects" in mind, and even then Article 8 is pretty clear that if there's a real risk to public safety then so-called "wanted posters" are permissible. The confusion may also have been down to the opposition lead by Liberty to those given anti-social behaviour orders being "named and shamed", which is mainly on the grounds that doing so doesn't help in the first place, especially as ASBOs are increasingly being seen by some as a "badge of honour". As Linda Smith joked, an ASBO may be the only qualification that some of those given them ever get.
Only when we get to the end of the Mail article do they actually bother printing the corrected statement from Derbyshire police:
In a new statement the force said: 'This decision was based on the fact that there was no policing purpose to be served by the release of these photographs in Derbyshire, as inquiries indicated that Croft and Nixon had fled the county and posed no risk to Derbyshire residents.This still doesn't explain why Derbyshire police didn't bother to even contact the victims' families, or release profiles/photographs of the men as soon as they were informed that the men had escaped. Either they're incompetent, weren't informed soon enough or they'd lost/not been given the men's details. Greater Manchester police have now released images of the two.
'Derbyshire Constabulary would like to strongly point out that the human rights of the individuals in question had no bearing and were not the reason the pictures were not released.
'In making this decision the rights and safety of the public will always come before those of convicted offenders.'
Not that this has stopped blatant lies from appearing in both the Mail and Sun's articles:
Last year the government admitted public protection had to be given greater priority in the Human Rights Act after serial sex attacker Anthony Rice murdered a woman after using the Act to help secure his release from prison.No they didn't and no he didn't. Instead ministers and others wrongly blamed the Human Rights Act, as a report by the joint human rights committee found:
The Mail also doesn't mention that Verna Bryant, the mother of the woman killed by Rice, has herself since been successful in using the Human Rights Act to win an inquest into the death of her daughter. It didn't report her win in the high court, but it did report her intentions to do so. The Sun has done neither.
The Anthony Rice case. The chief inspector of probation blamed the mistaken release of the convicted murder on licence on the fact that public protection considerations were undermined by human rights considerations. The MPs and peers, however, found that the official inquiry into the case fails to reveal any real evidence that public safety was prejudiced by the Human Rights Act.
The Sun also got dear old Norman Brennan, the rent-a-quote robocop who runs both the Victims of Crime Trust and the "Protect the Protectors" campaign (i.e. arming all cops so they can shoot more innocent people in the head 7 times) to comment:
“This is just another bizarre episode in the way the Human Rights Act seems to benefit criminals rather than law-abiding members of the public.Obviously never heard of Verna Bryant then, or the woman who succeeded in stopping those accused of rape from extensively cross-examining the alleged victim. Then again, this is Norman Brennan, who recently has had his accounts questioned, who previously supported the release of a vigilante, and said this in the aftermath of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes:
"The long and the short of it is that this country is at war with terrorists and in war there are casualties. Normally in the majority of cases it is the enemy but innocent people will suffer. I am afraid it is tragic but that is part of any battle.How true, and I'm sure de Menezes's family appreciated the lies, distortions and smears which resulted from him being misidentified and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Scum's leader though is the real villian of this piece:
IT is a law that puts the interests of the guilty above those of the innocent.Here's a challenge for Rebekah Wade, because I'm sure you're reading. If you can point out how any of the 18 chapters of the Human Rights Act put the interests of the guilty above the innocent, then I'll stop calling you a traitor. Do we have a deal?
It protects terrorists rather than the lives of people they want to blow to smithereens.As opposed to protecting the wider public from detention without charge, and the rights of those who have their lives restricted by control orders when no evidence has ever been presented to them, then yes, the Human Rights Act does protect "terrorists".
The Sun is here blaming something that no evidence has been presented for happening on something that they're blaming the whole downfall of British society on, i.e. the HRA.
It creates an atmosphere where a murder suspect can skip the country with his face hidden by a Muslim woman’s veil.
Welcome to the crazy world of the Human Rights Act, quoted by idiots at Derbyshire Police as one reason they refused to release photographs of two vicious murderers who escaped from jail TWO MONTHS ago.
Once the stupidity of this excuse was exposed, there was a crashing sound as Government ministers and cops went into reverse gear.
Err, there was? The cops did, because their pathetic excuse had been rumbled. Lord Falconer actually stood up for the Human Rights Act for a change, making it clear that he wanted a proper explanation for why they hadn't beeen released sooner. Anyway, I thought this was the fault of the Human Rights Act, not "idiots" in Derbyshire?
It beggars belief that police — paid to protect the public — can become so foolishly obsessed with political correctness that they arrogantly put the “human rights” of murderers before doing their duty.Or, rather, that the Sun blames political correctness for the police making excuses for why they aren't doing their job properly.
This Government reckons that the 1998 law and the signing of the European Human Rights Convention is one of its proudest achievements.And for once the government is right, it is.
In fact, letting British laws be determined by unelected judges and a ludicrous court in Strasbourg is an insult to our democracy.Quite right. Our politicians, elected on 22% of the popular vote should instead be the last word on the deprivation of liberty, deciding what sentences should be given those convicted of crime and whether or not today's page 3 stunna is worth taking into the toilet during lunch.
Restoring common sense to our justice system is one of the great challenges facing Gordon Brown when he takes over in Downing Street.Indeed. Seeing as the Sun has such a wonderful record on bringing common sense to the justice system and to prisons, here's hoping that Gordon Brown has many more lunches to have with both Mr Murdoch and dearest, doe-eyed Rebekah.
BlairWatch - Wanted Posters and the Human Rights Act