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Monday, October 04, 2010

Coalition waving white flag on prisoners votes?

Coalition waving white flag on prisoners votes?

According to the Daily Mail...

Britain's most evil inmates get vote as Coalition gives up fight against EU order

The first thing to note is that Hirst v UK (No2), the Prisoners Votes Case, applies to the whole of the UK and not just to Britain. Secondly, I would question whether anybody is evil. There are evil acts committed by some people, for example, David Miliband authorising the CIA to torture British subjects, but this does not make the person evil. Thirdly, the Council of Europe is a separate institution to the EU and it is the CoE which is putting the political pressure on the UK to comply with my case.

And, that just dealing with the headline.

"Britain's most evil criminals, including Ian Huntley, must be given the vote by next May.

Eurocrats are insisting that all prisoners, no matter how notorious, have a right to take part in elections.

If ministers refuse, they face the prospect of paying paedophiles, murderers and rapists £750 each in compensation".

I recall being asked by journalists from both the Sun and Daily Mail, in October 2005, whether Ian Huntley should get the vote. I replied, according to my judgment yes. He is just one man and one vote, and in the wider scheme of things it does not matter. When they asked Charles Kennedy the same question, he also replied yes. The papers slated Kennedy, it suddenly emerged he had a drink problem and Vince Cable wielded the knife, in carhoots with Nick Clegg, which killed off Kennedy's political career. This is now embarrassing for the LibDems because Kennedy was right with what he said, and Cable and Clegg joined the Labour and Tories who were giving out the wrong message to the public and the media and Parliament. The May deadline is to allow those prisoners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to vote in their 2011 elections, and those English prisoners to vote in the AV referendum.

It is not Eurocrats, as said, this is coming from the Council of Europe and not the EU.

Those convicted prisoners who were denied their human right to vote in the 2009 European election, and the May 2010 general election, are entitled to claim £1,000 each for loss of the vote in both elections. So far, it is estimated that this will cost the taxpayers £135m. This figure will go up significantly if the UK fails to comply in time for May 2011. It is a shame that the Daily Mail only refers to paedophiles, murderers and rapists getting the vote, when these inmates are in the minority within our prisons.

"Labour stalled implementing the verdict for fear of suffering an electoral backlash".

It is true that Labour stalled. However their reason for doing so has so far never been explained. My own belief is that it had nothing to do with the fear of an electoral backlash. In any event, I am suing Charles Falconer, Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Miliband for misfeasance in public office/negligence and perhaps then the true reasons will emerge?

"But the Council has finally run out of patience and is threatening draconian fines if the law is not changed by next May".

It is not the Council of Europe which is threatening fines. True, the CoE is threatening other sanctions, including expelling the UK from the Council of Europe. And, the EU is considering expelling the UK from the EU as well. Neither institution allows Member States to fail to abide by the Convention and Court decisions.

"Worse, they have scuppered hopes in Whitehall that ministers could produce a compromise deal where inmates serving longer sentences would continue to be barred from voting".

It has always been the case that once a decision has gone against a Member State in the ECtHR, there is no room for non-compliance. In February, the CoM attended the Interlaken Conference and the subsequent Interlaken Declaration sealed the UK's fate on this issue.

"Now the Government must decide whether to allow criminals such as Soham killer Ian Huntley and paedophile Roy Whiting to vote, raising the prospect of MPs canvassing in jail".

The ECtHR has already made the decision, all the UK has to do is implement it.

"The alternative is for the taxpayer to compensate the country’s worst criminals".

The alternative is for the UK to withdraw from the Council of Europe and European Union. In my view, this is too high a price to pay.

"The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has said any bar on voting must be ‘proportionate with a discernible and sufficient link between the sanction, and the conduct and circumstances of the individual concerned’.

The Prison Reform Trust, experts on the case, said this appeared to mean that the only prisoners who be barred from voting would be those sentenced for electoral fraud or a related offence".

The PRT are not experts on the case, they take my advice, and many prisoners actually blame the PRT for being part of the problem rather than the cure.

"At the time, Tory justice spokesman Dominic Grieve said: ‘Many people will question whether this is a sensible development.

‘The principle that those who are in custody after conviction should not have the opportunity to vote is a perfectly rational one.

‘Civic rights go with civic responsibility, but these rights have been flagrantly violated by those who have committed imprisonable offences.’".

Dominic Grieve is clearly not the sharpest pencil in the box. What does it matter whether many people will question the sensibility of the ECtHR's decision? The clue is in the case Hirst v UK. That is, the Individual v the State. The State lost. The Court applies the Actio Popularis principle. This is designed to protect vulnerable groups within society from being victimised by society at large and abused by the State.

There is no principle in English law that those sentenced to custody should not have the vote. The statutory authority s.3 of RPA 1983 fell in the ECtHR in my case. The Court could find no rational reason for it remaining in place in this day and age and called its continuance ahistorical.

It is a civic right to vote in the UK, but it is also a basic human right under the Convention. These human rights are not dependent upon civic responsibility. Besides, it is the State which is being irresponsible by denying human rights. I am surprised that the Tory party made Dominic Grieve the Attorney General, in the light of his admission that he has committed both assault and criminal damage, both of which are imprisonable offences.

"But No 10 suggested it would oppose any radical moves".

No 10 will do as it is told or else!

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