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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I am no fan of Jack Straw's but...

I am no fan of Jack Straw's but...

...the brown stuff will be hitting the fan and it's facing him.


Hi Gavin

I take issue with the following...

"1255 Also on Daily Politics former Home Secretary Jack Straw says giving prisoners the right to vote was "offensive to the public". He tells the programme that a ruling by a European Court that a blanket ban on prisoners getting the vote was illegal had caused a "constitutional crisis". Tory MP David Davis says a compromise government plan to give the vote to prisoners serving sentences less than four years is wrong and the matter must be decided by Parliament. They are making a joint Parliamentary bid to stop the vote being given to prisoners".

The BBC has failed to provide a proper balance by not providing any balance in the report whatsoever.

In my case (the Council of Europe has confirmed by email that I own the case bearing my name under intellectual property rights) Hirst v UK (No2), the UK had argued that granting convicted prisoners the vote would offend public opinion. The Court ruled:

"70. There is, therefore, no question that a prisoner forfeits his Convention rights merely because of his status as a person detained following conviction. Nor is there any place under the Convention system, where tolerance and broadmindedness are the acknowledged hallmarks of democratic society, for automatic disenfranchisement based purely on what might offend public opinion".

Para 4 of Judge Caflisch's concurring opinion states:

"Accordingly, concluded the Government, the finding of a violation would be a surprise and offensive to many (judgment, §§ 47 and 49). That may well be so, but the decisions taken by this Court are not made to please or indispose members of the public, but to uphold human rights principles".

Therefore, it is clear that the legal position is that public opinion be excluded. This case will not be reheard in the court of public opinion. Nor does the Council of Europe allow it to be retried once the Grand Chamber has made its decision which is final and binding upon the UK.

Whilst it is accepted that the UK is facing a constitutional crisis, it needs to be put into context.

Hirst v UK (No2) is the name of a legal case, case law, but it goes further than that. Within the UK are the three arms of the State, the Executive, Parliament and Judiciary. It is often mistakenly assumed that it is only against the government. However, reading my case exposes that the Separation of Powers doctrine which is supposed to provide the balances and checks between the three arms of the State to prevent abuse failed to operate properly in my case. This is why the last administration and the present administration have all of a sudden found that we need constitutional reforms. Neither administration has informed the public that it is as a result of my case and that they are being forced upon them by Europe.

David Davis is right for the wrong reasons. My case clearly states that all convicted prisoners must get the vote. This was reaffirmed in Frodl v Austria and that the Hirst test must be met.

The joint Parliamentary bid is not only hot air but is also a side show. The main event will be a "Debate & Vote : Wednesday 26 January 2011

At the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

On the subject of Implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

Draft resolution

The Assembly, in particular, urges the following states to give priority to specific problems:

The United Kingdom must put to an end the practice of delaying full implementation of Court judgments with respect to politically sensitive issues, such as prisoners’ voting rights.

... it is essential that states parties fulfil their obligation under Article 46 of the Convention to ensure the full and rapid implementation of judgments of the Court.

The execution process for some of these judgments (where it has begun) has become somewhat politicised at the national level and consequently the JCHR has identified what it perceives as an emerging practice of “minimal compliance’; where some action has been taken by the United Kingdom but far from enough. This has been highlighted by the JCHR30 as a problem in that it increases the possibility of repetitive cases by failing to put an end to a root problem, thus creating further litigation.31

The Councilof Europe reserves the right to take appropriate action should the state concerned continuously fail to take appropriate measures required by a judgment of the Court, or should the national parliament fail to exert appropriate pressure on the government to implement judgments of the Court;".

Therefore, I think it is only right that the BBC corrects the false impression given and reports the facts instead.

I am aware that the present problems faced by the coalition stem from Charles Falconer originally providing false information about my case on The World at One, and as Juliet Lyon (PRT) was in the studio at the same time giving an interview, she can bear me out what really happened. Basically, Jack Straw has been covering Falconer's arse and it is time it was exposed.

Best wishes

John Hirst

Besides sending the above email I have complained to the BBC and been given the Case No. 552305

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