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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Daneil Hannan fisked on prisoners votes by Jailhouselawyer

Daneil Hannan fisked on prisoners votes by Jailhouselawyer

I don’t think it is a question of courage to defy me, rather I believe that Parliament should have the courage to do what is right to preserve Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law.

Daniel Hannan asks 6 questions. The ECtHR only had to answer 1 question ‘Whether convicted prisoners possess the human right to vote?’ and answered it in the affirmative in the leading legal authority Hirst v UK (No2).

He then reduces it down to 1 question (which is how the Court approached the subject), but then claims that it is plainly a political question and not a legal one. However, he fails to elaborate on how he reached his “plainly” conclusion. In any event, he is wrong. The question started off its life as a legal question and was decided by the highest court in Europe. Therefore it remains a legal question. That the Court requires a solution to the breach of human rights from the UK does not necessarily make it a political issue. Some politicians are trying to make it political. Hannan is obviously one of them. He has, of course, got a hidden agenda. Legally speaking, it is not “quite right that MPs should have a free vote when the matter comes before them on Thursday”. It is not the free vote, per se; rather I question the legality of the proposal drafted by the Backbench Business Committee. It is a contempt of Parliament to mislead Parliament, and this proposal is misleading.

I would not describe the ECtHR as a brooding menace, it’s oversight as the guardian of Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law in Europe is a force for good and not evil. What is menacing is a State which ignores and abuses those 3 basic principles or objectives, as has been shown in my case.

I don’t believe that Kenneth Clarke did make the threat explicit (I admit I did not hear the interview), simply because I don’t think that he is even aware of the full force bearing down on the UK from the Council of Europe for non-compliance of the Hirst No2 judgment.

It is untruthful of Daniel Hannan to claim that the ECtHR has argued the point for 7 years. In truth, the ECtHR made its decision plain in March 2004 and then again in October 2005 when the UK lost its appeal, and in spite of the UK’s obligations to abide by both the Convention and Court decisions the UK has reneged for over 5 years. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe supervises execution of the Court judgments, and it is the CoM which is pressurising the UK into fully complying with the judgment in my case. And on 26 January he Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) upped the pressure with a debate and vote on Implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The vote was carried on the resolution “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”.

I am confused why Daniel Hannan thinks it is regretful that the Government is contemplating backing down. As Kenneth Clarke points out, why burden the taxpayers financially? I estimate the damages already stand at £135m. I do wonder how much has been spent on lawyers and spin doctors trying to get out of or negate the ruling?

It is shameful that Parliament does not have the will for prison reform and to implement the decision in my case. This sideshow to be put on by David Davis and Jack Straw on Thursday will not be about Parliament expressing its will. I think that Daniel Hannan is forgetting that I challenged the State and the State lost. The loser does not dictate what happens now. The loser will do as it is told from Strasbourg. The CoM has already stated that only fully complying with my case will free the UK from its guilt in the matter, and that there is no room for compromise or negotiation. The bar has been set high, now it remains for the UK to jump to it. The Court does not challenge, it decides upon a challenge. The UK has to meet the Hirst test now.

The UK cannot have any international relations if it has a law which overrode any treaty commitments; therefore this suggestion from Daniel Hannan is a non-starter and he should know this being as he is a MEP. In a democracy laws should be made by elected representatives. But, the UK is not a democracy whilst it excludes a large group from voting. In a democracy the electorate choose the elected and not the elected the electorate.

The UK is now diminished as a country. Gone are the days of British Empire rule. The UK has sacrificed some sovereignty to join the “United States of Europe”. All the judges of the ECtHR are foreign to the other 46 Member States of the Council of Europe. Each Member State which appoints a judge is content with the judge’s competence. It is not for the likes of Daniel Hannan to judge them as being incompetent.

Universal suffrage is a human right. My case decided this. Pride comes before a fall. The UK’s blanket ban was judged to be ahistorical.

Daniel Hannan is missing the point that Parliament should have debated the issue before disenfranchising all convicted prisoners, and that Parliament abdicated responsibility. The Court is saying that power comes with responsibility. Power without responsibility in a democracy is unacceptable by democratic standards. Therefore the Council of Europe issues its diktat upon the UK which it is entitled to do under international and European law. If the UK does not like it, then it can go elsewhere if any country will want to know the UK after this fiasco.

This is just pure gobbledegook from Daniel Hannan “The nakedly ideological nature of the ECHR ruling can be found in its arbitrary cut-off point. It is all right, apparently, to deny someone the vote if he is serving more than four years. Why four years? Why not three? Or ten?”. The Court stated that all convicted prisoners must have the vote; therefore there is no arbitrary cut-off point in the ruling. Rather, it was the Coalition which has proposed the arbitrary 4 years and less cut off point, and the 1922 Backbench Committee which proposed the equally arbitrary 12 months and less cut-off point. My case states several times that denying the franchise cannot be arbitrarily decided.

The judges ruled on how the law is and why it is wrong and what it should be in this day and age in a democratic country.

As recently as February 2010 at the Interlaken Conference the UK reaffirmed its commitments to abide by the Convention and Court decisions. So, why Daniel Hannan is harping back to just after World War 2 is a mystery to me.

The reason why prisoners were quick to launch claims when the HRA 1998 came into force in October 2000 is that the UK is 60 years behind the civilised countries in Europe and our prisons are even further back in time.

I had not realised that the courts were in the habit of striking down statutes. With Parliamentary sovereignty in the UK only Parliament can repeal a statute; the courts only have the jurisdiction to declare a statute is incompatible with the Convention. I think that Scoppola v Italy recently criticised the maximum tariff of the life sentence as being an abuse of human rights.

In my case public opinion was excluded as being a ground for disenfranchisement. So, any opinion poll result against prisoners’ votes is meaningless and counts for nothing.

In a democracy there is dishonour in failing to honour obligations signed up to.

In a battle of the will of one man against no will of Parliament, this one man will win. The will of the people do not come into a clash between the Individual v the State. It will be good when the UK becomes a fully fledged democracy. If the MPs do not do the right thing, I am sure that the Council of Europe will react appropriately to any disobedience.

MPs only have the right to decide in accordance with the law; there is no public power to break the law. The Courts are the arbiter of what the law is, not MPs. Trying to deny prisoners access to the Courts will not get passed in Parliament, and if it did, I strongly suspect that the UK Supreme Court will asserts its jurisdiction to for the first time strike down the statute as being unconstitutional under the Separation of Powers doctrine.

The Council of Europe will deal with the defiance according to the powers granted to it. I am pleased that Daniel Hannan admits that we have a State of authoritarianism and he has ended the pretence that the UK is a democracy. There is no room in the Council of Europe for totalitarian or authoritarian States, only democratic States which ensure human rights and the rule of law. Therefore, ultimately, the Council of Europe can, and will, expel the UK.

If it was not so serious for the UK this would be laughable “Instead, there would be a lengthy debate in Strasbourg about deliberate non-compliance by a member state. If no compromise were reached, the dispute would be referred to the Grand Chamber, effectively an assembly representing all signatory states. And then? In all probability, nothing: an official statement to the effect that Britain has behaved disappointingly”.

On 8 March the CoM will be urged to invoke ‘infringement proceedings’ under Rule 11, and urged to use its discretion not to give the UK the normally provided for 6 months notice and fast-track the case to the ECtHR under 39 of the Court’s rules for a expedited hearing. I don’t know where Daniel keeps getting the idea that there is any compromise in the equation. The Court has already indicated its view in Greens and MT v UK, and gave the UK 6 months to comply. In my view, that notice is enough for the UK to have shown its intentions. Therefore, the Court can decide very quickly on the evidence and pass judgment that the UK has failed to fully comply with Hirst No2 and pass the case back to the CoM to expeditiously invoke the sanction(s).

There is a crisis in Europe in relation to both human rights and democracy, and the element missed by Daniel Hannan crisis in the rule of law.

It is laughable that Daniel Hannan claims MPs are powerless. They granted themselves the abuse of power to fiddle their expenses!


Anonymous said...

When someone is convicted of a crime & sent to prison they lose all rights. If scum like you wish to keep your human rights then dont commit crimes but live a decent life as we do, also allow other people to live their lives. You were convicted of manslaughter through diminished responsibility & should have been given a life sentence & that sentence should have meant life (an eye for an eye).
Get back to smoking your pot & living off the state & keep your vile mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

Bless you my son, I am sure you are not as bad as everybody makes out. I am sure than underneath that hardshell you are crying out for help. Find solace in god and he will help you walk the path of peace. I forgive you my child for you knew not what you were doing.