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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Prisoners Votes Peace Agreement

The Prisoners Votes Peace Agreement

There is a precedent already set, the Good Friday Peace Agreement. The Coalition has said it will not talk to me because I ridicule them on my blog. But as my last few posts show, when the Backbench Business Committee makes a laughing stock of itself surely I am entitled to laugh at them? Poke fun at them when they get hold of the wrong end of the stick, which I used to be beaten with? They talk about drawing a line in the sand. The Council of Europe wants the UK to toe the line. I say that it is unacceptable for the UK to cross the line.

The independence of the Judiciary is being threatened by the Executive: "Government sources suggested a possible solution being examined was handing discretion over the withdrawal of the vote to judges, with firm guidelines that they should do so in most if not all cases".

Where is the judges discretion if it is fettered to such a degree that it cannot be exercised at all?

A court would deem this to be crossing the line, the Executive straying too far into the jurisdiction of the Judiciary, a step too far, which is ultra vires outside the power of the Executive. Experience of prison law would suggest that the landmark prisoners rights cases have been won when the Executive threatens the independence of the Judiciary.

Charles Dickens wrote the novel Great Expectations. Which is what Dominic Grieve has when "telling MPs he anticipated a ‘drawn-out dialogue between ourselves and the ECHR’".

I am in no mood for any more stalling in this case...

Perhaps, Dominic Grieve has forgotten the Wednesbury reasonableness principle of failing to take into account this factor? "The Interlaken Declaration and Action Plan of February 2010 specified that priority should be given to full and expeditious compliance with the Court’s judgments".

There again, with a pick and mix of English and European law...

Mr Grieve said Parliament had to show why it would be ‘reasonable and proportionate’ to retain the ban, adding: ‘That gives us the best possible chance of winning the challenges which may then occur thereafter.’

Point of order...

The speaker has not dispensed with the last legal challenge, yet, by killer John Hirst, who was jailed for axing his landlady to death in 1979.

"Labour consulted on changing the law but dragged its feet, given how controversial the issue proved".

I think we ought to see the paper trail. Anyone watching wrestling on TV should know that it is staged. Speaking in the Commons motion Jack Straw said that he and Charles Falconer had wrestled for 5 years to get through my case. I would contend that that is not true, and that the more likely explanation is that they spent that time trying to get out of the UK's obligation to fully comply with it.

"Mr Davis, who tabled the motion with former Labour justice secretary Jack Straw, said: ‘Of course it is important that Britain observes its treaty obligations and upholds the rule of law.

‘But in attempting to overrule British law on prisoner voting rights the unelected judges in Strasbourg have exceeded the limits of their authority’

David Davis is two-faced and speaks with forked tongue. His second sentence contradicts his first. The Court did not attempt at all, rather it succeeded where Kennedy LJ, had failed to do his job in my case before the High Court. Kennedy LJ, had been asked to declare that s.3 of ROPA 1983 was incompatible with Article 3 of the First Protocol. However, he decided that the former could withstand the challenge from the latter. The ECtHR decided otherwise. Furthermore, the judges in the ECtHR are actually elected. The Court's jurisdiction is decided by the Court and its decision is final. It is not for the losing party, in this case the UK, to decide otherwise. Thorbjorn Jagland Secretary General of the Council of Europe
To the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: "for a Council of Europe member state, the rule of law also means full compliance with the European Convention of Human Rights other legally binding instruments and of course the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights".

You can tell that it is an Essex girl saying this...Tory MP Priti Patel said: ‘It’s appalling in this day and age that we’re actually talking about the rights of convicted criminals rather than putting the rights of victims first. We’ve got to start saying no to Europe bullying us and dictating to us on issues of this nature.’

Under the HRA anyone who's human rights are abused by a public authority is a victim, this means that convicted prisoners being denied their human right to vote are victims. Clearly, this so-called rising Tory star does not know what she is talking about! From my perspective, it is Priti Patel who is trying to bully Europe and trying to dictate what they should do. I have little time for this bossy woman!

"Blair Gibbs, of the Policy Exchange think-tank, said: ‘We are now in uncharted territory. The Government should use prisoner votes to reassert its authority over Strasbourg.’".

I find it disconcerting that a so-called charity has a political agenda. They are certainly not being very charitable towards prisoners having their human rights being abused by the State. Perhaps, the Charity Commission needs to investigate whether the Policy Exchange is in breach of the code of conduct?

Is Message in a bottle a euphemism for talking out of one's arse? "Last night’s Commons decision sends an emphatic ­message to the European courts that MPs are not prepared to accept their rulings on votes for prisoners". I suspect that the Council of Europe will not be impressed with this show of defiance, and will insist that the UK toe's the line. Legally, under the HRA, there is no need to let the MPs have any say whether convicted prisoners should have the vote. That is, for a remedial order under s.10 to be laid before Parliament amending s.3 of ROPA 1983. There are two valid points favouring this route out of the mess, firstly the cases of Chester 1 and 2 are contrary to Hirst No2, and secondly the Government Response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ Fifteenth Report of Session 2009-10, wherein it was stated that a remedial order under s.10 was not appropriate because there should be a debate. Well, they have had their debate. Now let's get back on track.

Buzby used to say, it's good to talk. Cameron cannot see the wood for the trees, yet he claims he is listening to all the arguments. My advice is that he listens to me. He is in no position to slap me down for speaking out. I talk sense. There is no way out of this by seeking to challenge or stall. Compromise is not an option on the table. Like when someone pleads guilty early and gets a reduction in sentence, I am prepared to go easy on the Coalition if it sits at the table.

1 comment:

Tim said...

"It’s appalling in this day and age that we’re actually talking about the rights of convicted criminals rather than putting the rights of victims first. We’ve got to start saying no to Europe bullying us and dictating to us on issues of this nature."

A few of my opinions:

1. The rights of convicted criminals are an entirely separate matter to the rights of the victim. Victims should be looked after, but that has nothing to do with other people's human rights.

2. We wrote the European Convention on Human Rights and signed up to it. It's our baby.

3. The fact that the judges are unelected is a strength, not a weakness. The court's job is to protect vulnerable minorities from human rights abuses committed by elected governments.

4. It is those who commit human rights abuses who are the bullies.