The word JUSTICE includes the concepts of TRUTH and ACCURACY. Some people use the term to mean something more like REVENGE or RETALIATION.
Despite the fact that christianity urges us to forgive, and not seek revenge against those who do us wrong, it is normal, almost universal, that most people do seek revenge and describe it as Justice.
We hear of people who cannot rest until the murderer has been caught, and not only that, been punished appropriately. It is not sufficient to merely know who was guilty and there is no mention or consideration at all of christian forgiveness.
After a bad crime has been comitted, if a suspect is arrested crowds will jeer at the suspect long before a trial has taken place, and people hope and pray that the person will be found guilty.
It seems that the worse the crime is, the more important it is to the public that the suspect is found guilty. In such cases the police come under pressure to get a conviction and it seems they will do whatever is necessary to get some sort of conviction. The top priority is to find a culprit who can be held responsible. This will placate the public and the media. Whether that is the right person is secondary. A scapegoat will serve the same purpose.
Note that this page has been censored.
When I first wrote this page I intended to acknowledge that despite the injustices it describes, at least I am free to speak about them, unlike some totalitarian countries. However I am now feeling that there is a veiled threat of repercussions against me, and so have taken out some details of my views. I now list only the cases of concern without further detail or comment, and recommend that readers follow the links I give, and search the internet for further details.
These are listed with the most recent first (approximately).
Alternative spellings: Shaun Hodgson, Shaun Hodgeson, Sean Hodgeson but I believe the one given here is correct and agrees with articles in The Times and Wikipedia.
- The Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut near Aldershot Hampshire.
Private Sean Benton
Private Cheryl James
Private Geoff Gray
Private James Collinson
The Bridgewater four: Michael Hickey, Vincent Hickey, James Robinson and Patrick Molloy.
Paddy Joe Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny, Gerry Hunter, Billy Power, and Johnny Walker.
Gerry Conlon, Carole Richardson, Paul Hill and Paddy Armstrong
I have noticed in recent years that people have beens saying that all kinds of things were illegal, even though I felt sure they were not. It now seems that all this is due to the law of Harassment i.e. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Clearly a new law introduced by Tony Blair's New Labour.
Discourtesy is a criminal offence!
Things which now can count towards a criminal offence:
Bizarrely, it appears that the crime is only applicable when the person is distressed from an action, so things done covertly cannot count if the person never knows about it. For example taking photos.
How does freedom of speech fit in with this?
How long will it be before political campaigning is covered by the law of harassment? We are already very close to that. What if I was to persistently write letters of protest to my councillor? What if, at the next election I went out distributing leaflets urging people to not vote for her, even though I was not myself a candidate?
Prohibition of harassment states:
A person must not pursue a course of conductó
You will notice that the legal definition of harassment depends on the plain english definition of harassment which I interpret as involving repetition and persistence.
The fine detail of laws seems to get resolved after the making of the law by what is called "case law" and a succession of past judgements can establish a precedent by which new cases are judged. It seems that such case law has established that harassment must involve some action taking place two or more times, but it does not have to be the same action.
The law was first introduced to deal with stalking, but it makes sense to define it in broader terms to be able to deal with other offences not already illegal. However it was somewhat vague, and case law has established where the boundaries lie. Unfortunately with the climate of the nanny state emerging the Harassment law has been gradually applied to ever less serious issues, and now it can be illegal to do almost anything which offends somebody more than once.
It seems that the law can even be applied when the 'victim' is a group of people such as a family. It seems that acting once to one member of the group, and then again to another member of the same group can be deemed to be harassment of the group. This is absurd because clearly the burden to any one person is much less than if actions were taken all against one person. We seem to have the possibility that one person alone against a group can be charged with harassment if he takes an action several times, but the acts of different individuals of the group are not aggregated in the same way even if they are all applied to one victim. It is legalizing bullying and it is protecting the strong from the weak.
Harassment has become a catch-all law which can apply to almost anything.
Some legislators often defend laws of this kind by pointing out that although people may be technically breaking the law, of course most trivial cases would not be prosecuted. Discretion is applied.
This situation has particularly come about in the law against assisting suicide. One MP said that it is a sensible thing to have a law which is very rarely enforced. I disagree with this. Laws which are far reaching, but rarely enforced give rise to a situation where nearly everybody is breaking the law all the time and the police can choose to victimise people under these laws when they simply do not like the look of them.
We are urged to have respect for the law, and to observe the law at all times but how can we take this seriously when a law is so far-reaching, and when the enforcers themselves recognise that some laws are not really meant to be enforced?
The BBC are very careful not to state anything which is not absolutely certain in their news programmes. For example when Ian Huntley was charged with murder they gave out a news report that Ian Huntley was in custody being interviewed by the police and "a man" has been charged with murder. They did not wish to risk saying it was him, though everybody would assume it was. The newspapers would not have been so over-cautious. Furthermore the BBC have been great champions of the innocent through television programmes like Rough Justice and similar programmes on Radio 4. It is surprising therefore that once a person has been found guilty the BBC, along with everyone else, drop terms like "alleged" and start reporting that the person definitely was guilty. This is despite the fact that they know well that many people are falsely convicted. This page lists only a few. There are thousands.
Many people believe this to be a fundamental principle of English law, but I wonder if it is. I think it mainly applies to court proceedings, but elsewhere it seems to be more like an aspiration. The police can still imprison people without trial. Many people remanded in custody awaiting trial are kept for a year or more. That raises another saying, "Justice delayed is justice denied".
When Gordon Brown was chancellor, he annouced that the unemployed could be subjected to a penalty if they were SUSPECTED of working secretly.
If you are looking for justice, this is not the place to find it.
You would think, if there is any truth in the claims of religious believers, that there was some kind of natural justice in the world. There is only one place where natural justice can be found. As John Lennon, (or perhaps Paul McCartney) said, "There's a Place". If you want to know where it is, listen to the song - its a great song anyway and can be found on the album Please Please Me by The Beatles.
This is a famous quotation which I very much agree with.
The actual source of the saying is usually attributed to Edmund Burke, but many people have looked into this, and it is generally accepted that he did not say it, but that he expressed some similar views in different words.
The actual quote itself varies considerably, and this gives a clue that it is a translation. It was said in a Russian language film of Tolstoy's War and Peace and my view is that this is the original source.
In a way it is good that there is no definitive quotation because people can think about the essence about what is being said. I like to use the following two forms.
See the entry on Edmund Burke in Wikiquote
Some people maintain that the saying is an Internet myth but I do not think so. I feel sure I have heard it before the Internet.
One of several variations.
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out-- because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out-- because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out-- because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me-- and there was no one left to speak out for me.
The direct address of this page is www.farthing.me.uk/justice