Thursday, November 29, 2012

Even some judges 'get it'

I'm not certain how long it has been going on for, but I only really started picking up on it a couple of years ago. I'm talking about the police tendency to arrest people for defending themselves with a weapon and injuring or killing their assailants. I'm talking about the likes of Cecil Coley and others who ended up arrested, their DNA taken and then later released without charge despite the fact that it was blatantly not their fault and they should not have been arrested in the first place, asked to remain available for questioning yes, arrested no. Coupled with the recent spate of police arresting people 'on suspicion' that they might be about to commit a crime and you do have to wonder if there's some sort of arrest first ask questions later policy in place.
But it gets worse...
David Beeley, 44, decided to confront a gang of drunken teenagers who attacked his home with metal weapons in the middle of the night last summer.
He grabbed a cooking knife to defend himself as they shouted that they planned to kill him. But although none of the gang was arrested, Mr Beeley was charged with possession of a knife.
Today, prosecutors came under fire from judge, Michael Stokes, QC, who was highly critical of the decision to charge the logistics manager.
Describing the householder as being of "good character", the Recorder of Nottingham asked: "Which genius thought it was in the public interest to prosecute this defendant?"
Mr Beeley had admitted one count of “having an article with a blade in a public place”, to avoid the stress of a trial, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
None of the youths, a group of squatters who were armed with “metal implements”, were arrested. Neighbours told The Daily Telegraph.
So a man faces a mob of armed lawbreakers and arms himself with a knife, he gets arrested, police and prosecutors can't be arsed to go after the real villains. None of the neighbours who witnessed the incident were even interviewed. The police simply believed the armed mob who told them that Mr. Beeley started it.
Genius eh?
Apparently knives ruin lives, not armed mobs of squatters.
Though in the end the judge was quite right to criticise the lunacy and lack of investigation on the part of the authorities, you can't help but think that this is actually some sort of policy and under similar circumstances it will happen again. Lessons will not be learned and someone who was/is in fear of their life will end up in prison because it's much easier to prosecute them and get them to admit it rather than go after the real problem...

3 annotations:

Anonymous said...

Bernie in Pipewell

You must not threaten their jobs, by doing their Job for them.

Anonymous said...

Actually it IS a policy!

Some time ago I witnessed an arguement between two neighbours (one a known alcoholic, psychiatric patient and someone who takes pleasure in regularly annoying and disrupting everyone else who lives in the streets life). I went out, and watched as one neighbour, the sensible one, remonstrated about the others behaviour (banging on the door and starting the 'confrontation'). His response? To scream, splutter, spit, attempt to hit and then, literally fall over and crawl back to his home.

I thought nothing more about it until a month later I overheard that the sensible neighbour had been arrested for 'assaulting' the drunk(?!?).

Since I was present, had witnessed that no assault had taken place, and knew the real cause was the others behaviour I went to the police. I requested that I be allowed to make a statement. The PC sat with pen poised... until it became clear I was providing evidence which contradicted their arrest, at which point he informed me that he refused to record my statement.

I questioned this and he informed me that if I wished to make such a statement I should do so to the defence solicitor (someone unknown to me). I was later contacted by the officer who informed me that he, his sergeant and the CPS all agreed that they had no interest in recording my (impartial) witness statement.

Being concerned I wrote to the Chief Constable and, the then police minister, Nick Herbert. Their response? A glibly phrased letter which indicated that 'It is standard and accepted practice for the police service to collect only such evidence as will support a conviction'.

So, instead of turning up to a crime scene and gathering ALL the evidence and THEN deciding who to arrest, they turn up, pick who they fancy as guilty and then ONLY gather such evidence as supports that assumption. If there is any contradictory evidence, it will only be aired if either an independent person pushes, or the defence solicitor goes looking. What are the chances of that?

Oh, in this case? I did contact the solicitor, made a statement and, shall we say, the judge was 'not best pleased' with the 'blatant incompetence and bias' of the police.

The point being, nothing changed, it is still normal, accepted and supported behaviour by the police. It is known and supported at every level up to Parliament.

I used to trust the police and judiciary - no longer. This is the type of behaviour the Stasi would have struggled to get away with yet not a peep of complaint from anyone (even the neighbour refuses to push it, rightly I suppose, fearing his 'targeting' by the police).

What happened to my country?

Anonymous said...

My daughter has experienced this type of behaviour by the police when they were called to a street fight. The person who was attacked ended up being arrested. The perpetrators had gone (infact the police ushered them away) and then proceeded to arrest the victim.

It transpires that when the police are called to a fight, they need to make an arrest to meet their targets and make the policing files look good.

Net result; incident outside pub; police called; incident resolved; one arrest made.

Job done....