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Friday, May 25, 2007 

Scum-watch: Lie after lie after lie.

Even by the Scum's standards, today's attack on the Human Rights Act, written by Tim Spanton, is a lie infested spectacular which could only have been put together by someone ordered to write a hatchet job.

Justice failed by act of folly


THE Human Rights Act has made a a laughing stock of British justice in some high-profile cases.

Serial killer Dennis Nilsen was allowed to have hardcore gay porn in his cell — after he argued a ban breached his freedom of expression.

One of the most well-known myths about the HRA. From the review of the Implementation of the Human Rights Act:

The most notable example in this category is the application made by Denis Nilsen in 2001 to challenge a decision of the Prison Governor to deny him access to pornographic material. The case is now often cited as a leading example of a bad decision made as a result of the Human Rights Act. In fact it failed at the very first hurdle.


Men and women can simulate sex with rubber dolls in a street because Article Ten of the Human Rights Convention gives freedom of expression “without interference”.

Err? The first question has to be why anyone would, and secondly, if the police received complaints about such a thing happening, they'd be more than within their rights in ordering the couple to move on, and could quite easily make an arrest either for breaching the peace or for outraging public decency.

Hundreds of schools dropped detention four years ago after a girl claimed it violated her rights.

This is presumably a reference to Freya McDonald from Tomnavoulin in Morayshire, who back in December 2002 was apparently prepared to sue her local education authority over the number of times she had been held in detention over what she and her parents described as trivial offences. And that's it. I can find no further articles to suggest that the case even went ahead. Searching Google for McDonald only turns up the same articles and one which is clearly not to do with her, and to judge by the Guardian's extensive education archive, detentions seem to have remained completely unaffected.

Derbyshire Police refused to release photos of two murderers who escaped jail last year — for fear of affecting their human rights.

The exact quote from the Derbyshire police spokesperson was:

“When making a decision to release any photograph, police forces must take into account numerous factors including the public interest test, whether there is a strong local policing purpose and, of course, the Human Rights and Data Protection Acts."

Which the tabloids predictably took as an attempt to blame the Human Rights Act, which it most likely was because of Derbyshire police's own incompetence. Rather than attacking the police, they instead took it out on the law which had nothing to do with it. Derbyshire later issued a corrected statement:

'This decision was based on the fact that there was no policing purpose to be served by the release of these photographs in Derbyshire, as inquiries indicated that Croft and Nixon had fled the county and posed no risk to Derbyshire residents.

'Derbyshire Constabulary would like to strongly point out that the human rights of the individuals in question had no bearing and were not the reason the pictures were not released.

'In making this decision the rights and safety of the public will always come before those of convicted offenders.'

Fat paedophile Andrew Baldwin was allowed to use a SCHOOL gym unsupervised last year during class time — despite being convicted of sexually abusing three girls aged 12 and 13. Forest Of Dean Council were worried about breaching his human

Full article here.

The headmaster told me it was out of his hands because the solicitors say a ban would breach this paedophile's human rights.

Then it's time to get some new solicitors. There is absolutely nothing in the Human Rights Act which would stop the school from banning the man from school premises, and seeing as he's been convicted of molestation he should be banned from coming into contact with children in any case. I'm at a complete loss to even understand which article the solicitors thinking banning Baldwin would breach; Article 8, which guarantees the right to a private life, but not if Baldwin represents a threat, which he does, or Article 11, which guarantees the right to freedom of assembly but which again has the same caveats as 8. It's complete lunacy, based on ignorance of the act rather than it being the fault of the law itself.


Prisoners in Scotland are set to receive £1,000 compo each because they could not vote in this month’s local elections.

This is the only one that has even a grain of truth in it. The ECHR ruled back in 2005 that denying prisoners the right to vote was in breach of the charter - and since then the government has done absolutely nothing to change the law. It has to be said that this is about the only case where I disagree with the ECHR: you go to prison, you lose your right to vote, simple as. Quoting the Herald article:

In a ruling that decided Scottish prisoners must no longer be denied the vote, the Court of Session said the election would be "incompatible" with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) because the UK currently operates a blanket ban on prisoners voting.

At least one law firm acting for prisoners now intends to seek an interim interdict against Scottish ministers to halt the elections. If they fail, lawyers intend to seek compensation instead. Council elections due on May 3 could also be affected.

Which obviously either didn't go ahead or failed. The £1,000 figure comes from another ruling which considered that adequate compensation for being denied the vote, but in order to even have a chance of getting it, prisoners' would have to sue again, and there's no sign that any of them either has, or if they have, they're no nearer being able to actually claim. It's another scare story that isn't worth worrying about until it happens.

The simplest amount of research on any of these supposed "acts of folly" would have shown almost all of them up to be nonsense. On any quality newspaper a sub-editor would have had to do just that, but the Sun either wants to deliberately mislead or just lets any old crap be published without it being checked, ala Rochelle Holness and Muslim yobs.

On to the Sun's actual article:

Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair confirmed the Human Rights Act was to blame for tying his officers’ hands.

He said: “We enforce the law as it is and we will now do our best to find these people. But the police service would always be interested in a better system than one that is as imperfect as this.”

Not only is it nothing to do with the police's hands being tied by the HRA, when it's the failure of the government to either allow these men to be prosecuted or to put into place the legislation necessary so the evidence against them can be used, but Blair clearly doesn't blame the HRA but actually the current laws.

Control orders were introduced as a fudge to counter human rights objections to locking up terror suspects without trial.

Human rights objections being the House of Lords ruling that indefinitely locking up foreign terror suspects without trial was, to quote Lord Hoffman, the real threat to the life of the nation

in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.

Back to the Scum:

Yesterday cops refused to name or release photos of the three other suspects on the run — to protect their HUMAN RIGHTS. Two are from London and one from Manchester.

Mr Cameron said: “It is crazy the rights of criminals are put above the safety of law-abiding citizens.”

Yet another complete lie. None of the men under control orders have ever been officially named, although we do know the identities of some of them because of the way they've tried to publicise their own cases. If the government wanted to release their identities they could, in the same way as Reid went to court in order to reveal the details of the three who've absconded. They've decided not to do so, for reasons known only to themselves.

Finally the Scum's leader:

THE Human Rights Act must go.

And we should rewrite the European Convention on Human Rights.

Seeing as the Human Rights Act and the ECHR is one and the same thing, the Sun doesn't even seem to know what it's talking about. The ECHR doesn't need rewriting, it needs respecting.

The human rights of the majority must come first. Not those of the terrorists hell-bent on mass murder.

Because the HRA doesn't protect the rights of everyone you see, just the terrorists'. The entire argument being put forward for ripping up the HRA is a false dichotomy.

Since then ministers have come up with pathetically weak Control Orders. We are all at risk as a result.

Which is patently untrue as only those on the weakest control orders have escaped. Those who carried out 7/7 and the others who have been charged with plotting other attacks have never been under what amounts to house arrest.

Tony Blair has tried to lock suspects up for 90 days without charge. He is right to be frustrated that MPs reduced it to just 28 days.

Yet there’s no getting away from it. Suspected terrorists flee the country as ministers fiddle.

Gordon Brown has the perfect opportunity to wipe the slate clean.

He takes the seals of office on June 27. We hope he takes action on June 28.

We have human rights — to life.

There we are then - 90 days detention and ripping up our own rights will save us from the evil terrorists. In order to stop what are "fascistic" acts of violence, according to John Reid, we have to move ever closer to fascism ourselves. Those who want to carry out such acts of barbarism already seem to have won the argument.

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I think the HRA has a point on the prisoner thing tbh. After all, even if they've transgressed the rules of society, they still have to live within it, which is more than can be said for expats who retain the vote.

My problem with it is more that it seems like an edict from elsewhere, which has little to do with human rights per se.

I think the way John Hirst won it is very admirable, simply that it seems a step too far in the direction towards removing the last vestiges of actual punishment inherent within the prison system. I'm all for prison reform, just that I think if you're considered too dangerous or have committed a crime that means you have to be removed from outside society for a time, you lose the right to vote along with it. I've also always had my doubts just exactly how many prisoners would ever vote in the first place, however excellent the intention is.

Jesus, I just switch off when I hear people talking about human rights - nobody, it seems, has a damn clue what they're talking about.

If they're talking about their own rights, they mean that they have the right not to be treated unfairly, which is sadly incorrect.

If they're talking about the rights of others, it's all about how many should be taken away.

It's like watching a pack of brain-damaged puppies barking at a rock, and if I was going to try to influence anybody's views I'd probably have more success with the rock than the puppies.

Prisoners voting - my argument in favour is that the kind of countries that enforce such a ban are worse places to live, on average, than those that don't.

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