Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Than Rough Justice

Skidmore style.

I am a law-abiding citizen. Always have been – mostly. Better get that one out of the way first.

This case raises some interesting scenarios.

“A father whose daughter was knocked down and killed by a failed Iraqi asylum seeker slammed British justice today after the asylum seeker was allowed to permanently stay in the UK.

Banned driver Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, 33, left Amy Houston, 12, to die under the wheels of his Rover car and fled the scene following the accident.

But the Iraqi Kurd was today told he can stay in Britain after judges said deporting the dad of two would breach HIS human rights following a seven-year legal battle.

They ruled that as Ibrahim has married an English woman and had two children since the 2003 accident, his right to family life under the Human Rights Act meant he must stay in the UK — despite having a string of criminal convictions.

Today Amy's furious dad Paul slammed the decision as "perverse" and a "joke".

Engineer Paul, 41, from Darwen, Lancs, said: "What do you have to do to be deported? For seven years he has fought it and used every trick in the book to stay in the UK.

I'm really furious. I don't understand how he can be allowed to stay here after killing my daughter. He shouldn't be allowed to stay.

It shows what a sad state of affairs the country is in.

I've been battling for justice on my own for years now and what for? It has been for nothing. This is a perversity of our society. The whole country should be disgusted.

Basically what the judges are saying is that it doesn't matter how you act when you come here. You can kill, break the laws of the land but so long as you have a child when in the UK you can stay.

I work hard, play by the rules, pay my taxes and this is how I get treated. What does that say about politicians, our leaders and the legal system? It's a joke."

Judges sitting at the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber in Manchester rejected a final appeal by the UK Border Agency to have Ibrahim deported.

Ibrahim, who has convictions for drugs possession, burglary, harassment, criminal damage and theft along with a string of driving convictions, killed Amy in November 2003 after running off from the scene of the accident while she was stuck under the wheels of his car.

She was rushed to hospital but her dad was forced to turn off her life support machine after doctors told him she would never recover.

Since then Paul has campaigned for Ibrahim to be kicked out the country and begged judges at a recent deportation hearing to bring "my seven years of hell to an end" by sending the monster back to Iraq.

He added: "All he is is a criminal. He was before he killed Amy and he will continue to be one.

The Human Rights Act is for everybody, not just asylum seekers and terrorists. It just seems to be used to allow people to get what they want.

He says if he was deported he would be deprived of his right to a family life?

The only person deprived of a family life is me. Amy was my only family. He took that from me."

In a final plea to two senior immigration judges, Paul, who is divorced from Amy's mother, wrote: "Amy was my only child... due to medical reasons I am unable to have any more children.

Amy was and is my family, so my point is, it is my right to a family life that has been deprived and not Mr Ibrahim's.”

"Mr Ibrahim claims to be a family man but if it's your actions that define who you are and not your words, then offences for possession of drugs, burglary, harassment, damage to property and theft as well as driving convictions and my daughter's death, you could argue that Mr Ibrahim is a negative influence as a role model as a father.

"I cannot understand by letting Mr Ibrahim remain in the UK what benefits he could bring to society.

"Had he shown some real remorse for what he had done and not committed any more crimes, I could accept that this was just an accident.

"On the evening of November 23 2003 Mr Ibrahim struck Amy, he didn't kill her outright, she was still conscious.

"She was fully aware what was happening around her even though she had the full weight of the engine block of the car on top of her, she was crying because she was frightened and in a lot of pain ... he could have at least tried to help.

"Amy suffered for six hours before the doctors advised me to switch off the life support machine ... it was highly unlikely she would survive and if she was to live would be a 'cabbage'.

"The image of Amy taking her final breath, dying a foot away from me as I sat by her bedside holding her hand praying for a miracle will stay with me till the day I die.

"If the Human Rights Act is about fairness, then it must have balance. What about Amy's right to life under the act?

"Today you have the power to bring my seven years of hell to an end; you can bring closure and justice.

"You can stop Mr Ibrahim from destroying anybody else's life as he destroyed mine but most of all you can bring balance to the Human Rights Act.

"You can show the world that this act is not just for criminals, failed asylum seekers and terrorists but for everybody in society because without balance there is no justice."

Lawyers for Ibrahim argued that his human rights would be impinged if he was sent back to Iraq.”

On the surface, it is very difficult not to be sympathetic with the family of this little girl. I am sympathetic. But, things are not as easy or as straight-forward in this case – as in life.

My first reaction was to consider this famous case:

Human nature being what it is, the idea of revenge against someone who has decimated your family is understandable. Sympathy for the victims of crime is understandable. Amy's Dad's frustrations and anger is understandable. His desire for some sort of retribution is understandable.

Crucially, these two scenarios, whist seemingly parallel, are not. On the one hand a foolish, irresponsible, negligent driver has run over a little girl. This is a human tragedy – made seemingly worse by his subsequent attempts to evade responsibility by failing to stop at the scene. This is deplorable. But, is it criminal? Yes. Is it murder, as in the Skidmore case? No, it is not.

Our sympathies for Amy's family should not extend to retribution simply because the perpetrator is an Iraqi asylum-seeker. Depriving his family of their husband/father is not going to bring Amy back. Dad's call for punishment does not, on examination, fit the crime.

However, should Ibrahim's situation change then the law should look at the changes in circumstances and act accordingly – to the point of throwing him out if that is warranted.

In Missouri, justice is sometimes easier to judge. There but for the grace go I. I think I might have cheerfully joined in with the Skidmore vigilantes. I would be very tempted to tell the media that despite rulings otherwise I would definitely kill anyone who did such to any of mine.

It's a fine line.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Parachute Payments

Wierdo MP's are the norm when parachuted into safe seats.

There is with regularity entertainment to be had in the media when they document the various affairs of elected representatives. For sheer entertainment value it's had to beat.

When Joe Public learns that his local MP is variously a serial womaniser, a Russian spy, a bi-sexual adulterer or just plain odd in the head, should they be surprised? I think not for the system is designed to produce just the sort of folk who think any of the above afflictions is really par for the course.

The examples from the last 20 to 30 years are legendary. I distinctly remember that dope who unseated Michael Portillo ( not my favourite guy, but certainly a serious politician ) standing on the platform looking completely bewildered when the result was announced. Not surprising as even he was amazed that he won. After all I'm sure the party only put him forward as a candidate to annoy some local politician who should have got the nod but was blocked because he was simply too safe and sane. The look on this guys face ( Stephen Twigg was his name and he is still an MP I was amazed to learn ) was incredulity bordering on insanity. Priceless.

Why does this happen so often. Are the electorate so stupid as to vote for any ass the party might put up? Actually, pretty much the answer is yes.

The other answer is that the system is designed to produce the most unctuous toady possible and rewards the loser with the most stamina.

How do I know this?


My prime example is Michael Carttiss. Wikipedia tell us “Michael Reginald Harry Carttiss (born 11 March 1938) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Great Yarmouth from 1983 until his defeat in 1997 by Labour's Anthony Wright.

Carttiss was born and brought up in his future constituency and worked as a teacher in a local secondary school. He was the full time agent for Anthony Fell from 1969, and was elected to Norfolk County Council in 1966. In 1973 Carttiss was elected to Great Yarmouth Borough Council and became its Leader from 1980 to 1982.

In Parliament Carttiss allied with the right and was a loyal supporter of Margaret Thatcher. During the debate on a motion of no confidence a few hours after Thatcher had announced her resignation as Prime Minister on 22 November 1990, his loud shout of encouragement to her to cancel her decision because "You can wipe the floor with these people!" was clearly audible and is recorded in Hansard. Indeed, immediately after the remark, on television, Thatcher is seen to acknowledge him by looking back at him and bowing.

However, Carttiss found life under her successor John Major less easy. He was a strong eurosceptic and disliked the provisions of the Maastricht Treaty, voting against them frequently in early 1993. When he voted against the European Communities (Finance) Bill in November 1994, he was one of eight Conservative MPs to have the Conservative whip withdrawn. It was restored in April 1995.

Following his defeat Carttiss went back onto Norfolk County Council from 2001, and was made Vice-Chairman of the Council in 2006. He represents the West Flegg division.”

What this fails to mention is that: 1) he was the worst teacher in the world according to anyone who knew him during his time at the Oriel High School in Gorleston - 2) that he spent his formative parliamentary years as Conservative agent for Sir Anthony Fell – and 3) that he was a complete pain to the Conservatives after the demise of Maggie Thatcher by becoming an arch-rebel.

What Wikipedia doesn't mention is that Carttiss spent 20 odd years “stalking” the Yarmouth seat, has no real experience of real life and is still ponceing around as a local politician. And whilst he is no doubt not the worst parliamentarian ever he is a classic role model for anyone who aspires to a political career and is fairly much divorced from real life.

He is, in short, the very quintessential politician.

There is no doubt that in the higher echelons of Parliament there are some excellent and fairly normal fellows. The other 4 or 5 hundred are mostly Michael Carttiss behave-a-likes. That is what the system is designed to produce.