So law is another thing he doesn’t know about then

Has a crime been committed? If crime is an affront to the accepted standards of society then, yes, that can be argued in both cases.

No, a crime is what the currently written law states is a crime.

Not DoublusPlusUngoodThink.

In contrast, did, and does, Jeremy Hunt knowingly cause harm by his actions? The answer is unambiguously yes in my opinion. This is because there is amply evidence to suggest that alternatives are available; that he knows of them and does nothing to act on them. He is, then, guilty of causing pain and loss of life when both could be avoided. It is not just his judgement that has erred; his actions have been informed by that judgement despite knowing what would happen.

Sometimes a little theorising helps.

Hunt is slowing the rise in the NHS budget. This is now a crime in RitchieUnThink.

BTW, if people can be charged with crimes for “bad” policy options when do we stick Ritchie in the Tower? For the crime against humanity of stupidity?

26 comments on “So law is another thing he doesn’t know about then

  1. He’s being consistent – tax crime works in a similar way with the slight modification that it’s Capt. Potato rather than society defining what is crime.

  2. “I’m meant not to be blogging and to be concentrating on a few days off, but since stopping thinking is like stopping breathing…”

    He’s been holding a breath for a fucking long time.

  3. “But to be found guilty of most crime mens rea has to be established; that is the intent to commit the act. This provides a simple but effective indicator of culpability here.

    Did Oxfam have any intention to undertake wrongdoing? Clearly not. So they are not guilty of the crime. ”

    Jesus Christ, even by his own miserable standards, that’s fucking pitiful.

  4. Well, although charging offences according to common law is increasingly rare – since most offences are now according to statute – they do remain and I believe that in the past you could simply accuse someone of ‘widget fiddling’ or whatever, ‘contrary to common law’, and whether it was or was not was left to the bench/jury.

    I’ve never seen this happen and i find it impossible to believe it could now happen. But there’s a simple way to find out, which is for Murphy to bring a private prosecution. It’s very easy. All he has to do is lay an information (ie. make a complaint) at his nearest magistrates court, specifying the alleged wrongdoing and the name of the accused, and off he goes.

    On the other hand, if a little theorising sometimes helps, I do occasionally find myself wondering what is the point of the criminal law given that you can do with civil law pretty much everything the criminal law allows of prosecutors.

    Answers on a worldwideweb …

  5. That’s interesting, it almost suggests that Captain Potato is responding to my comment on the Haiti thread here. The Wrong-Lewis post has been up for about a week now, so it’s odd that he only just noticed it, while supposed to be playing steam trains

  6. Not a terribly helpful post, William Connolley: I don’t have time to read the book and less inclination to sign up to the website.

    Care to provide a short digest?

  7. So, anyone who has the information I have, and does not act as I would have, impeding the betterment of society as I see it, is guilty of a crime. Rule of Law much?

    This is the same process as when judge after judge suspends a Trump order because some opponent saw fit to call him a hater during the campaign and our law must not be “colored by Islamophobia.”

  8. aaa – indeed. Utter fuckwittery.

    Clearly hasn’t given any thought to the “failure to prevent” corporate offences either, the most recent of which is so beloved of tax justice saints, not that they would apply to Oxfam but hey, it’s good to theorise?

  9. “I’m meant not to be blogging and to be concentrating on a few days off, but since stopping thinking is like stopping breathing…”

    You’d think he’d be perpetually short of breath…

  10. Off-topic but relevant to Tim’s comment today at Adam Smith, about chronic betterment of lives as measured by the real cost of skateboards:

    “Americans now spend just 3.1 percent of their household budgets on clothing, according to government data, down from 6.2 percent four decades ago.” (Bloomberg via Newsmax, at the end of a story on Walmart’s efforts to pursue fashion) This remarkable news will receive none of the coverage of the increase in “national” health spending, which now includes electives, cosmetic procedures, and surgery to obviate behavior change such as diet and exercise.

    https://www.newsmax.com/finance/companies/walmart-amazon-clothing-apparel/2018/02/16/id/843729/

  11. aaa,

    If his rather idiosyncratic view of how guilt is established works, the crime of causing death by dangerous driving is going to be really easy to get out of. And manslaughter cases might be difficult to obtain a conviction in.

    And surely by his failure to understand the principle of mens res we could also argue ignorance of tax laws would mean you couldn’t be convicted of tax evasion? He’s an intellectual pygmy incapable of understanding the implications if his own babbling…

  12. Has a crime been committed? If crime is an affront to the accepted standards of society then, yes, that can be argued in both cases.

    The totalitarian mind.

  13. In Britain, everything is legal apart from those explicitly prohibited by law.
    In Germany, everything is illegal apart from those explicitly allowed by law.

    In Italy, everything is legal including those explicitly prohibited by law.
    In Russia, everything is illegal including those explicitly allowed by law.

  14. Has a crime been committed? If crime is an affront to the accepted standards of society then, yes, that can be argued in both cases.

    Social Justice Warriors always imagine that, come the Revolution, they’ll be the ones rounding up kulaks and saboteurs.

  15. Rob, Solid Steve and others, normally I’d back you all the way. But if I am right that it was slightly more than theoretically possible to charge widget fiddling contrary to common law, then Murphy is right that in the common law tradition (which instinctively I rather like) a crime is an affront to the accepted standards of society.

    One very significant reason, I believe, why common law offences have fallen out of fashion is because in an increasingly fragmented society it was very different to cleave to the notion that ignorance is no defence of the law if no one and sundry agreed what was right and what was wrong. So we ended up parliament telling us via statute.

    I’ve done no actual research on this.

    I think you’d all do better to goad Murphy into bringing a private pros.

  16. It’s also, incidentally, very difficult to cleave to the idea that ignorance of the law is no defence when parliament is criminalising activity faster than a 17th century witchfinder.

    I think it was actually a parliamentary question from Nick Clegg which established that between about 1997 and 2007 parliament had criminalised about 3,000 different things. Just in the abstract that’s extraordinary.

    3,000 that every prior generation of people had not considered to be wrong suddenly became wrong. As a benchmark of revolution, this is not a bad one.

  17. @Mr Lud…

    I don’t think that it was the creation of 3,000 new offences so much as explicitly detailing some 3,000 sets of circumstances that were already covered by existing statute. For instance, I believe that it became a specific offence to “detonate a nuclear device in the UK”, something that would previously have been covered by laws ranging from criminal damage to murder. 🙂

  18. Edward – eh, it’s not really within the bounds of reasonable possibility.

    Common law offences in English law do indeed trace back to societal norms (as ultimately all laws must, because it’s neither desireable or sustainable for the law to be significantly at odds with public opinion).

    But it’s not like English courts can (or do) just pull new crimes out of their bewigged posteriors. The last significant case I can think of offhand was when the House of Lords found marital rape was a crime in 1991. That was indeed a reaction (and a typically belated one) to changing social mores. 200 years ago we thought it was OK for a husband to violently force his wife to have sex with him, now we don’t.

    We can pretty safely assume the courts aren’t going to suddenly decide that “depriving the NHS of resources” is a crime, and any judge who tried it would be overturned quickly.

    OTOH, if Jeremy Corbyn gets into office, anything is possible, because Oliver Cromwell was right and Parliament is a kakistocracy.

  19. I think, and probably most do, that hanging out with IRA backing scum is an affront to social norms.

    So Jeremy Cornyn is in trouble then, by Spud’s “logic”.

  20. In Britain, everything is legal apart from those explicitly prohibited by law.
    In Germany, everything is illegal apart from those explicitly allowed by law.

    In Italy, everything is legal including those explicitly prohibited by law.
    In Russia, everything is illegal including those explicitly allowed by law.

    And in Switzerland, everything not explicitly prohibited by law is obligatory.

  21. Pogo, you’re kind of making my point for me: parliament goes mad criminalising all sorts of things and is it seriously to be imagined that the mischief thereby criminalised was never previously perceived?

    But equally when you’re no longer relying on a generalised social norm of “it’s not okay to slaughter lots of people”, then you end up trying to codify and provide for every last circumstance.

    Solid Steve, I’m not suggesting depriving the NHS of resources can it should be a crime, although I suspect many would.

    Rather, I am saying that traditionally that was how our system worked: everybody more or less agreed that something was wrong and therefore it was contrary to common law. Moreover, this was neither authoritarian not totalitarian.

    Fundamentally I suppose I am saying that Murphy is right in his claim as to what criminal law is. Or was. And that his remedy is easily available to him if he wishes it: a private prosecution.

    Presumably he will have good reasons for not pursuing that option …

  22. To Bongo’s point about the medical profession artificially restricting numbers of new entrants – why isn’t this constantly thrown back in the face of anyone moaning about shortage of doctors. It’s almost as if journalists (and Tory politicians) have no concept of supply and demand.

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