So now we introduce Pavel Morozov into British life

Children are being used to spot speeding motorists and go on night-time patrols.

The ‘Mini Police’ project for those aged nine to 11 was started by Durham Constabulary and is now being taken up across the country. It gives uniforms to pupils in ‘economically deprived areas’ and invites them to special events.

The idea, according to official documents, is that ‘vulnerable children’ will be given a ‘positive experience of policing’ and ‘get involved in the local community’.

But they can also ‘support subtle educational interventions to tackle Serious Organised Crime’ and ‘gun and gang crime’.

Units of the Mini Police often go out on ‘community speed watch’ duty, monitoring passing motorists on busy roads.

Well, yes

The notable collapse of a series of rape trials could endanger future convictions of genuine rapists because of reduced public trust in the justice system, the former head of the judiciary has warned.

Lord Judge, who was lord chief justice in England and Wales from 2008 to 2013, said juries may start doubting the quality of evidence presented to them in court after several high-profile rape cases collapsed owing to blunders by police and the CPS.

So, stop fucking up the trials then.

And do note that this is the point of juries. Exactly and precisely to note when the average bod in the street thinks that the legal system is wrong, unbalanced, taken over by the fanatics. That fanaticism being that all penetrative sex without written consent is rape, that those who believe in transubstantiation instead of consubstantiation (or the reverse) should be burnt at the stake or people should be hung for stealing goods to the value of 5 shillings and a penny.

Juries going “Nah, fuck off mate” isn’t an error, it’s the point.

Sorta a statue of limitations type thingie

Former prostitutes are set to sue the Government over criminal records checks which stop them volunteering with Brownie groups.

A group of women will argue that policies which leave convictions for soliciting on their records are discriminatory and intrude into their private lives.

The women, most of whom are anonymous, say their convictions become known many years after they stopped working as prostitutes and have prevented them from taking up volunteering and job opportunities.

One anonymous claimant said: “It doesn’t matter what it is – trying to help out at my kids’ school or the local brownies’ coffee morning, trying to be a governor or a councillor, applying to education or training or employment – even volunteering in so many fields – with children, with the elderly, in care, with vulnerable people, with youth work, with social work – all need a DBS and then you get treated like some sort of pariah or sex offender.

It’s not limitations, that’s about how long after something you can potentially be prosecuted for it. Rather, spent convictions. But the idea/both ideas seem useful in an actual and real society. “Long time ago, it’s over, done.”

All too many people just don’t think that way though, which is why we’ve not got it in these records checks.

Not really up to you to decide matey

One US Federal Bureau of Investigation official who has become so frustrated with Apple’s iPhone security, he has described its products as the work of an “evil genius”.

The technology giant, which has sold billions of products, has made it increasingly difficult to break into iPhones, claiming it keeps customers safer from hackers. But government officials say these measures are getting in the way of justice by blocking potential evidence from suspected criminals.

“At what point is it just trying to one-up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement?” said FBI forensic expert Stephen Flatley during the International Conference on Cyber Security in Manhattan this week.

Describing Apple as “jerks”, Mr Flatley revealed that Apple recently made its iPhones even harder to access. It has recently added a trick that makes password cracking software much slower, making it more difficult for law enforcement to break into phones, he said.

Partly because if the people want secure phones then the people should have secure phones. And partly because (Har, Har, sarcasm alert!) not every law enforcement organisation in the world is as unpolitical and protective of civil rights as the FBI.

So, how does this work?

Five men and a woman have been charged with being members of banned far-right group National Action following a string of arrests last week.

West Midlands Police said Nathan Pryke, 26, Adam Thomas, 21, Claudia Patatas, 28, Darren Fletcher, 28, Daniel Bogunovic, 26, and 24-year-old Joel Wilmore will all appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

A police spokesman said all six accused, who come from Cambridge, Oxfordshire, Wolverhampton, Leicester and Stockport, had been charged with being a member of a proscribed organisation contrary to section 11 of the Terrorism Act.

So, banned in December 2016. At which point does membership become a crime?

At the moment of banning? Bit harsh, as it’s only just become illegal. At the end of a subscription? When the membership card runs out?

Note this isn’t about this particular banning, it’s purely about the mechanics of when something legal turns into something illegal.

You what?

Women targeted by Worboys are devastated by the imminent release of the black-cab driver, who “denied his heinous crimes and then forced [victims] to endure the torment of a criminal trial”, said Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon.

Asking to be tried is in itself an offence these days?

This is why double jeopardy

Police and prosecutors have indicated they are prepared to bring fresh charges against John Worboys, the ‘black cab rapist’, amid a growing furore over why dozens of crimes were never brought to trial in the first place.

Police issued an appeal for information that could lead to a fresh investigation into Worboys, one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

Meanwhile, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said three rape and sex assault cases dating back to Worboys’ conviction but not presented at trial could now be used against him.

Yes, I know, different crimes are different crimes. But the idea is that the State gets one shot at having a go at you. They prove it, you do the time, they don’t you’re off.

And, notably, they don’t get to come back again and again once one set of time has been done.

Sorry about this, but imagine those stories of 100 rapes are true. He shouldn’t be prosecuted, not now, for any of them. He’s fair game if there’s a murder etc, but not for rape.

I don’t have the law on my side here, nor perhaps even fairness. But that they can’t do serial prosecutions is a protection to us all.

So, err, how does this usually happen?

The Parole Board should immediately publish its reasons for allowing the release of rapist John Worboys from prison, the head of an influential parliamentary committee has said.

Yvette Cooper, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said she was “really shocked” by the move to release the former London cab driver and called for scrutiny of the Parole Board’s reasoning before the prolific sex attacker is let out of jail.

Worboys, a former stripper and adult film star, was jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years, for drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers.

It is feared he may have more than 100 victims and the Parole Board’s decision sparked an outcry from charities and support groups when it was made public on Thursday.

The courts sentence, the Parole Board decides upon parole. Is it usual that there’s political interference in either decision?

And will they go back over settled cases?

Scotland Yard has announced a ­review of all current rape and sex abuse investigations after a second trial collapsed in less than a week amid claims that police withheld crucial evidence.

Isaac Itiary, 25, had been charged with the rape of a child, but the case was thrown out on Tuesday after concerns were raised over the failure of detectives to disclose vital material to prosecutors and the defence.

Just days ago, 22-year-old Liam Allan had his case thrown out when it emerged police had failed to disclose thousands of text messages that would have proved his innocence.

It has since emerged that it was the same Scotland Yard detective who had worked on both cases. Detective Constable Mark Azariah, 37, who works on the Met’s specialist rape and sex abuse unit, is still on full active duty.

But the collapse of two cases in similar circumstances in a matter of days has prompted senior officers to launch a review of every live rape case currently being investigated by the force.

Anyone serving time unfairly we think?

Sigh

He warned of the risks of “serious miscarriages of justice” after hearing that, to save costs, material was not always handed to defence lawyers.

It’s one of the first damn duties of the State, that Queen’s Justice thing. And they can’t even get that right.

When a new prosecution barrister took over the case the day before the start of the trial, he ordered police to hand over any telephone records. It was revealed that they had a computer disk containing copies of 40,000 messages.

They showed that she continued to pester Mr Allan for “casual sex”, told friends how much she enjoyed it with him and discussed her fantasies of being raped and having violent sex.

Jerry Hayes, the prosecuting barrister, told the court yesterday that he would offer no evidence. “I would like to apologise to Liam Allan. There was a terrible failure in disclosure which was inexcusable,” he said.

Who is going to get fired for this?

An interesting retirement hobby

A 70-year-old woman living in a Vermont retirement home passed her time experimenting with homemade ricin, even testing it on fellow residents, the Justice Department said Friday.

No one had apparently been killed by Betty Miller’s activities at the bucolic Wake Robin retirement home in Shelburne, Vermont, which advertises a population of “vibrant, engaged people and a community in which you can be yourself.”

But Miller was arrested by FBI agents Thursday amid fears she had stockpiled a weapon of mass destruction.

The FBI was alerted to a dangerous substance at the home earlier this week, and discovered a bottle labelled “ricin” in her residence. Tests confirmed it contained the deadly substance.

“Miller stated that she had an interest in plant-based poisons and had conducted internet research on how to make them,” the FBI said in a statement.

“She stated that she manufactured ricin in the kitchen of her Wake Robin residence and, to test its potency, placed the ricin in the food or beverages of other residents.”

An FBI WMD team returned for a search of her apartment and found more ricin, and components from plants, including apple, yew, cherry, castor and foxglove, which all can be used to produce poisonous substances.

Why not learn how to poison people?

Extra points could be awarded for claiming to be Wiccan and thus covered by First Amendment protections…..hey, it works for some Indians and their drugs.

An interesting little thought

So, you can be punished for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Well, hey, why not? No, really, we’re a democracy, they over the Pond are too, such laws can indeed be passed and they have been.

If you’re going to offer a service to the public then you’ve got to do so in a non-discriminatory manner*.

Shrug.

Twitter can and does ban people for saying entirely legal but unapproved of stuff. So, if you’re offering a service to the public you don’t have to do so in a non-discriminatory manner*.

Hmm.

Rather the point of this civil liberty, rule of law, sorta stuff is that it’s not discriminatory in this manner, isn’t it? We don’t divide into Good ‘uns and Bad ‘uns, those who gain the protection of the law and those who don’t. Rather, all are subject to the same law and laws.

Hmm.

*My own answer is that producers and providers can do what the fuck they like** on any grounds whatsoever, let the market sort it out. But that’s not the zeitgeist is it, despite being logically valid as a position?

** Who they provide to that is, not how, obviously. As with the publican, short measures are illegal but the right to ban anyone whenever, whatever, exists.

And what should we be doing then?

OPINION
When Sexual Assault Victims Are Charged With Lying
Across the country, police have prosecuted women for false reports that turned out to be true.
By KEN ARMSTRONG and T. CHRISTIAN MILLER

Not sure that police prosecute. Still, I’m also pretty sure that whoever it is that does prosecute has also charged and tried allegations of sexual assault which turn out not to be true. You know, a fairly large portion of those accused of such do turn out to be innocent after all.

If only we had some system of deciding these troubled cases. You know, a system of looking at the evidence, some group of people who were asked to decide about it all, a set of rules for how such an investigation into the truth or not of such a claim are to be run?

It’s a real pity that no human civilisation has yet come up with something like that, isn’t it?

Twitter used to be vehemently free speech, didn’t they?

Twitter announced new guidelines for verified accounts on Wednesday, one week after the company was harshly criticized for granting the coveted blue checkmark to Jason Kessler, the organizer of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August.

“We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines,” the company wrote on Twitter.

Among the behaviors that will result in the revocation of verification are “promoting hate and/or violence”, supporting hate groups, “inciting or engaging in harassment of others”.

Shortly after the policy change was announced, the company de-verified the accounts of the white nationalist Richard Spencer, the far-right activist Laura Loomer, the English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, and others.

Tempus mutandis, eh?

Wonder if promoting hate of the bourgeoisie will count here? Sure, a private organisation, they can do what they like. But, still, partiality….

Well, if that’s what the law says then….

Deliveroo won the right not to give its couriers the minimum wage or holiday pay on Tuesday, dealing a blow to campaigners for workers’ rights in the gig economy.

In a key legal ruling the Central Arbitration Committee, a body that resolves worker disputes, said the food delivery firm’s riders were self-employed contractors as they had the right to allocate a substitute to do the work for them.

The case, brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) as part of an attempt to gain recognition by the company, relates to couriers in the Camden and Kentish Town districts of north London. But it is seen as a test case for riders across the UK, including those working for other firms similar to Deliveroo.

Gives Uber an idea too no?

No, I’d never heard of him either

An American billionaire, who gagged the British press after being arrested on suspicion of raping a woman at a top London hotel, is at the centre of a legal dispute in the US following allegations that he paid money to settle the claim.

The businessman was questioned by City of London Police in May, after a woman said she was attacked in the penthouse suite of a hotel in the heart of London’s financial centre.

Details of his arrest emerged the following month, but the father of two went to the High Court, and after paying £100,000 in legal fees, succeeded in winning an injunction against The Sun newspaper, which meant no British publication could name him.

Now in an extraordinary twist, those allegations have become the subject of a high profile legal battle in the United States, with the businessman sueing a public relations firm he has accused of peddling smears against him.

Details of the case have been reported in the US media – where the injunction does not apply – and so are available online for British readers.

However, here’s the fun bit. If British readers – ie, someone sitting in the UK – does access that information then those articles accessed are subject to the injunction. Odd but true, that’s how it works.

That we’ve actually got to restate this basic piece of law

John Bercow has backed demands for MPs to be told details of offences they are accused of as he claimed they were being treated like terrorists.

Speaking to students at the Mile End Institute in east London, the Commons Speaker said MPs are “entitled” to be told of the allegations.

You need to be told what the charges are, to be able to face the accuser, to be able to mount a defence and all the rest of it. We sorted much of this out in the 13 th and 14 th centuries, didn’t we?

On the Japanese death penalty

Inmates on Japan’s death row are not notified of the date or
time of execution until an hour or so before it occurs. Former prison
officials suggest that some condemned are extracted from their cells
on the ruse that they are “wanted in the office”.7
At most, the aboutto-be-killed
are given only enough time to clean their cells, write a
final letter, and receive last rites. Death penalty supporters have
called this sudden “your-time-has-come” policy a “surprise attack”
(damashi-uchi). Whatever the nomenclature, what it means is that the
condemned live for years not knowing if the present day will be their
last. Sakae Menda, who was exonerated and released in 1983 after
spending 34 years on death row, had this to say about Japan’s prior
notification policy: “Between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning was the
most critical time, because that was generally when prisoners were
notified of their execution…You begin to feel the most terrible
anxiety, because you don’t know if they are going to stop in front of
your cell. It is impossible to express how awful a feeling this was. I
would have shivers down my spine. It was absolutely unbearable.”8

Relatives of the condemned are told of the execution after the
fact and are given twenty-four hours to collect the body.

Isn’t US gun control just going to be so effective?

The US air force failed to report the accused Texas church shooter’s domestic violence conviction to the FBI as required by Pentagon rules, a move that would have prevented the attacker from buying a gun.

All those people insisting that if only we had more laws to control guns. All those people not quite getting that having a law doesn’t actually solve problems – not entirely at least – because the state isn’t in fact all that efficient.