Category Archives: rule of law, the

Pœnological frivolity spurs terrorism

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 13.02.33Dalrymple writes of one of the Belgian bombers:

Before he turned murderously religious, he had been a bank robber. He fired a Kalashnikov at the police when they interrupted him in an attempted robbery, for which crime, or combination of crimes, he received a sentence of nine years’ imprisonment. Of those nine years he served only four, being conditionally discharged. The principal condition was that he had to attend a probation office once a month: about as much use, one might have supposed, as an igloo in the tropics.

No doubt

he underwent various assessments before release establishing his low risk of re-offending; he probably also said before his release that he now realised that shooting policemen with Kalashnikovs was wrong, that he was sorry for it, etc.

One of the causes, then, of terrorism in Europe is, says Dalrymple,

pœnological frivolity. A 40-year sentence would have been more appropriate.

Penology

is increasingly opposed to the rule of law: it favours the arbitrary and the speculative over the predictable and the certain.

Scary without Mary

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 14.30.18We must guard against abuse of authority

The rule of law, writes Dalrymple,

is a fragile construction, easily abandoned in times of crisis or high emotion. This makes defence of it the more imperative.

Dalrymple makes a point that, though self-evident to most civilised people, is apparently not grasped by some media commentators, namely that Sven Mary, Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer,

should not be decried for defending his client as best he can.

At the risk of labouring the obvious, Dalrymple points out that under the rule of law,

every accused has the right to a defence, and someone has to be Abdeslam’s lawyer.

Dalrymple reports that Mary himself made this important point:

What motivates me is the fight against arbitrariness and abuse of power. You remember the press conferences given live by the federal prosecution in the days, and even in the nights, that followed the Paris attacks? What sickened me was this way of using fear in order to obtain more power.

Blackmailers’ charter

Political corrector

Political corrector: Alison Saunders

They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. (John 18:30)

A growing threat to the rule of law

The Director of Public Prosecutions, the top public prosecutor for England and Wales, wants a man accused of forced sexual assault to be required to prove to police that his indicter assented to coition.

This, Dalrymple explains,

reverses the onus of proof for the first time from the prosecution to the defence. The man is to be presumed guilty until proved innocent rather than the other way round.

Suppose, says Dalrymple,
the DPP had suggested that, henceforth, muggers or any other class of criminal had to prove that they did not mug their accuser: what an outcry there would be — and justifiably so — from the habitual defenders of human rights. But the response from those quarters has been muted, to say the least.
It seems that while human rights
are universal, some people have fewer such rights than others, among them those people acquitted of racist murder or accused of rape.

Dalrymple drives home the important point:

The very worst criminal has the right to a defence, no less than the sainted innocent, and the basis on which he must be found guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, holds for him too. This is a basic protection of our law.

Presumption of guilt

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 03.31.33The no-smoke-without-fire argument is

primitive jurisprudence, returning us to the Middle Ages.

In murder trials, Dalrymple has often been ‘frustrated’ by

the inability to introduce evidence that the accused is a nasty, violent man, precisely of the kind to commit the offence.

But

the man in the dock is accused of specific acts, not of being a bad man in general of the kind whom we all love to hate. It is, therefore, right that he should be protected against the introduction of prejudicial information (or unsubstantiated rumour).

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 02.01.34Moreover,

Increased severity of punishment of wrongdoers cannot be used to atone or make up for past unjustified leniency.

The rule of law

does not come naturally to the human mind, and we are all susceptible to abandon it when our passions are engaged. Burning witches at stakes is much more natural.

Where law ends tyranny begins

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 03.31.33By eroding the rule of law in large parts of our society, we are threatening the rule of law in the whole of society,

Dalrymple points out in this documentary (at 0 mins 30 secs). At the 18:38 point Dalrymple explains that

the first and most important cause of crime is the decision of the criminal to commit it. The idea that criminals lack self-esteem is preposterous: the problem is not that they lack self-esteem but that they have far too much of it. They have not been humiliated nearly enough.

And from 22:15 he reminds us that

the primary victims of crime are the poor. For the poor, life can be like a prison without warders. Living in a criminalised neighbourhood is a kind of life sentence. At night people are locked into their houses by the disorder outside. Their prison governor is the local psychopath or the local psychopath’s family. He imposes his will; there is no appeal.

Against the psychopath, states Dalrymple, must be brought to bear (46:55)

a force greater than himself.