If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Justice? I don't think so.

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted this about the case of Mohammed Ibrahim, who was jailed for a derisory four months for running over a young girl, Amy Houston, in 2003. He knocked her down, saw what he had done, and ran away, leaving her dying underneath his car. Ibrahim did not hold a driving licence at the time of the accident and had previous criminal convictions.

At the time of my original post, he had appealed against the deportation order following his sentence, citing his 'right' to a family life under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act. The UK Border Agency appealed against this decision (good for them), but today we learn that two senior immigration judges have ruled that he can remain.

Ibrahim has been crafty. On his release from prison, he met an English woman and they now have two children. This is the ultimate 'get out of jail free' card for the clever asylum-seeker, of course. The 'right' to a family life trumps everything else in the crazy world of rights and entitlements.

If he wants to keep his family together, what is stopping them following him to Iraq when he is deported? If she loves him enough to bear him two children, surely that is a small price to pay for staying with the love of your life? If he is the love of your life, that is. Perhaps she is unwilling to go: "Hey I didn't agree to that!"

It is ironic, and deeply disgusting, that Ibrahim's so-called 'right' to a family life has trumped the more ancient right of Amy's parents to have their daughter alive and well, and not dying in the gutter because some cowardly criminal chooses to run away rather than face the consequences of his actions. (Just remember: she was alive when he left the scene, and might have survived had he called the emergency services before running away. Her father had the heart-breaking task of turning off her life support several hours later.) I'm sure the two senior judges would have wished it otherwise, and that their 'hands were tied' by the legislation (European law over-rides every other law, no matter how ancient), but when will someone within the system stand up and say that this is WRONG?

Another reminder:

I despair of my country.


  1. It seems to me that somehow fairness and common sense, two of the whispy but very important threads of British society, have become unfashionable with and then suppressed by our politicos, legalos and journos. Why don't we all howl louder and longer about this? And when we do why doesn't it make a difference?

    It's hard being an old ex-pseudohippie


  2. Some of our so-called Judges are not fit for purpose and fail to dispense justice. Until we have Judges elected by the people and accountable to them, we will continue to suffer injustice like this.

  3. Fairness = Equality no matter what, which means that the rights of the lazy, feckless and downright criminal are equal to the rights of the law-abiding and innocent. And Common Sense = right-wing populism, which leads to fascist oppression of the weak and helpless, as eny fule kno. No wonder British society was such a mess in the 1950s, and how glad we are (and grateful) that things are so much better now.

    Old ex-pseudohippie? Join the club, me old son. And don't bogart that joint while you're at it.

    (Just a thought, but 'fair' means something totally different today, compared to what it meant 40 years ago. You are right in that we pride ourselves on a sense of fairness - but what Gordon Brown deemed as 'fair' is nothing like what I mean by the term.)

  4. @Reefknot - indeed, and it is noticeable that juries get it right most of the time. What is often the problem is the ludicrous sentences, which - of course - are the province of the judge. Elected police chiefs may well be a start to getting justice back in the province of the people rather than the liberal elite.

  5. Sorry to hear that story. Liberal judges use their positions to apply their own law. Sad.

  6. I suspect it's because you haven't kept up with the Newspeak vocabulary.

    Older folks (including myself) probably think of fairness and equality as being "equality of opportunity", where everyone gets to start with the same possibilities and makes of them what they will.

    Under NuLabour, primarily, that became "equality of outcome", where everybody gets to have exactly the same rights all the time, regardless of how they behave.

    Common sense is no longer approved of because it can clearly distinguish which of these is right and which is wrong. I'm amazed Harriet Harman didn't introduce legislation to make it falt-out illegal.

  7. (That would be "flat-out", if only I could type).

  8. Typos forgiven - clumsy fingers happen to us all, and there's no 'edit' function in comments.

    @Motoroz - it's not the 'liberal' judges here (although they may have been, we don't know). It's the fact that our membership of the EU means that certain EU laws have primacy over our own, and we can't derogate from them even if we tried. The EU Human Rights laws trump all of our own UK legislation, and the Human Rights Act is a result of that. It's can't be rescinded, until we renegotiate our terms of membership of the EU, or leave.

    It's a complete travesty, but we have to live with it - for now.

  9. Yup, Endo, spot on. Equality of opportunity is a fine principle, as it is 'fair' in the sense I understand the word, and it encourages thrift and enterprise. Equality of outcome means the reverse - no need to make any effort, and you get the goodies whether you play by the rules or not.

    We're going backwards at the moment.

  10. Julia, come on in and pull up a chair. Drink?

  11. I also am appalled but not surprised. The judges don't have much choice but to apply the law as it stands and they repeatedly warned about this but were ignored.

    It's an old problem in English law - and indeed, in logic. We used to fudge round it by suspending a ruling when it gave a plainly ridiculous outcome and find something, anything, which distinguished a case.

    As the way of doing law has changed (yes, European influence) this has become increasingly difficult.

    Labour had run-ins with immigration judges, claiming they were applying the HRA wrongly, but they were not.

    The problem here is the law, not the judges.

  12. Too right. It's a big change from the way we used to work the law. You correctly say that judges used to apply common sense and get round ludicrous outcomes one way or another. I might add the change to automatic detection (e.g. speed cameras) and micro-managed enforcement (e.g. parking with 2" of bumper over a yellow line) wich mean that silly outcomes that no-one thinks reasonable are the rule, not the exception.

    The tragic thing is that support for the law is waning. When the law at the highest level is so visibly an ass, why would anyone worry about obeying it? Escaping a penalty is the reason, but these days it's the only reason. It's become a game. We used to be better than that.

  13. Mohammed Ibrahim is relying on the very same right to a family life under the Human Rights Act that he personally denied to Amy Houston's family.

    That is the fault in the law; its failure to point out Ibrahim's hypocrisy and deny him a right that he has denied others. The blame for this lies at the door of politicians, not Judges.

  14. The blame lies in our craven submission to the EU. Once we admitted that EU law has primacy over our own, we lost the chance to do anything about cases like this.

    I'm more convinced than ever that we need to get out, and fast, and reclaim our right to govern ourselves according to our own morals, not those of an unelected elite in another country.

  15. ReefKnot said...

    Some of our so-called Judges are not fit for purpose and fail to dispense justice. Until we have Judges elected by the people and accountable to them,

    Like our politicians, you mean?

    Aye GREAT success THAT was.

  16. Ibrahim has been crafty. On his release from prison, he met an English woman and they now have two children. This is the ultimate 'get out of jail free' card

    The answer?

    Speed up the process. Get hem out before they have time to go shagging.

  17. @ FT - as with politicians, judges are surely better elected then unelected as they are at present? Think Cameron vs Rumpy-pumpy. OK, I know ...

    Speed up the process, yes - or just make any lifestyle changes that the offender makes after the offence (like having children, marrying etc) inadmissible to any decision. Whatever you do afterwards, we decide on what you were doing beforehand. A previous conviction would make deportation automatic.


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