Thomlinson and other miscarriages of justice

The Ian Thomlinson case and many others tell  us police in England and Wales are not subject to the same justice as other citizens.  In some other countries this is codified in law, but in the UK the law appears to be made over and again on the hoof by parties interested in preventing embarrassment to themselves, but causing the same by their ridiculous bias and incompetence.  That we are expected to swallow this is of particular concern for our democracy.  Graham Smith (the articles Google – start at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a791442442 ) long ago produced a convincing argument that there is a vicious cycle of failing to bring about any real justice in police complaints.

General police responses to these matters show considerable stereotyping and adherence to the chronic paranoid-schizoid position which casts criticism to the position of enemy without any hesitation or reflection.  There has been substantial academic and legal debate on these matters, but this has regularly been dismissed by a system that cannot engage in self-criticism in any real depth.

We are in trouble,particularly if we want our police and legal system to be able to take the quicker and firmer actions to rid us of the antisocial crime that blights many ordinary lives.  We need both a streamlined system to do this and to protect civil rights at the same time.  The excuses given by the head of CPS today align him with the old, old arguments that it is really impossible to complain about police effectively, and that delay and confusion will be built into any investigation in a manner that we do not see as a matter of course in ‘civilian’ enquiries.

I used to hope that our legal system  did try to fix itself as it found out about miscarriages of justice, but this does not really seem to be the case.  The same kind of miscarriage keeps repeating and no one ever seems to be brought to book. The Tomlinson case has s smell similar to that of Nico Bento about it, in that police used a discredited forensic expert, and that clear CCTV evidence is not accepted as evidence.  Officers and prosecutors (judge and defence in the Bento case) all seem to be able to act in incompetent and illegal ways, prepared to put innocent lives at risk without any comeback.

There are many issues that need urgent attention, including why victims are not brought together as a group to establish what they are really experiencing.  Police officers watched-on whilst Mr. Thomlinson was being assaulted and did nothing.  The list is long and sorry.  We are probably moving into something we might label ‘Capitalism 4’ at the moment and I suspect this will require the kind of brutal disregard for civil rights of the 19th century.  The very idea that ;police could bring in their own, discredited man, to do an autopsy and then rely on the difference between this and the two later ones to make a prosecution unlikely to be successful because of irreconcilable differences (ie; between a police stooge and independent experts?) is so ludicrous one has to assume sense in our legal system has collapsed, or more likely that the establishment believes it can fob us off with any old tat.

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25 thoughts on “Thomlinson and other miscarriages of justice

  1. http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/ian-tomlinsons-death-puts-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-british-justice/

    This is a monstrous decision. How can anyone, ever again have any faith in our system of justice? There can be no question but that Keir Starmer must go. He has failed miserably to see beyond the minutiae and detail to the bigger and more important picture. He has failed all of us, each and every individual citizen of this country. Whatever it takes, be it a special Act of Parliament, he must be removed from office and PC Simon Harwood, thug, brute and murderer of Ian Tomlinson must be brought to justice.

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/keir-starmer-must-go/

    From today everything changes

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/the-right-to-bear-arms/

    • I think I agree entirely. People like Starmer and Hardwick (IPCC) now always seem to make the wrong decisions. I am concerned that I don’t want cops to feel even less capable of doing their job than now, but this kind of blundering in the legal system and a complaints system set up to obfuscate just has to go. I suspect it won’t and that this failure will be part of the dreadful realisation politics is just business as usual.

  2. Some days are destined to bring infamous news.

    I can hope the present generation of students will realise the significance of this decision and meet it headlong with some ‘show’ before the evening.

  3. Starmer hasn’t even shown a grip of the CCTV evidence, saying Thomlinson could not break his fall because his hands were in his trousers – his hands were clearly in place to do his as he went down.
    I want tougher powers for police, but the way they react to any criticism means we have to bring in changes to make them and the legal system accountable first. I think we have gone mad in public affairs generally, but this is an area we could do something about.
    It says something when our chief prosecutor can’t give a decent description of matters on CCTV – though at least he, unlike blunderer Hardwick at IPCC wasn’t dumb enough to deny their would be CCTV footage in Central London!

  4. I just discovered that I’m still barred by Inspector Gadget. His appalling bad taste and poor judgement in posting a “positive” story about the police at the G20 protest on the day when Ian Tomlinson’s murderer gets let off. Your well made point that the comments by many officers are akin to the messages of support that the monster Raul Moat has received.

    Tell you what, for two pins, I feel like taking out a dozen or so dirty cops right now. And the dirty cops are going to get more and more trouble until the deep seated corruption in the British police service is rooted out and destroyed.

  5. Please excuse a personal note to Peter Reynolds, Allcoppedout:

    “I just discovered that I’m still barred by Inspector Gadget.”

    Gadget emails his blog buddies with details of the ‘enemy’. You are therefore likely to be barred by other police bloggers, Peter – but IMHO you should consider it something of a compliment.

  6. I agree that this is a scandal and yet another disgrace.
    It is so bloody depressing and a clear signal that the [old] New Labour Orwellian placemen are still there doing damage. Keir Starmer needs to go and hang his head in shame for this betrayal, and for others too.

    His so called recent “guidance” on the law regarding assisted suicide was wrong. It opened the door for people to “dispose” of sick and disabled family members, and get away with it under the pretence of a “mercy killing”.

    There were people on the ITV news who were disgusted by the CPS decision, who stated that “the police think they can do what they like and get away with it”. I think that also applies to the legal system. This is SO wrong.

    Who will lead the “march” to clean up this cess pit?

    I haven’t been on Gadget recently since being put off by his “blame the victim attitude” towards Samantha Stobbart.
    I did leave a comment pointing out that I thought he was a “sexist grumpy git” for that unfair attitude. Some of the comments about Samantha Stobbart from others posting on IG were quite insulting and offensive. I just don’t want to read such vile stuff, from so called police officers. The young woman had been through a terrible ordeal, and shot for God’s sake. They must be warped.

    I wonder if I am barred from Gadget and now regarded as the “enemy”? Because I stuck up for Samantha, plus others
    and didn’t conform to the “cowdung” herd like opinions.

    Perhaps Gadget has lost the plot because he has been around the worst of society for so long. Sad really.

  7. There are good comments on Gadget – notably 24/7, Claustrophobic Inspector and Manchester Cop. The key thing not addressed there is why the resistance to Zanu PF Nulabour and managerialism generally has been so non-existent.
    I disagree with Mrs Magoo on being able to ‘exit with dignity’ – though I share her concerns and I’m sure she would want to hear me out. There is too little of this.
    JuliaM has pointed to the ridiculous groupthink amongst the cops, but this is everywhere. The broadcast media has dropped the G20 story like a stone today and can’t bring themselves to view the problem from its dreadful perspective- cops killing obviously vulnerable passers-by in front of other cops, even in front of cameras.
    Graham Smith pointed out long ago that we have a cycle of mounting concerns about police accountability (the lack of it) and backing down from proper civilian review because the cops don’t want it, so we get cover-up organisations like the IPCC (in local government the equivalent are ombudsmen).
    None of this will do, yet how do we really protest about it?
    We are, as Zizek says, probably facing a cruel version of capitalism on the rise, and this is no time to look back at the daft failures of fascism and communism, but more at how we have failed to establish democracy. It’s going to get even worse in the new depression.
    Everyone should feel free to address each other in here, or wherever we end up – I’d only edit out flaming and snerting and don’t want the T-shirt rights! Moat adoration would not be welcome, but the point on that seems generally missed – many people feel so deserted by proper authority they have to rely on ‘local discipline’.
    Gadget is actually right on the depravity aspects, but misses the point that it is lack of police and other agency intervention that allows a lot of it to persist. Much of this is to do with shoddy work by cops and other officers – what hope of exposing this when nothing gets done when it is caught on camera?

  8. Inspector Gadget isn’t a problem himself. It seems like quite a good idea to have a place where cops can spout off and relieve their frustrations. The problem is the appalling attitudes that Gadget reveals amongst serving officers. The disgraceful attacks on Nicola Fisher and Moat’s ex reveal individuals who are simply unfit to be police officers – and far too many of them. It’s quite clear that PC Stephen Harwood has form as a bully and a thug. See the comment on my blog from Ian Telford here:

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/ian-tomlinsons-death-puts-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-british-justice/#comments

  9. Peter – I’m off for a look at your post after this. I agree completely. I worked with some bloody awful cops as well as brilliant ones. The smearing of victims and complainants is de rigeur and the ‘hostile defensiveness’ reveals traps in early adolescence – but both are rife across politics and the wider legal system. No one seems to know what evidence is at all.

  10. The actions of PC Harwood were wrong and he should be held accountable. I’m not at all sure that I blame him for Mr Tomlinson’s death, but, I repeat, his actions were wrong.
    What makes this so universally serious, however, is that senior cops, as well as the dreaded CPS, are appearing to merely ‘accept’ this incident. [One can understand the reluctance of junior colleagues to condemn the actions, but certainly not the ‘chiefs’!]
    As others have more eloquently stated, ‘What on earth next?’ if we all sweep this under the carpet?

  11. I hadn’t realised he felled Ian Tomlinson with a baton blow. Not only have they made the wrong decision, they are putting on a public face of it being sensible and just when it clearly is not. How dumb or cowed do they take us to be?

  12. Agree about Ian Tomlinson – but also aware that the soil has been fertilised on a daily basis by the CPS and judges letting far too many people off for misdeeds.

    And there are two kinds of bad cops – the ones who are angry and frustrated or love power but there is also the slick PR cop who knows are the correct PC phrases and how to deflect community anger at bad/lack of policing with smoothness and unruffled “candor”. I can understand the first though I will want prosecution/punishment when the line is crossed. The second are in some ways just as bad as they alienate the normal folks who should be their allies.

  13. It’s very hard to allow the right kind of aggression. Even in professional rugby it easily boils over to counter-productive penalties or a sending-off. I’ve seen cops go berserk on adrenaline and realise I lost my cool several times.Not like this creep Harwood though and under much more stress.
    Coniston is right and I’ve met both kinds. I didn’t like what Smellie did, but could see an excuse there, though I don’t really believe the story.
    The big lie on the public sector as a whole is competence – this is actually rare. We need easier and better complaints systems for quality (not kwality bull)- but these also need not to favour idiot complaints.

  14. Yes, there are good coppers posting on Gadget’s blog.
    I have enjoyed reading it on many occasions, even if I have not agreed with IG and others opinions on some matters. Relieved to hear that you feel Gadget isn’t the “problem”. However blaming a victim who has been traumatised and hurt IS “a problem” that needs to be looked at and questioned by reasonable people, because it appears to be the well trodden path of corrupt coppers.

    Of course people would wish to “exit with dignity” when seriously sick/disabled. However, I am not wrong that the recent clarification of the law on assisted suicide is open to abuses of power. There was a time when Doctors acted with compassion and in line with patients wishes regarding that. The problem lays in situations whereby the stronger oppress the weak and vulnerable, by deciding who will live and who will die. Power trips!

    Dickiebo ….There has been FAR WORSE than this swept under the carpet by cops, local authority agencies, the judiciary and politicians! “It” has been revealed however on numerous unofficial police blogs in recent years, including this one. Good on you Champ, et al!

  15. Perhaps the media dropped the Ian Tomlinson injustice because things are happening behind the scenes.

    Plus, the case of Venables 2 years for downloading child porn has caused a bit of protest and disgust.
    Questions are being asked about how competent this system actually is when it comes to protecting the public.

  16. The media appeared to be driving and supporting the campaign for clarification on the law regarding assisted suicide. They advanced the ideas and personal wishes of a sufferer of M.S and a well known author. The media and the CPS used the death of a young female sufferer of M.E, also a victim of abuse, whose mother “helped” her to die.

    They didn’t get the change in the law they wanted,
    but they did obtain a “get out of jail” card from the CPS.

    When the subject matter suits them, the media can be a very powerful influence upon public opinion and governments. And governments can and do gag the media.

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