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Plumbing the depths: Blunkett squeezes the innocent

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Post Post subject: Plumbing the depths: Blunkett squeezes the innocent Reply with quote

This was originally posted in the Chat Forum by Danny on Sunday March 14th. It's so outrageous that it surely deserves at least a few weeks here in the Hall of Fame (lest we forget):

From Neil Mackay in the Sunday Herald:

"We locked you up in jail for 25 years and you were innocent all along? That’ll be £80,000 please

Blunkett charges miscarriage of justice victims ‘food and lodgings’

By Neil Mackay, Home Affairs Editor

WHAT do you give someone who’s been proved innocent after spending the best part of their life behind bars, wrongfully convicted of a crime they didn’t commit?

An apology, maybe? Counselling? Champagne? Compensation? Well, if you’re David Blunkett, the Labour Home Secretary, the choice is simple: you give them a big, fat bill for the cost of board and lodgings for the time they spent freeloading at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in British prisons.

On Tuesday, Blunkett will fight in the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the right to charge victims of miscarriages of justice more than £3000 for every year they spent in jail while wrongly convicted. The logic is that the innocent man shouldn’t have been in prison eating free porridge and sleeping for nothing under regulation grey blankets.

Blunkett’s fight has been described as “outrageous”, “morally repugnant” and the “sickest of sick jokes”, but his spokesmen in the Home Office say it’s a completely “reasonable course of action” as the innocent men and women would have spent the money anyway on food and lodgings if they weren’t in prison. The government deems the claw-back ‘Saved Living Expenses’.

Paddy Hill was one of the Birmingham Six. He spent 16 years behind bars for the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings by the IRA. Hill now lives on a farm with his wife and children near Beith in Scotland. He has been charged £50,000 for living expenses by the Home Office.

It wasn’t until two years ago that Hill was finally awarded £960,000 in compensation. However, during the years since his release, while waiting for the pay-out, the government had given him advances of around £300,000. When his compensation came through, the £300,000 was taken back along with interest on the interim payments charged at 23% – that cost him a further £70,000.

“The whole system is absurd,” Hill said. “I’m so angry about what has happened to me. I try and tell people about being charged for bed and board in jail and they can’t believe it.

“When I left prison I was given no training for freedom – no counselling or psychological preparation. Yet the guilty get that when they are released. To charge me for the food I ate and the cell I slept in is almost as big an injustice as fitting me up in the first place.

“While I was in prison, my family lost their home, yet they get no compensation. But the state wants its money back. It’s like being kicked in the head when someone has beat you already.

“I have to put up with this, yet there has not been one police officer convicted of fitting people up. The Home Office had no shortage of money to keep me in jail or to run a charade of a trial.

“But they had enough money to frame me. Nevertheless, when it comes to paying out compensation for ruining my life they happily rip me to shreds.”

Hill is not leading the legal action against the government – instead he has handed the baton to another high-profile victim of miscarriage of justice: Mike O’Brien.

O’Brien spent 10 years in jail wrongly convicted of killing a Cardiff newsagent. His baby daughter died while he was in prison and he was charged £37,500 by the Home Office for his time behind bars.

Hill said he cannot lead the legal fight as the Birmingham Six have fought every legal action together, but now three of them are over 70 and Hill believes it is too much to ask them to join him in taking on the government yet again.

He said he was also worried about the compensation payments for the other members of the Birmingham Six being affected if they joined him in court against the government.

“The establishment hate me and people like me as we proved them wrong,” he said. “They either want to ignore us or hurt us.”

O’Brien took the Home Office to court last March and won, but Blunkett appealed the decision. On Tuesday, the rights and wrongs of the government policy will be decided at the Royal Courts.

O’Brien said: “Morally, the position of the government is just outrageous. It shows total contempt for the victims of miscarriages of justice. It makes me livid.

“I really believe if we win the appeal this week, the government is evil enough to take me to the House of Lords. They are trying to break us. I really think this is personal as far as the government is concerned.

“A government really can’t get much worse than this. But I am confident that we will win as the law and morality are on our side.”

Vincent Hickey, one of the Bridgewater Four who was wrongly convicted for killing a paperboy, was charged £60,000 for the 17 years he spent in jail. He said: “If I had known this I would have stayed on hunger-strike longer, that way I would have had a smaller bill.”

John McManus, of the Scottish Miscarriage of Justice Organisation, said: “This is reprehensible. How can we call ourselves a democratic, civilised society when our government is acting like this?

“The government seems intent on punishing innocent people. The state wants to be paid for making a mistake. It’s hard to believe someone actually thought this policy up. If you tell a child about this they will think it insane.

“Only a sick mind could have invented this policy, yet the government is fighting to retain the right to act like this. It is cruelty with intent. They seem to want to punish people for having the audacity to be innocent.”

The SNP’s shadow justice minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “This is outrageous. It is another assault by Blunkett on the rule of law and on civil liberties. These people didn’t chose to go to prison. They were wrongly convicted, and to charge them for it beggars belief.”

The Home Office said an “independent assessor appointed by the Home Secretary takes into acccount the range of costs the prisoner might have incurred had they not been imprisoned”. The spokes man said the assessor was “right” to do this, adding: “Morally, this is reasonable and appropriate.”

‘I was a hostage, now they are billing me’
ROBERT Brown was just a 19-year-old from Glasgow when he was jailed for life for murdering a woman called Annie Walsh in Manchester in 1977. He served 25 years before he was finally freed in 2002, when the courts ruled him innocent of the crime.
He is now facing a bill of around £80,000 for the living expenses he cost the state. For Brown, it is the final straw. An interim payment he was given pending his full compensation offer is exhausted; his mother recently died; his relationship with his girlfriend has fallen apart and he is facing eviction from his home following a mix-up over benefits.

“I feel like ending my life,” he says. “I’ve tried to maintain my dignity, but the state has treated me with nothing but contempt – now they are asking me for money for my bed and board in jail.

“I never contemplated suicide once while I was in prison, but it’s different on the outside. I have received no counselling or support. Society is treating me like something you’d wipe off the bottom of your shoes, but I’m an innocent man and a victim of a terrible injustice.

“It’s horrific. I’ve been out of jail for 14 months and in that time the state has put me through a war of attrition that it never needed to conduct. I feel my life is disintegrating around me.

“Making me pay for my bed and board is abhorrent. I was arrested, fitted up and held hostage for 25 years and now they are going to charge me for being kept as their prisoner against my will.

“Can you think of a more disgusting way to abuse someone? I really feel that my heart is truly and finally broken.”

14 March 2004
Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:43 am
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Post Post subject: 'Saved Living Expenses' Reply with quote

The next logical step would be to charge soldiers war-widows for all the 'Saved Living Expenses' that the soldier would have incurred had they lived.

And of course kidnappers should also be reimbursed by their victims for their 'Saved Living Expenses'.
Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:27 pm
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Post Post subject: plumbing the depths Reply with quote

If the following constitutional stunners, on the media and courts, if made publicly known, can relevantly help the position of these victims, then they have been further betrayed in their hour of oppression, by every academic and big organisation that has ignored the following constitutional stunners when offered them for use.
Data answered quite nicely recently, by the way.


There are 2 separate reasons, simultaneously, why a constitutional claim has come into existence that the ordinary public have an automatic right to have any item that is not already recognised, aired in or covered by the media. I have notifed my MSPs, the Scottish Civic Forum, and a wide variety of autistic organisations of it. The claim through the hate crime issue applies only to Britain, but the claim through MMR applies in any country where public policy on it is affected by the science being in dispute, should include America and Canada. The constitutional claim for the ordinary population to have media coverage or publication by automatic right, of all not yet covered items on legal or public policy issues, is a claim that democrats have longed for 200 years to find a way of making.
Firstly, the crisis over the MMR vaccine, with a legal case going on to discredit the researcher, sits alongside the government concurring to the Scottish parliament Cross Party Group on autism, which I attend, on Jan 29, that more research on MMR is needed. But vendettas and career penalties against researchers, have been described publicly and at the CPG. Now, you can't establish research should never have been published, without hearing all the details of those efforts to suppress it. Hence instead, the case establishes that claimed evidence of child harm can have its publication fought by vendettas and then formally challenged! This is now the situation, regardless of whether MMR research itself is right or wrong. That proves for all time that selective powers over what to publish can't be trusted with evidence on child safety. Hence, any evidence on claims of unrecognised details of bad outcomes to any policy connected with youth, such as in education, have an automatic right to be published. Then, by the argument of discrimination, why should this apply only to youth?
Secondly, a scandal of insurance policies requiring evictions of unemployed people from hotels, has gone unpublicised by the media, nor exposed and stopped by any political party, since 1995. This scandal was a stripping of normal citizenship away from a stratum of population, any form of which is already against European Convention article 14 and is the starting point, from the precedent of Nazi Germany, of what the human rights concept is purposed to prevent. Yet the media, in a position of discretionary power over what to cover, failed in its democratic role to act as a check preventing a stripping of normal rights of citizenship from a stratum of population. Hence from now on, any democracy is only upholding the key starting point of the human rights concept if the ordinary public have automatic rights to media coverage and/or publication of any unrecognised evidence to do with any form of discrimination. I made this claim at the Civic Forum's seminar on discrimination and the Hate Crime bill on March 8, and in submission to the hate crime bill consultation.


date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 13:00:32 to: subject: Re:

My name is Maurice Frank and I'm in Scotland. I have sent hundreds of copies of this worldwide. THE COURT CHANGE IN 141 COUNTRIES: judges' decisions are no longer final.
I have been lobbying people in a series of political situations throughout the last 3 years, Genoa, Australia, Israel etc, to spread knowledge of the court change, whose shifting of power in favour of ordinary people ensures that it has been under a media silence. Nevertheless, it's on publicly traceable record through petitions 730/99 in the European, PE6 and PE360 in the Scottish, parliaments. Since 7 July 1999 all court or other legal decisions are "open to open ended fault finding by all parties and recapitulation therupon" instead of final.
This follows from my European Court of Human Rights case 41597/98 on an insurance scam of evictions of unemployed people from hotels. This case referred to violation of civil status from 13 May 97, yet the admissibility decision claimed the last inland decision stage was on 4 Aug 95. ECHR has made itself illegal, by claiming finality in issuing a syntactically contradictory nonsense decision that reverses the physics of time. It violates every precedent of member countries' laws recognising the chronology of cause and effect, in evidence.
The European Convention's section on requiring a court to exist, now requires its member countries to create a new schismatic ECHR that removes the original's illegality, by its decisions not being final. It follows this requires inland courts to be compatible with open ended decisions and doing inland work connected to them. Hence inland decisions also cease to be final and become open ended, in the 44 Council of Europe countries.
World trade irreversibly means jurisdictions are not cocooned but have overlapping cases. When a case overlaps an affected and unaffected country, the unaffected country becomes affected, through having to deal with open ended case content open endedly, that can affect any number of other cases open endedly. Open endedness is created in its system.
The concept of "leave to appeal" is abolished and judges no longer have to be crawled to as authority figures. Every party in a case is automatically entitled to lodge a fault finding against any decision, stating reasons. These are further return faultable, including by the original fault finder, stating reasons. A case reaches its outcome when all fault findings have been answered or accepted.
Anyone can add to the list of court change countries outside the Council of Europe, showing autocracies, pending their freer futures, as well as democracies. It starts with:

Israel and Lebanon through the case in Belgium on the Sabra-Chatila massacres.
America, Canada, Australia through my child brain research ethics dispute with Arizona university, stalled by an American government obstruction of justice. Obviously there will be many cases making these 3 countries court change, so I should not be seen as seeking the ego fantasy of taking personal credit for it through my case, but time priority entitles me to put my case in the list like this.

Rest of the list:
Yugoslavia through war crimes cases overlapping Bosnia.
Kosovo through war crimes cases overlapping Yugoslavia.
North Cyprus through Turkey's UN legal challenge against South Cyprus joining the EU.
Belarus through its election dispute, both with OSCE election monitoring, and the American state department over murders of 3 opponents.
Monaco through International Amateur Athletics Federation drug hearings there.
Vatican City through Sinead O'Connor's ordination as a Catholic priest.
Cuba through Elian Gonzalez.
Haiti through objecting to receiving petty crime deportations from America.
Antigua through its constitutional crisis on capital punishment.
Jamaica through claims on both sides of American linked arms trade background to its violence.
Mexico through the Benjamin Felix drug mafia extradition to America.
Belize through Michael Ashcroft.
Guatemala through the child stealing and adoption scandal overlapping America.
Colombia through America's supposed human rights policy intervention in training Colombian police and military.
Brazil through EU immigration unfairnesses to its football players, necessitating a mafia trade in false passports.
Argentina through its ECHR case on the General Belgrano.
Chile through General Pinochet.
Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay through Judge Garzon's citation of Henry Kissinger for the South American military conspiracy Operation Condor.
Chad and Senegal through a French action in Senegal obtaining Chad's former dictator Habre for trial under Pinochet's precedent.
Algeria through the Harkis' case from the Algerian war.
Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Morocco through the Insight News case.
Ivory Coast through the chocolate slavery scandal.
Ghana through the World Bank's Dora slave scandal.
Togo through the Lome peace accords for Sierra Leone, and their breaking as an issue in factional arms supply to there.
Burkina Faso through an arms trade case of smuggling through it from Ukraine to civil war factions in Sierra Leone and Angola.
Niger and Rwanda through Oxfam's case of buying an arms trade "end user certificate" for Rwanda in Niger.
Burundi through the war crimes trial of Rwanda's 1994 head of state.
Tanzania and Japan through the 2000 G8 summit, because Tanzania Social and Economic Trust broadcast a contradiction in implementing both its wishes for economic advance and its debt relief terms.
Mozambique through its cashew nuts dispute with the World Bank.
South Africa and Lesotho through a WHO case against American pharmaceutical ethics there.
Nigeria through reported Nigerian drug mafia crime in South Africa.
Dahomey and Gabon through their slave trafficking scandals overlapping Nigeria and Togo.
Zimbabwe through its land finances dispute with Britain.
Equatorial Guinea through the charges in Zimbabwe of a coup conspiracy.
Zambia through Cafod's collection of objections to food supply and health violations in its IMF structural adjustment program.
Namibia through the Herero genocide case against Germany.
Angola, Congo Kinshasa, Ecuador through arms trade smuggling to them from Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Sudan through Al Shafi pharmaceutical factory suing America for bombing it.
Ethiopia through aid sector comment on its conditional debt relief.
Somaliland through its problem with Russian and South Korean coastal fishing.
Kenya through the Archer Post munitions explosion case overlapping Britain.
Uganda through the Acholiland child slave crisis and Sudan's agreement to return children.
Mauritius through the Ilois rights judgment on the Chagos clearances.
Yemen through its problem with Spain over the missile shipment.
United Arab Emirates through Mohammed Lodi.
Saudi Arabia through the lawsuit by families of September 11 victims.
Qatar through the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Bahrain through the call for American witnesses in Richard Meakin's case.
Kuwait through the terrorism arrests in Saudi Arabia.
Iraq through the resumption in 2002 of the UN weapons inspection dispute.
Jordan through its threat of "unspecified measures" in its relations with Israel.
Egypt through its disputes with Tanzania and Kenya over use of Nile water.
Libya, Syria, Iran through the Lockerbie bomb trial.
Afghanistan through Ben Ladan.
Pakistan through a dispute between supporters of Islamically enslaved women and the British embassy for not helping them escape.
India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia through the World Wildlife Fund's campaign for tiger conservation, conflicting western romanticism with local populations affected by the homicidal absurdity of conserving a human predator.
Nepal through the Gurkhas' lawsuit for equal pay and pensions.
Vietnam through a church publicised refugee dispute overlapping China.
Cambodia through its enactment for a trial of the Khmer Rouge Holocaust.
Laos through Peter Tatchell's application to arrest Henry Kissinger.
Thailand through Sandra Gregory.
Burma through the Los Angeles judgment on the Unocal oil pipeline.
Sri Lanka through its call for the Tamil Tigers' banning in Britain.
East Timor through public reaction to the judgment against trying Suharto.
Papua New Guinea through WWF's Kikori mangrove logging affair.
New Zealand through its ban on British blood donations.
Nauru through the Australian civil liberty challenge on the Tampa refugees.
Fiji through its land crisis's nonracial solubility by a Commonwealth constitutional
question against rent and mortgages.
Tuvalu through environmentalist challenges to America's rejection of international agreements on global warming and sea level.
Marshall Islands through the Nuclear Claims Tribunal cases.
Philippines and Malaysia through the international police investigation
in the Jaybe Ofrasio trial in Northern Ireland.
South Korea through its jurisdiction dispute with the American army.
North Korea through its apology to Japan for abductions.
Sun Mar 28, 2004 4:51 pm
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Post Post subject: Please explain... Reply with quote

Sorry if I am being thick, but I have absolutely no clue as to what this post is about.

Can someone of mightier brain please provide a concise explanation/translation?
Sun Mar 28, 2004 7:03 pm
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It's about constitutional claims, both
1. for the public to have automatic rights to a media platform for
evidence on social injustices that have not yet been recognised,
2. for court decisions to be open endedly faultable instead of a judge having the final word.
They relate to how Blunkett's treatment of wrongly jailed people could be fought. However, the list of cases through which folk in other countries could claim the court change applies to their country, obviously is based on other topics.
Sun Mar 28, 2004 9:54 pm
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Post Post subject: Please explain... Reply with quote

child_author_crushed wrote:
It's about constitutional claims, both

1. for the public to have automatic rights to a media platform for
evidence on social injustices that have not yet been recognised,
2. for court decisions to be open endedly faultable instead of a judge having the final word.
They relate to how Blunkett's treatment of wrongly jailed people could be fought. However, the list of cases through which folk in other countries could claim the court change applies to their country, obviously is based on other topics.

So WHO is making these claims; to what constitution do you refer (I wasn't aware we had one); what 'media platforms' should they/we have automatic rights to; what does 'open endedly faultable' mean; which 'wrongly jailed people' exactly are we talking about. For starters.
Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:20 pm
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I am making the claims, all on my arrogant own, but actually with the Scottish civic scene being quite sympathetic.

I refer to our unwritten British constitution, to which historically new items are added when the people prove the need for a democratic check against some form of maltreatment the present system was supposed to prevent but didn't really.

The media platforms we should have automatic rights to, are, depending on the length of what we have to say, new ideas or evidence that is not already known concerning any social issues. It's either to publish books, or to have newspaper or radio slots to say it in.

"Open endedly faultable" means that a court decision would be faultable by any party it affects, and the only limit on how long this can continue, is how many faults of law can be logically found in the decision. That's instead of decisions being "final", which allows abuses of power.

The only wrongly jailed people I was taking about are the same ones as the topic was started to talk about.
Mon Mar 29, 2004 9:57 pm
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