UK Liberty

Playing to the gallery on ‘self-defence’

Posted in law and order, relates to ordinary people by ukliberty on December 24, 2009

Tories and Labour playing to the gallery, I think.

Mr Johnson said he was sure Justice Secretary Jack Straw would look again at the law on householders’ right to defend themselves against intruders, despite previous reviews that have resulted in no change to the legal position. He was speaking after Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, promised a review of the legislation if the Conservatives won the next election to “provide the right level of protection for householders”.

Mr Johnson said he was sure Justice Secretary Jack Straw would look again at the law on householders’ right to defend themselves against intruders, despite previous reviews that have resulted in no change to the legal position.

He was speaking after Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, promised a review of the legislation if the Conservatives won the next election to “provide the right level of protection for householders”.
Mr Grayling told the Sunday Telegraph:

“At the moment the law allows a defendant to use ‘reasonable force’ to protect him or herself, their family or their property. Conservatives argue that the defence that the law offers a householder should be much clearer, and that prosecutions and convictions should only happen in cases where courts judge the actions involved to be ‘grossly disproportionate’.”

Mr Hussain was jailed for 30 months last week after being found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm by intent.

The 53-year-old businessman and his brother pursued three intruders who had tied up and threatened to kill his family in their Buckinghamshire home. They caught one of the men and beat him with a cricket bat so hard that the bat broke and the intruder was left with brain damage.

Judge John Reddihough noted Hussain’s “courage” but said he carried out a “dreadful, violent attack” on the intruder as he lay defenceless. … [also see the Guardian]

I suspect any future review will come to the same conclusions as those prior to it: you can use reasonable force, you’ll probably have a bit of leeway in terms of actions taken in the ‘heat of the moment’, but you aren’t allowed to use excessive force.

Bon voyage

Posted in ID Cards, nothing to hide nothing to fear, relates to ordinary people, stupid by ukliberty on December 24, 2009

(hat-tip Andrew Watson)

Some organisations aren’t accepting the new UK ID card and thereby ruining Christmas.

The Mirror: P&O blocks new ID card

A couple’s Christmas break was ruined after the husband was told he could not use his ID card to catch a ferry.

Norman Eastwood, 64, had been assured the new Government document was valid for travel within Europe.

That is in fact what the IPS website says: “this card can be used for travel within the EU/EEA and Switzerland”.

But when he arrived at Hull for a trip to Rotterdam, P&O told him they had no knowledge of the cards, only available in the North West. …

Manchester Evening News: ID card confusion at travel terminals

One man had to cancel a Christmas cross-Channel break when P&O told him he could not use his ID card. And another said he was ‘treated like an illegal immigrant’ by airport staff who had no idea what his ID card was.

Bricklayer Norman Eastwood, who was one of the first people to get a card, said he was fuming when P&O staff at Hull refused to let him on the ferry to Rotterdam without a passport.

Meanwhile student Cyrus Nayeri, from Denton, said he was treated like a criminal by staff at airline German Wings when he showed them his ID card.

Cyrus, 18, who was travelling from Stansted to Bonn on an educational trip, was taken into a side room and told he could not fly.

He said: “It was like they thought I was trying to use a fake document.

“I was one of the biggest supporters of the scheme but now I definitely wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.”

When Mr Nayeri complained, airline staff eventually phoned British government officials – and let him on the plane at the last minute.

But a German Wings spokesman later confirmed the company would NOT be accepting the ID cards in future, until they are recognised by the German Federal Police.

Manchester Evening News: ID card chaos as travel firms blunder

Some 1,736 people in Greater Manchester have bought the £30 cards after the Home Office promised they could be used to travel in Europe.

But customer service staff at nine major travel companies – including British Airways, Eurostar and BMI baby – told M.E.N reporters posing as customers that the cards could NOT be used instead of passports.

Eight of the nine companies later issued statements saying staff had given the wrong advice – and that the cards COULD be used after all. But Eurostar remained unsure. A spokesman said: “We are unable to confirm whether the ID cards are valid on Eurostar at this time.”

Meanwhile two major German airlines said they would not accept the cards until they had been officially recognised by the German federal authorities.

A P&O spokesman said: “We weren’t aware of the trial of these ID cards. The Home Office did not communicate this scheme to us. UK Borders Agency at Hull told us they weren’t aware of the trial either.”

I’m not sure there is a ‘trial’, as such – ID cards “can be used for travel within the EU/EEA and Switzerland”.

The Register: Multiple travel firms refuse ID cards as passport alternative:

In a statement, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said it remained confident that the majority of travellers will have no problems using ID cards as an alternative to passports.

The National Identity Card is a valid document for travel and is as good as a passport in Europe.

We expect all carriers in the UK to accept National Identity Cards for travel as a legal duty and we are confident that the vast majority of travellers will have no problems using their Identity Card as a travel document.

The majority?  Best take your passport instead…

A handy guide for photographers

Posted in law and order, relates to ordinary people, state-citizen relationship, stupid by ukliberty on December 14, 2009

Less than a week after Chief Constable Andy Trotter emailed all the police authorities in England and Wales to say that “Officers and PCSOs are reminded that we should not be stopping and searching people for taking photos”, police stopped and searched some  people for taking photos.

John Band has some Legal guidelines for photographers in England and Wales.

Minding our language

Posted in freedom of speech, relates to ordinary people by ukliberty on December 7, 2009

John Ozimek at the Register:

In the week that New Labour set out to advance the cause of equality in the UK with a dubious Equality Bill removing a number of existing rights from gay and religious groups, Gumtree demonstrated its solidarity with the cause by rejecting an ad containing the Q-word [queer]. …

In the process, Gumtree may have inadvertently highlighted the knots that society is tying itself in by attempting to pass laws ensuring that no one is ever offended by anyone else again.

Self-identification is unlikely to invoke the full force of the law: nonetheless, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that increasingly, we are living in a world in which language is being policed irrespective of meaning and context. …

Why is photography still a problem?

Posted in control freakery, law and order, relates to ordinary people, stupid by ukliberty on December 7, 2009

John Ozimek at the Register:

The government’s own anti-terror advisor, Lord Carlile of Berriew, believes that the police are over-using and misusing anti-terror laws to crack down on photographers. …

Craig Mackey, speaking for the Association of Chief Police Officers on this issue, blamed lack of awareness by officers as to how best to use “complex” legislation. He said: “It goes back to the issue of briefing and training of staff and making sure they are clear around the legislation we are asking them to use.” …

Apparently there is an “internal urban myth” that photography is not allowed in particular areas.  This is despite the fact that “there are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place.”

The fear, expressed within the ranks of senior police officers, is that a backlash against perceived heavy-handedness could lead to members of the public becoming more aware of their rights, less co-operative, and ultimately far more difficult to police.

Although the focus of public debate is currently on photographers being stopped and searched under terror legislation, the issue goes far wider and highlights a growing confusion both on the part of police and public as to what police may do – and when they may do it. …

It is hard enough for the public to keep abreast of this maze of legislation – and therefore not at all surprising if some police forces are also unable to keep their officers fully trained in the nuances of the law.

I take the point but this seems the wrong way round – surely the police ought to be more aware of the law than the public.

In any case, we (society) do have a hard time navigating our way through the ridiculous amount of legislation that has been churned out in recent years.  But it’s odd that this was not nipped in the bud far sooner – i.e. when the first photographer was stopped for doing something perfectly normal and reasonable and lawful.

What’s interesting to me as well is the question as to why people invent these “internal urban myths” – e.g. photography in s44 areas is not allowed – in the first place.

Perhaps it is because their superiors provide a fertile environment in which such ideas may flourish?