Friday, April 18, 2008

News From BOM Correspondents- 5

Man in a wig

1. Human rights pay-out to junkie convicts

"Taxpayers have footed a £1 million compensation bill after almost 200 drug-addicted prisoners sued the Government, claiming that denying them a heroin substitute breached their human rights...

The prisoners had been using methadone paid for by the Government but it was decided that they should go through cold turkey detoxification instead. They claimed that their human rights had been breached under Articles 3 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which bans discrimination, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

So presumably if the Major ever gets banged up (could happen any time), he would be perfectly within his rights to demand a continuing supply of alcoholic "refreshments": it would be utterly inhuman to force a man of his age and propensities to stop suddenly after 60 years of daily pickling.

And what about addiction to fags? Or choccie? Or pate de fois?



2. Gobsmacker of the month walks free

The lady who cheated DWP of £9,000 Incapacity Benefit while working for DWP themselves (see this blog) has got off with just a three months home curfew. All that means is that she will be tagged and must not leave her home between 7pm and 7am.

That's what we call a real deterrent.

(HTP John P)

3. Bailbusters

Following our post on Bailbusters of Doncaster, eagle-eyed BOM reader Pete S sent a stack of links to one of the lawyers involved. His name is Ged Hale (pic above), and he's a man with more than a few bees in his wig. For one thing he doesn't think much of the Criminal Justice System:

"The Criminal Justice System in this country is in terminal decline. It has been the subject of gross underfunding for over a decade. Whether it be police, defence advocates, probation or the court service itself, you will find all agencies involved at the end of their tether with frustration at the countless millions spent on new computer systems designed to save money which are hoplessly inadequate and indeed less efficient by far than the ones they replace.

The vast pool of goodwill which has enabled the system to operate at all has been eroded to the point where experienced practitioners are looking to leave their chosen profession because there is no end in sight to the relentless cost cutting regime. CPS however, have never had it so good, with pay and salary increases designed to attract lawyers away from those on the other side.The Balance of power appears to be shifting in favour of the state in an uncontrolable and in my view highly undesireable way."

You know, that could almost be us talking. Maybe that Bailbusters ad was some kind of wind-up. But a comment from Mr Hale in an internet chatroom for lawyers leaves us less sure: "solicitor advocates" like him have recently been granted the right to wear a wig in court, and he is sooo relishing it:

"I will always wear a wig in the Crown Court. I believe we have won an important point of principal [sic] and it would make it a hollow victory not to do so... Wearing a wig is the first step towards showing them we are here and here to stay. terms of the perception of parity that the average juror will now have. No more notes to the judge equiring about the un wigged advocate.

Wear your wig as a badge of honour enjoy the status symbol it provides in the knowledge that the CPS Solicitor HCA's will in all probability stay un wigged as their penny pinching employers are unlikely to stump up the cash for same. Let the un wigged be mistaken for ushers.

AGT1 may as an aside wish to know that after 500,000 miles of 911 tyre burning we do have one area where we are at one!"

I think we get the picture. Wig envy, designer status outfits. a Porsche 911 with a personalised number plate... puts me in mind of Limpid Opec. No wonder a fellow solicitor advocate comments: "If what "we" are competing for is equality and recognition, shouldn't "we" be trying to raise our game to the standards set by the bar, rather than bickering over whether we get to dress like a horse's a**e?"

4. PFI costs heading North

The credit crunch is pushing up the cost of PFI deals even further. That's because the cash-strapped banks are pulling back:

"One leading PFI financier said he knew of at least one school project that had failed to get funding because of the credit crunch. Consortiums now have to approach several banks to achieve medium-sized loans, when before one bank would take on the risk. This is happening even though the government and local authorities are regarded as risk-free blue chip tenants."

As we've blogged many times, PFI is a good idea in theory, but an extremely expensive one in the hands of the Simple Shopper. Sound like the Krrrunch is reinforcing that bigtime.

(HTP pfiwatcher)

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