Friday, 12 April 2019

It's not only Free Speech that is under attack...

Two contemporary court cases worry me. Jack Shepherd sentenced for  manslaughter after his date died in a speed boat accident on the Thames and Julian Assange who is going to be extradited to the United States on charges of revealing state secrets after Swedish charges of sexual assault against him were conveniently dropped. Now Assange faces the prospect of a prison sentence long enough that he likely dies in jail there.
First, Jack Shepherd was also on the boat when it sunk - and so was at equal risk of dying…so six years in jail does not seem appropriate – and he did voluntarily ‘turn himself in’ to the Georgian police after doing a runner while on bail…while Assange’s charges now related only to revealing US state secrets to the general public via WikiLeaks  – which should probably have been in the public domain anyway.
The significant thing these two men have in common is that they are very unpopular with the British tabloid press – and so a Tory government desperate for any good publicity is backing them while its present Home Secretary, Jeremy Hunt – now directly in charge of ‘common law’ should have been charged for a whole raft of misdemeanours’ including receiving secret payment from Rupert Murdoch while in charge of television policy…instead, just like what used to happen to priests in southern Ireland when they were caught sexually assaulting little boys, he was moved to another, better ‘parish’.
These two cases are not about the contestants in some popular daytime tv panel show – they are about the independence of our judicial system...

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