Tag Archives: sentence

#CharlieElphicke sex assault sentence exposes the privilege of the ruling class

Charlie Elphicke: his sentence is not proportionate to the anguish he has caused his victims.

Charlie Elphicke is not the alleged “Tory rapist” who’s currently still a member of Parliament although barred from participating in debates.

That matter has yet to be concluded.

But his two-year sentence for sexually assaulting two women reveals several damning truths about the UK’s justice system and how it cushions convictions against the privileged few.

Here’s the story:

Ex-Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has been jailed for two years for sexually assaulting two women.
Elphicke, 49, the former MP for Dover, was convicted of groping the women in similar situations, nine years apart.
He denied the charges, but was found guilty of one count of sexual assault in 2007 and two further counts in 2016, after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
The judge told Elphicke he was a “sexual predator who used your success and respectability as a cover”.
Within minutes of his jailing, Elphicke confirmed he would appeal against his conviction, arguing he had not had a “fair trial”.

That’s the official view. Now let’s hand over to people on Twitter who know far more about this subject than I do. Firstly:

He’s not the #ToryRapist, as stated at the top of this article. But the Conservative whips knew about him.

He is described in the so-called “dodgy dossier” of Conservative MPs with unsavoury sexual histories as: “Charlie Elphicke: inappropriate with female researchers.”

That’s an interesting euphemism to describe a man who had already committed sex crimes against two such researchers by the time the dossier became public knowledge in 2017.

This information should have been enough to put everybody in the Tory whips’ office at the time – along with then-prime minister Theresa May – right in the dock with Elphicke as accessories.

But that didn’t happen because they are above the law.

Yes: he used his success and respectability as a cover – exactly the same success and respectability that keeps his former Parliamentary colleagues from being investigated.

Elphicke himself was given a two-year custodial sentence, meaning he’ll serve 12 months unless he disgraces himself in prison somehow.

And to what kind of prison is he being sent – while he appeals against that sentence?

Contrast that with the life sentence that he handed down to the women he sexually assaulted. Their statements make horrific reading:

You can click on the images for the statements but let’s save you the bother.

According to Prosecutor Eloise Marshall QC, the first victim had a “significantly increased sense of caution” when coming into contact with men, including taxi drivers and butchers.

“The logical part of my brain is telling me to be polite to them but the emotional side is making me stressed.”

[This went] even to the extent that when the (police) officers came to take an account from her, she found it difficult to be alone with them.

She says she avoided being alone with men in general.

The second victim said in her impact statement, “I still remember how he made me feel, I still know those feelings of fear and helplessness.

“I do believe as a result of what happened, it changed how I perceived myself.

“Because of his acts, he stole a large part of my self-worth and self-esteem.

“My inner scars will always be there.”

There is one small element of poetic justice in this story, though: Elphicke voted to restrict the provision of legal aid, and then fell foul of the new restrictions.

At the time, he probably expected the change to affect only poor people, who need legal aid to have access to the justice system; without it, they can’t challenge the privileged few.

He didn’t realise that he was giving away his house as well.

Not to mention his liberty.

But then, it wouldn’t have happened if he could have kept his hands to himself.

Source: Charlie Elphicke: Ex-MP jailed for sex assaults on women – BBC News

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Johnson and Patel’s police state takes shape

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson: They’re telling us they want to restore law and order – but are they simply planning for the effects of a ‘no deal’ Brexit or positioning for a general election?

Boris Johnson has announced a tightening of security in prisons, to go with yesterday’s increase in funding for lawyers to deal with violent crime cases, and a review – and toughening – of  prison sentences.

This Writer cannot help but notice that these announcements, along with a plan to build more prisons, are arriving alongside news that the UK’s economy has hit a downturn.

Economic activity fell in the second quarter of 2019 – for the first time since 2012. And unemployment has risen by 31,000.

Is Boris Johnson planning for unrest after a ‘no deal’ Brexit that harms jobs and our way of life?

Well, no. The worst part of this is that he probably isn’t.

The one-off payment of £100 million might help in the short term, but Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon has described it as “tinkering at the edges”.

And the Howard League for Penal Reform said prisons have become centres of crime and violence and drugs, and the Tory government need to “pour good money after bad” (provide continuous funding) to solve a problem it has created.

The Crown Prosecution Service will receive £85 million to help it prosecute violent offenders – but the Criminal Bar Association has said that this will not seriously improve a system that has been “severely underfunded” by Conservative governments of the last nine years.

It has led to a situation in which “those who commit crime walk free and the innocent risk being convicted”, the organisation has said.

These claims follow assertions that the promise of 10,000 new prison places will not be enough; courts will order criminals to serve tougher sentences before those places become available, meaning that there will still be too few.

We can only conclude that these announcements do not indicate a serious commitment to tackle crime.

So why make them?

One theory is that the prime minister we call BoJob is trying to discourage people from participating in civil unrest if a ‘no deal’ Brexit takes place on October 31.

The thinking would be that a show of sabre-rattling now might reduce violence later.

But we’re being told that, even with the new funding, the authorities would not be equipped to deal with such unrest. So that plan has backfired.

The alternative – and far more likely – is that these announcements are simply attempts to position the Conservatives as the “Party of Law and Order” once more in the run-up to an autumn election.

The government has denied any intention of calling an election – which of course makes it more likely in the mind of a general public that is used to Tories who say one thing and then do another.

And of course there is a possibility that Mr Johnson will be forced into an election after an early vote of no confidence in his government.

September 9 is the date this is most likely to happen, we’re told – less than a month away.

Make a note in your diary.

Source: Prisons: Boris Johnson pledges £100m to boost security – BBC News

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‘Tommy Robinson’ appeals for political asylum in the US after contempt of court conviction

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (right) was appointed as an advisor to Gerard Batten’s UKIP in December 2018, and stood in this year’s EU Parliament elections. He didn’t get a seat.

Anti-Islamist, anti-immigration campaigner Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka ‘Tommy Robinson’) has appealed to Donald Trump to let him flee the UK before being sentenced for contempt of court.

I hope everyone can see the irony in his behaviour.

This is a man who has spoken out against the admission of Muslim refugees into the UK because they may be criminals – terrorists – in disguise.

Now he – a convicted criminal – is seeking refugee status in the United States.

Maybe he can’t see the hypocrisy there, but I hope we all can.

According to the Independent report (see the link below), he said he would be killed if he was jailed because UK prisons are “controlled by jihadi gangs”.

This is a theme that he has been using since 2014, when he told the Oxford Union that Woodhill Prison had become “an ISIS training camp” with radicals “running the wings”.

Many decent UK citizens might be happy to see this man leave and never return.

But the fact is that he committed a crime in the UK and has a penalty to pay.

He is due to appear for sentencing before a judge at the Old Bailey tomorrow (June 11).

It would be a crime if he were allowed to escape from that appointment.

Source: Tommy Robinson: EDL founder begs Trump to grant him political asylum in US | The Independent

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Coalition supporter suggests sanctioned benefit claimant deserved death

This woman was sanctioned because she told work programme providers she was 23 weeks pregnant. Does she deserve to die as a result of that decision?

This woman is not the subject of this article. However, she was sanctioned because she told work programme providers she was 23 weeks pregnant. Does she deserve to die as a result of that decision?

What follows will be shocking to some of you. Outrageous. This writer would find it questionable if it was not.

It relates to yesterday’s (December 16) article, Benefit deaths: Man was crushed to death by refuse lorry while scavenging in bins, and in particular to a response – not from any official source, but from a reader.

The story was about a man who had been sanctioned off of his benefit and had to survive without any money for 17 weeks. He was reduced to scavenging in bins for leftovers or out-of-date food, and it was while he was doing this that a rubbish-compacting lorry arrived, picked him up and crushed him to death.

Here’s the response from one Nicholas Blanch on Google+: “I’m going to ask you why he was sanctioned in the first place, because if it was for something he had no control over then that was Wrong with a capital W, worth wholeheartedly condemning, and the government should bear the full weight of responsibility for the end of this man’s life and the corresponding loss to all of us of whatever this man might have contributed directly or indirectly to our lives.

“If, however, the sanction came about through that man’s actions or lack thereof then the responsibility for his situation and its deadly consequence lies with him.”

Take a moment to let that sink in.

In effect, this person conferred the death sentence on any benefit recipient who has been sanctioned by Job Centre Plus according to current DWP rules. Anything that happens to them as a result – including death – is their fault, in his opinion.

Hopefully the sceptics who refused to believe the Chequebook Euthanasia article – because they couldn’t accept that people think in such ways – are hastily reconsidering their position.

What he’s saying is so appalling that he deserves to be named and shamed on this blog.

Mr Blanch continues: “To draw an analogy, if a person gets into a car crash and dies, you want to know the cause of the accident before you assign the blame over the death. You don’t just assume that the problem was the speed limit and demand that it be lowered to make the road safer.”

Okay, let’s look at some real sanctions that have been applied by Job Centre Plus staff – these are from a Vox Political article but there are many more listed on the web.

“You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week.” Does that justify a man’s death?

“You have a job interview which overruns so you arrive at your job centre appointment nine minutes late. You get sanctioned for a month.” Would this have you reaching for the black cap and calling the executioner?

“Your job centre advisor suggests a job. When you go online to apply it says the job has ‘expired’ so you don’t apply. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks.” The death sentence?

“You are on a workfare placement and your job centre appointment comes round. The job centre tells you to sign on then go to your placement – which you do. The placement reports you for being late and you get sanctioned for three months.” And if you die, is that fine?

You apply for all the jobs you can physically attend, but the Job Centre says you should have applied for those that are impossible to get to and from. Should you die for that omission? Alternatively, should you die for failing to attend any job interviews at the locations it is impossible for you to physically attend?

Mr Blanch gets worse: “Also, if any party wants to influence my vote away from the Coalition [note: he supports the Coalition Government, made up of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties] on the strength of this issue, then I want to know what their alternative plans are to ensure that my tax money goes only to people that are on benefits because that’s where they have to be rather than where they choose to be.”

Seriously, Mr B, do you think anyone would choose to be stuck in a system where an official can sign a warrant for you to starve to death with the stroke of a pen?

“As poor as this policy is, and as grim as the side-effects are, at least this Coalition Government took steps to try to make sure that all of my tax money goes to that majority of people that are in honest need so that there was a chance that the welfare budget might have been enough for them to have a shot at something approaching decency and dignity in their quality of life rather than forcing them to make the choice to eat or to heat due to the fact that some of my money is wasted on those fortunately few but sadly still-present people who have decided that working the system is preferable to working a job.”

This convoluted and confused sentence takes a bit of unravelling.

Firstly: “This Coalition Government took steps to try to make sure that all of my tax money goes to that majority of people that are in honest need.” No it did not. If you’re talking about all of your tax money, what about the huge amount that goes to the City of London – £103.4 billion a year, despite the fact that there is no need for any subsidy at all? What about the millions that go to work capability assessors and work programme companies, despite the fact that they make no material contribution to a claimant’s needs (work capability assessments may be carried out just as efficiently by a claimant’s doctors, and it has been calculated that claimants are statistically more likely to get a job if they do not take part in the work programme than if they do).

“The welfare budget might have been enough for them to have a shot at something approaching decency and dignity in their quality of life.” No, it would not. The Coalition Government’s benefits squeeze is nothing to do with the number of claimants; it is about ensuring that the unemployed cannot enjoy a decent, dignified quality of life. The aim is to make them desperate for any job, in order to keep wages down. Employers can argue that they don’t need to give anyone a raise because “there are hundreds more out there who’ll do this job for less than you”.

“Some of my money is wasted on those fortunately few but sadly still-present people who have decided that working the system is preferable to working a job.” Such people comprise roughly 0.7 per cent of benefit claimants – a figure that has not changed since before the Coalition Government came into office, no matter what measures Iain Duncan Smith has forced on them. It is such a small proportion of the claimant population that any action by the Coalition Government to tackle it is hugely disproportionate to the threat it represents – initiatives to stop the fraud are more harmful than the fraud itself.

All of this information is freely available to anybody with a modicum of curiosity – you only have to go and look.

That is why Nicholas Blanch’s comment is not only shocking and outrageous; it is also disgracefully ignorant.

So no, Mr Blanch, there is no point in seeking to influence your vote away from the Coalition parties.

With attitudes like yours, nobody else would want it.

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Vulnerable were ‘Killed by the State – crimes against humanity’

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Readers will be familiar with the name ‘Mo Stewart’ – it belongs to a researcher into government attitudes to – and policy on – the disabled who has provided Vox Political – not to mention Parliament – with a wealth of invaluable information on the damage that has been done by uncaring politicians over the years.

Yesterday Mo gave her first public speech on the subject, in London, after being asked to help open Disability History Month by its organisers.

For Mo, this was a courageous act; she has spent years avoiding any kind of limelight and was extremely nervous of standing up in public. But she had a message to pass on and – as you can see from the headline – it was important.

Don’t take VP‘s word for it – read it for yourself. Here it is [all boldings mine]:

At the same time as the Prime Minister was waxing lyrically about what this nation owes to British Military Forces and veterans when speaking at the recent Conservative Party Conference, the DWP were busy advising 80,000 disabled War Pensioners that we were about to lose access to DLA and could, if we wished, apply for the new – highly discredited – PIP award.

PIP has a 12 month waiting list for all new applicants and, according to the DWP, a guarantee that the majority will not be successful.

By May 2014 only 15.4 per cent of new PIP claims had received a decision, and only 12,654 of the 220,300 people who had made a new claim since April 2013 have been awarded some rate of PIP.

This unexpected threat to this nation’s working age War Pensioners was despite the fact that I received a personal telecom from the Cabinet Office 12 months ago, as witnessed by my carer, claiming that the Cabinet had ‘… just agreed that all War Pensioners could keep their DLA for life and will not be reassessed, as an acknowledgement of their service to the nation.’ My opinion was invited and given and, of course, I was delighted with the news.

Then, the very nervous caller asked me what this decision would mean for my research? Evidence from the research exposed the Work Capability Assessment, conducted by Atos Healthcare, as being bogus and using a totally discredited assessment model. The WCA was copied from a notorious American corporate insurance giant in order to remove as many as possible from long-term sickness benefits, regardless of the consequences in terms of human suffering. The research has been accepted by the UN and evidence from it has been used in welfare debates in the House of Lords and especially in the House of Commons – largely thanks to John McDonnell MP.

Ask yourself why the national press will not publish the research evidence accepted by academics throughout the UK. Do we have a free press or a government controlled press?

The same research also exposed the fact that the welfare reforms were totally unrelated to the financial collapse, regardless of repeated government claims.

The evidence confirmed that the destruction of the welfare state is the legacy of the Thatcher government, and the current prime minister had been waiting for a plausible excuse to justify introducing this long-ago planned destruction of the welfare state, masquerading as welfare reforms, as the UK moves ever closer to health care and welfare funded by private insurance.

Twelve months later, it seems that the phone call from the Cabinet Office last year was an attempt to stop the research and, being naive, I didn’t anticipate that the Department for Work and Pensions would now threaten 80,000 working-age War Pensioners because my integrity is not for sale.

Since the outpouring of public and political outrage the last time the DWP published the mortality figures of the thousands of sick and disabled people who had died, often within weeks of being found fit for work and removed from long-term sickness benefit, the DWP has refused to publish any more annual death totals.

The unelected Lord Freud has far too much authority and the press have blood on their hands. They willingly quote any new DWP fantasy attacking sick and disabled benefit claimants as people are dying, in their thousands, killed by the State.

For some of us, this DWP decision to remove DLA from working age disabled older veterans will be a death sentence whilst all other disabled veterans, including War Pensioners over the age of 70, have a government guarantee of DLA for life without any further reassessment, in recognition of their ‘service to the nation.’

ALL disabled veterans were disabled serving this nation and all War Pensioners should be treated the same, regardless of age, and be allowed to retain the promised access to DLA for life.

The UN are apparently investigating the UK government for breaches of the disability rights of disabled people and time will tell how long it takes for members of the present UK government to be investigated for the identified crimes against humanity, masquerading as welfare reforms. Members of the House of Lords now compare the Coalition government to 1930s Germany where elderly, sick and disabled people were nothing more than a burden to the State that needed to be removed.

Clearly, the social consequences of disablement in the 21st century UK are the abuses of hard-won disability rights by a very dangerous government. There are now in excess of three million disability benefit-dependent claimants living in fear of imminent destitution or worse, including 80,000 working age War Pensioners.

They also fear possible public hostility due to the often-extreme press headlines that report the deeply disturbing rhetoric of DWP ministers, as disability hate crime is now the highest ever recorded.

There are reported examples of disabled people being thrown out of their wheelchairs and spat at in the streets, in the 21st century UK, thanks to disabled people being constantly vilified by DWP ministers, politicians and commentators who have all joined the bandwagon.

Speaking personally, over the past 12 months in particular, I have been very aware of members of the public looking at me in a judgemental manner, to the point where some will make derogatory comments, no doubt encouraged by influential press headlines and the Secretary of State’s frequently-quoted comments referring to ‘shirkers and skivers.’

There can’t really be any surprise that many sick and disabled people now no longer feel comfortable when venturing out of the safety of their homes into the no-man’s land of public opinion. Many are now prisoners in their own homes, and that includes disabled working age War Pensioners fearing imminent death or destitution. There really isn’t much difference between being incarcerated in institutions or a prisoner in your own home, as independent living is being systematically destroyed by these very dangerous welfare reforms.

Few benefit-dependent disabled people can possibly absorb a monthly reduction of £300 per month or more without serious or fatal consequences.

The removal of DLA from working age War Pensioners is a totally indefensible decision given our much proclaimed ‘service to the nation’ – as frequently acknowledged by the prime minister – [but] only when in front of the TV cameras.

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