U.K.: "The British Gun Closet"


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cuchulainn
May 14, 2003, 11:37 AM
from the National Review

http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel051403.aspDave Kopel

The British Gun Closet

May 14, 2003, 10:20 a.m.
The British Gun Closet
Slowly, the country is learning the hard way.

LONDON — When I arrived in London, I expected to find a very depressing situation for gun rights, as the formerly robust British right-to-arms is nearing extinction. Yet there are signs that the public is waking up to the failure of gun prohibition.

To be sure, the present circumstances in Britain are awful. A world-class British rifle shooter explained to me that he never tells ordinary people that he is a marksman, for fear of their reaction. British shooters today, like homosexuals in Oklahoma in 1950, feel so intimidated by the hostility of the surrounding culture that they must be careful not to expose themselves, except to known members of their minority group.

The British government is more abusive than ever to people who use force for lawful protection, and as accommodating as ever to violent criminals. The news that two Britons carried out a terror bombing in Israel has not resulted in calls from the government or from the "posh," non-tabloid press for cracking down on the clerics who incite terrorism. The tabloid Express takes a harder line. The bombers grew up in England in a secular, English-speaking, integrated environment, but then fell under the influence of hateful clerics in England, so the connection between terrorist incitement and terrorist action is clear enough. The civil-liberties merits of tolerating terrorist clerics is far outweighed by the massive loss of liberty for non-terrorist citizens that would follow the nearly inevitable advent of jihad bombings in Great Britain.

Non-terrorist criminals also continue to get an easy ride from the government. Some teenagers who perpetrated an unarmed gang homicide on a random stranger were last week sentenced to terms of 2-4 years. The same week, reports the Evening Standard (4/29), "An evil young killer who stabbed a complete stranger through the ear with a hunting knife" was sentenced to seven years in prison. Meanwhile, the government is introducing a five-year mandatory minimum for carrying a gun illegally. So, merely carrying a gun merits a sentence in the same range as murdering someone.

Using force to resist a crime seems to trouble the government a great deal. A businessman who hit a pair of burglars with a brick was prosecuted and called "an unmitigated thug" by the government (Daily Mail, 5/1). Yet the jury acquitted the victim, since British jurors do retain the right to acquit a morally innocent defendant who has technically violated the law.

A masked man with a cape and a mask who was on his way to a costume party intervened to save someone who was being beaten by a gang of thugs. The local police spokesman was very unhappy with the man's altruism, since only the police are supposed to resist criminals (Daily Mail, 5/3).

A gun "amnesty" has resulted in the surrender of about 25,000 arms, and was proclaimed a great triumph by the government. Civil-libertarian Stephen Robinson noted in the Telegraph: "The police were strangely reluctant to specify how many of the guns were handed over in inner city areas, fueling the suspicion that many of the weapons were family heirlooms. . . . Many appear to have been handed in by the elderly and law-abiding who fear becoming criminalized in a society in which private gun ownership is slowly being outlawed."

The gun-prohibition lobbies and their many government and media allies, not sated by the near-destruction of mainstream firearms sports, are now setting their sights on air guns and replica firearms. Home Minister David Blunkett wants to ban public possession, whereas London mayor Ken Livingston is pushing total prohibition of replica guns. A teacher was fired for allowing a student to bring a replica gun to school as part of a science exhibit.

Overall, Britain now suffers from a higher violent crime rate than the U.S., and has reverted to its medieval status of being substantially more dangerous than most of the European continent. (Continental gun laws are generally more repressive than in the U.S., but more liberal than in England.) The lesson: More gun bans, more violent crime.

The 1997 extermination of Britain's pitiful minority of handgun target shooters did not directly increase crime, since existing laws made it impossible for a lawful handgun owner (or any other lawful gun owner) to use a firearm for self-defense. Rather, the handgun confiscation of 1997 was the continuation of a trend that began in the 1950s that has resulted in the destruction of the law-abiding gun culture, and the suppression of every form of non-government use of force against criminals. As a result, criminal violence and a criminal gun culture are 50 times more prevalent than they were in the early 20th century, when there were no antigun laws, and no laws against the use of reasonable force against violent criminals.

And yet there are signs that the public is finally awakening to the fact that the gun-prohibition movement can deliver hatred and repression, but comes up very short on public safety. The 1997 handgun ban is perceived by many as a failure, as gun crime has risen substantially since then.

An April 29 poll in the Birmingham Post reported that 68 percent of Britons believe it should be legal for householders to shoot a burglar or other criminal invader. Twenty-two percent of Britons said that they would carry a handgun for protection, if they legally could. Only 7 percent of Londoners would exercise that choice compared with 55 percent in Yorkshire.

Although many recognize the failure of gun control, this does not mean that they are against licensing, registration, and background checks. But it does mean that Britons are beginning to understand that a nation without legal guns is a nation at the mercy of gangs and criminals.

Peter Hitchens has just come out with a major new book, A Brief History of Crime: The Decline of Order, Justice, and Liberty in England. Hitchens, a columnist for the Sunday Mail, argues that British governments have helped cause the tremendous increase in crime over past decades by refusing to punish criminals strictly, and by making excuses for criminals. As crime has soared, the government has responded by cracking down on the law-abiding population and on civil liberties. The right to silence has been abolished, the right to jury trial has been restricted, surveillance cameras are pervasive, and wiretaps and e-mail intercepts are skyrocketing. Hitchens devotes a chapter to the failed campaign against guns, explaining how the deprivation of the means of self-defense causes more crime.

Of course, there's a long way to go between the beginning of popular recognition of a problem and the repeal of the government policies that caused the problem. But the British do appear to be making the tentative first steps in the right direction, and that's a notable change from last decade.

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agricola
May 14, 2003, 11:59 AM
laughable

KMKeller
May 14, 2003, 12:07 PM
Yes indeed very laughable... your country and its policies are indeed very laughable.

lapidator
May 14, 2003, 12:22 PM
The right to silence has been abolished, the right to jury trial has been restricted, surveillance cameras are pervasive, and wiretaps and e-mail intercepts are skyrocketing.

yeah... this is a real knee-slapper.

yikes! :uhoh:

agricola
May 14, 2003, 12:53 PM
why is it that some of you spend hours deconstructing the inaccuracies in the likes of Bowling for Columbine, and yet ignore these:

i) Some teenagers who perpetrated an unarmed gang homicide on a random stranger were last week sentenced to terms of 2-4 years.

these kids were not found guilty of the murder - the actual killers got life.

ii) The same week, reports the Evening Standard (4/29), "An evil young killer who stabbed a complete stranger through the ear with a hunting knife" was sentenced to seven years in prison.

this is either a typo or is made up - the actual story is: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/4584417?source=Evening%20Standard and the 16 year old youth was sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure (ie life) on the understanding that he serves at least 7 years 10 months. That is not "sentenced to seven years".

iii) The bombers grew up in England in a secular, English-speaking, integrated environment, but then fell under the influence of hateful clerics in England, so the connection between terrorist incitement and terrorist action is clear enough. The civil-liberties merits of tolerating terrorist clerics is far outweighed by the massive loss of liberty for non-terrorist citizens that would follow the nearly inevitable advent of jihad bombings in Great Britain.

This is verbatim from the likes of the Sun, Mail and Express. It ignores all the arrests and convictions of Islamist clerics who preach race hate and wishes to paint the picture of a rampaging Muslim youth out of control in the UK. On one hand Kopel states that HMG denies civil rights by firearms controls; on the other he criticises HMG for not cracking down on free speech.

iv) Using force to resist a crime seems to trouble the government a great deal. A businessman who hit a pair of burglars with a brick was prosecuted and called "an unmitigated thug" by the government (Daily Mail, 5/1). Yet the jury acquitted the victim, since British jurors do retain the right to acquit a morally innocent defendant who has technically violated the law.

he would have been called "an unmitigated thug" by the prosecution, not the Government. The man was found not guilty, presumably on grounds of self-defence - which at a stroke disproves all of Kopels statements about self-defence being illegal.

v) and the suppression of every form of non-government use of force against criminals.

see above. The oft-cited cases, those of Martin and the bloke from Tottenham, were found guilty because a jury of their peers thought them guilty. For each of these, there are far more cases where the right of self defence has been upheld. Do a google search for "Duncan Ferguson" and burglar for the truth of this.

vi)The right to silence has been abolished, the right to jury trial has been restricted, surveillance cameras are pervasive, and wiretaps and e-mail intercepts are skyrocketing

The right to silence has not been abolished. if you choose to excercise that right then the Court may draw conclusions from that, especially if the defendant raises something in his defence that he failed to answer when questioned. The right to jury trial has also not been restricted - one can demand a jury for most criminal matters. CCTV has taken off, precisely because it has proven to be effective at detecting crime; and CCTV evidence has proved vital in so many murder and anti-terrorist investigations - James Bulger, the nail bomber Copeland, the Real IRA cell and so on. Wiretaps and e-mail intercepts remain very rare; Hitchens (and Kopel) are confused by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act which governs these investigative practices.

cuchulainn
May 14, 2003, 01:09 PM
The right to silence has not been abolished. if you choose to excercise that right then the Court may draw conclusions from that, especially if the defendant raises something in his defence that he failed to answer when questioned. You're equivocating. The right to silence refers to a ban against the prosecution using your silence against you. As you so clearly describe, that ban has been abolished.

Thus the right to silence has been abolished. Period.

It's as if you are saying people have the right to free speech in Totalitarian-stan, but if they choose to exercise that right, the government might imprison them.

agricola
May 14, 2003, 01:19 PM
cuch,

no, you still have the right to silence.

the prosecution can only use your silence if you state at trial something which you were asked in interview and did not answer. thats the same as stating something different in interview than you do as trial. the court can draw an inference (which is not evidence) if you do that, or fail to take the stand, or remain silent when asked a question.

(edited to add the last part)

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/law/hamlyn/silence.htm

cuchulainn
May 14, 2003, 01:35 PM
Yeah, and people in China have free speech, but might go to jail for exercising it.

People remain silent -- even when they have valid defenses -- because they are under pressure and they are not trained lawyers. Thus, they may inadvertantly say something that can be twisted against them or be taken out of context.

The right to silence refers to the right to let the trained, professional lawyers speak for you under the controlled and **OPEN** atmosphere of a public trial, and it involves a ban on the prosecuction from using your prior silence against you.

That right has been abolished.

You are equivocating.

cuchulainn
May 14, 2003, 01:57 PM
No, no, wait ... I take it back.

Gutting entirely of its original purpose and power and rendering effectively useless is not the same thing as "abolishing."

That's why HM's subjects still have the RKBA too!

All is well.

agricola
May 14, 2003, 04:08 PM
cuch,

no it doesnt. all of our rights, in both countries, are qualified to some extent, even and especially your BoR rights. because you can be arrested for shouting fire in a cinema doesnt mean you have no free speech, does it? does the AWB mean you have no RKBA? of course not. all the supposedly-inviolable rights have qualifications that society imposes on them.

where a person remains silent because he is denied legal advice (which would render all subsequent evidence invalid btw) then the significance of that silence would be nil. the same applies if the prosecution fishes in its questioning. IME the only time such inferenences are drawn is in "no comment" interviews where subsequently the defence tries to state that there is a legitimate reason for whatever the question is about - eg: burglar breaks into home, leaves fingerprints, gets arrested, makes no comment interview, then at trial claims he is a friend of the family / gas board official / carpet fitter that worked at the house hence the marks - something that is usually false but the defence hopes to ambush the prosecution believing that they dont have time to disprove that.

your silence is not evidence. your silence when asked about things for which you are on trial, after you have recieved legal advice and when its your oppurtunity to have your version of events on record can (as indeed it should) allow people of the jury to ask themselves why you did that.

if further evidence was needed that the right to silence remains, its that defence lawyers still advise their clients to remain silent. the ambush defence is, sadly, alive and kicking.

also, we have never had "RKBA" as a nation. check the history, please.

cuchulainn
May 14, 2003, 04:44 PM
Your silence can be used against you in a court of law.

No amount of equivocation will change that a primary reason for the right of silence -- keeping silent until (and/or during) the trial -- has been effectively abolished by allowing a "penalty" for using it. The "penalty" is allowing your prior silence to be used against you.

Edited to add: The defendant should have the option to remain silent at trial or raise a defense at trial regardless of what transpired during the investigation. This rule penalizes the latter.

And spare me the further equivocation: your silence is not evidence. Evidence is made up of facts which a jury/judge can consider when deciding your case, and silence is now a fact which a jury/judge can consider when deciding your case.

the ambush defence No such thing. The defendant should (and did) have the right to remain silent. Period. Thus, he should have no obligation to provide his defense prior to the trial.

Edited to add: The prosecution has a duty to come to trial able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the defendant is guilty. Not anticipating and accounting for a possible defense is not being "ambushed" but a sign of incompetance on the part of either or both the police or the prosecution.

If the defendant brings a formerly un-uttered defense that is nonetheless true -- nothing whatsoever should apply negatively to the prior silence (i.e. no inference allowed). If the defendant brings a false defense, his silence is irrellevant -- the prosecution has a duty to show why it is wrong. If there are fingerprints, for example, then it is the prosecution's duty to rule out -- prior to trial -- his being a family friend or gas meter reader. This duty exists regardless of whether the defendant actually makes such defense prior or during the trial.

Indeed failure to fully investigate such possibilites are in themselves proof of the prosecution's failure to establish guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt and should be used against the prosecution's case regardless of what the defendant claims.

does the AWB mean you have no RKBA? Apples vs. oranges. Infringe (apple) vs. abolish (orange). The AWB infringes the RKBA. Your silence rules effectively abolish the right to silence by putting up penalties (allowing negative inferences) for exercising it in the primary way it was intended -- keeping silent until and if you decide to break silence.

we have never had "RKBA" as a nation. check the history, please. You did have it, though it certainly was not codified like ours.

JohnBT
May 14, 2003, 04:45 PM
I am finally beginning to understand how they lost the Empire. Brutal stupidity.

John

geekWithA.45
May 14, 2003, 05:45 PM
Uh, god? We can use a little more Grace here, on our side of the pond with respect to RKBA and self defense....


-------------------------------------
At least the british subjects remember jury nullification.
------------------------------------

T.Stahl
May 14, 2003, 05:53 PM
CCTV has taken off, precisely because it has proven to be effective at detecting crime; and CCTV evidence has proved vital in so many murder and anti-terrorist investigations

If I could choose between means that will help the court to prosecute my murderers or means that will help me to prevent that murder...

Sorry, as much as I'd like to visit the Brecon Beacons, the Highlands and your military museums again, travelling to a country where I'll be fined for carrying even a pocket knife is not an option.

Standing Wolf
May 14, 2003, 06:12 PM
Of course, there's a long way to go between the beginning of popular recognition of a problem and the repeal of the government policies that caused the problem.

It's all over for England. Only a revolution could restore any semblance of civil rights, and frankly, I can't imagine those sheep ever mustering the courage even to contemplate the idea of a revolution.

agricola
May 14, 2003, 06:13 PM
go back to your usual comment plz SW, its more correct.

Mk VII
May 15, 2003, 03:27 AM
you can remain silent until the trial and then produce your explanation - but you'll almost certainly get an order for prosecution costs made against you, as by your silence you "misled the prosecution into believing it's case was stronger than it was" - so here's a de facto fine for wasting everybody's time. Actually, it's difficult to see why you would want to stay schtum in those circumstances. Doing a Perry Mason number to escape with one bound might be dramatic but in the real world no defendant wants to spend time and money going to the courthouse when they can stop the whole process before it gets that

twoblink
May 15, 2003, 04:21 AM
Sheeple making 101...

As Dennis Praeger says "The Criminal Justice system is a lot more criminal than it is justice.."

MeekandMild
May 15, 2003, 09:04 AM
I am finally beginning to understand how they lost the Empire. Brutal stupidity. Well, that and an obsessive compulsive desire to control everything and log all the details. I think it is their compulsiveness which actually sealed the casket. It comes across as stupidity but it is really more misdirection than anything else. Kipling once wrote an entire book of poetry dedicated to the bean counters of the British Empire. :rolleyes:

HankB
May 15, 2003, 09:23 AM
agricola wrote:...he would have been called "an unmitigated thug" by the prosecution, not the Government. Help me out here. In the US, prosecutors work for the government and speak for the government in prosecuting a case, so when they say something, it is resonable to conclude that they're stating the government's position. (Unless a prosecutor says something so off the wall that higher level officials feel compelled to step in and repudiate what was said. ) By your statement above, you appear to be saying prosecutors in the UK don't speak for and represent the Government in criminal cases.

So the clear implication is that UK prosecutors don't work for and represent the government.

Please explain why statements by UK prosecutors do not represent the government's position.

agricola
May 15, 2003, 10:11 AM
hankb,

Because the prosecutor is presenting the case of the Crown in that matter, he isnt speaking for the government in terms of policy (or imagined policy in this case). He or she is simply trying to paint the defendant in a bad a light as possible so as to increase the chances of securing a conviction, in the same way that the defence uses similar language to try and secure acquittals and to discredit prosecution witnesses.

Given all that, it still doesnt excuse that basic error in that statement.

dustind
May 15, 2003, 10:15 AM
I am glad Agricola is here to defend the other side, but after reading this thread I lost a bit more respect for UK's justice system.

Its a crime to not let the prosecution know your defence. You can be tried multiple time if there is "compelling new evidence."

CCTV is not worth the loss of freedom and privacy. It is somewhat useful for petty crimes, but not worth it in the long run, imho. The aclu has a nice report on it. The question to ask yourself is, "do you want cameras watching what you do in public?"

Marko Kloos
May 15, 2003, 10:32 AM
CCTV is not worth the loss of freedom and privacy. It is somewhat useful for petty crimes, but not worth it in the long run, imho.

CCTV does not reduce crime, it merely shifts it. Besides, as T.Stahl already stated, CCTV cannot prevent my murder or mugging, merely aid in the prosecution of my murderers or muggers. I'd much rather have an effective tool to prevent my murder or mugging: a personal weapon.

Don Gwinn
May 15, 2003, 10:56 AM
The right to silence, in an American criminal trial, has no limits of which I am aware. That's one reason the Bush administration wanted to use military tribunals to try foreign terrorists (and, depending on who you believe, everyone else.)
If you choose to be silent, then you are silent. That's all there is to it.

But that wasn't the part I found funny. This is the part I found really good:
The right to jury trial has also not been restricted - one can demand a jury for most criminal matters.

Emphasis mine, of course.

I'm glad to hear that murderers can still get life in the U.K., though.

agricola
May 15, 2003, 10:56 AM
dustin,

thats more evidence of lack of knowledge. the ditching of the "double jeopardy" rule was mooted by the Home Secretary but has not been enacted, and as for not disclosing the defence case, that too is not on the books yet - at the moment an inference can be drawn from that silence, it is not a crime:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/11/22/njeop22.xml

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200203/cmbills/008/en/03008x--.htm

CCTV has proven time and time again its usefulness in the detection of crime, including very serious crimes. the argument that it moves crime away from an area to another one is specious: if someone wanted to burgle your home, found you were armed and went down the street to an unarmed house would it be the guns fault for that? of course not.

the same goes for the civil liberties argument, unless you think people dont have the right to look at you.

FPrice
May 15, 2003, 10:57 AM
"he would have been called "an unmitigated thug" by the prosecution, not the Government."

Sorry, but HankB was right. He works for the government and echoes the government mindset. Just the fact that he characterized the defendent as such a way reinforces what your government tries to convey on a daily basis.

agricola
May 15, 2003, 11:17 AM
fprice,

No, he speaks in order to present the case before the Court on behalf of the Crown, the Queen being unable to try every case herself due to reasons of time and space. He works for the Crown Prosecution Service, and if anything echoes their mindset.

However much you want it to be true, the gubbermint does not speak with one voice from its army of drones. What the prosecutor said is restricted to the trial and his presentation of it. As a case in point, two weeks ago I was at Bow Street Magistrates Court when a CPS lawyer stated that an estate agent, who had been speeding, said that "she showed callous disregard for other peoples safety". This was not evidence of a widespread Government campaign aganist estate agents.

I'll believe you when you produce a member of the Government stating that that man was "an unmitigated thug" (and that means a member of the Government in the real rather than tin-foil-hat definition).

CZ-75
May 15, 2003, 12:11 PM
No, he speaks in order to present the case before the Court on behalf of the Crown, the Queen being unable to try every case herself due to reasons of time and space. He works for the Crown Prosecution Service, and if anything echoes their mindset.


Anyone know what the meaning of "is" is? :rolleyes:

And I thought it would be reasonable to assume that govt. employees are hired and promoted by folks of similar mindset, which is usually the mindset of their own superiors.

I suppose you would like to make this an issue of pre-existing bureaucracy and that it is comprised of civil servants hired by several govts., Labour and "Conservative," and you'd be right. However, as practice actually dictates, those with the favored mindset are actually given the more important tasks and choice assignments.



I do so love the fact that you can be charged for the costs of prosecution by declining to incriminate yourself and that that refusal can weigh against you in court.

FPrice
May 15, 2003, 12:58 PM
"No, he speaks in order to present the case before the Court on behalf of the Crown,"

You say no then say exactly what I said in a different set of words.

Goerge Orwell WAS a British citizen when he wrote his famous forecast of the future, wasn't he?

agricola
May 15, 2003, 01:35 PM
fprice,

no, you said:

He works for the government and echoes the government mindset

wheras i said:

No, he speaks in order to present the case before the Court on behalf of the Crown, the Queen being unable to try every case herself due to reasons of time and space. He works for the Crown Prosecution Service, and if anything echoes their mindset.

the CPS is no more the government than a hubcap is a car.

cz-75,

i made the drone comment as a joke, however you seem to think its the actual state of affairs :rolleyes:

CPS lawyers are those from law school that dont want to go into private practice, largely because the caseload is far more in the CPS and offers better experience.

CZ-75
May 15, 2003, 01:51 PM
i made the drone comment as a joke, however you seem to think its the actual state of affairs

No, I think the smart minion echoes the sentiments of his masters, who probably chose him for this very fact to start with.

You said that this:

No, he speaks in order to present the case before the Court on behalf of the Crown, the Queen being unable to try every case herself due to reasons of time and space. He works for the Crown Prosecution Service, and if anything echoes their mindset.

If so, whose mindset does the CPS echo? Could it be the current Labour govt.'s?

Moreover, I sincerely doubt the Queen's mindset is that of the current Labour govt. I always fancied her a Tory.

FPrice
May 15, 2003, 02:07 PM
"the CPS is no more the government than a hubcap is a car."

The CPS is a part of the government, is it not? I imagine that you find that out right quick if you stopped paying them (from some sort of government funds) and tried to evict them from their government offices.

The fact of the matter old chum is that you will go to any lengths to deny the fact that your government is anti-gun and that policy trickles all the way down to the way prosecutors treat victims of crime.

HankB
May 15, 2003, 02:09 PM
No, he speaks in order to present the case before the Court on behalf of the Crown, the Queen being unable to try every case herself due to reasons of time and space. I understand your Queen can't try every case herself, but has she ever actually tried ANY case?

And from your arguments, I take it you're asserting that the Queen and ONLY the Queen speaks for the Government? So government prosecutors presenting government cases in government courts in order to enforce government policy before government judges do not speak for the government?

Hmmm . . . if only your Queen speaks for the government - as you clearly implied - I suppose people like Tony Blair, Jack Straw, etc. don't speak for the government either . . .

What is "is" indeed . . . now I begin to understand where our Oxford-educated former president learned his parsing skills.

FPrice
May 15, 2003, 02:17 PM
"Hmmm . . . if only your Queen speaks for the government - as you clearly implied - I suppose people like Tony Blair, Jack Straw, etc. don't speak for the government either . . ."

Only one line can sum up this situation.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

CZ-75
May 15, 2003, 02:21 PM
now I begin to understand where our Oxford-educated former president learned his parsing skills.

I believe Ag is an Oxford man.

agricola
May 15, 2003, 02:24 PM
hankb,

i) youre mistaken in your conception. Its an archaic (but important) phrase but it is Her Majesties Government- when you say I take it you're asserting that the Queen and ONLY the Queen speaks for the Government?, its wrong because the Queen is (in terms of our understanding of the word) constitutionally above the Government. In the UK the Government refers to two classes - on one hand the MPs and Lords who occupy Ministerial posts (Home Secretary, Foriegn Secretary and so on) and on the other the career civil servants (the so called "whitehall mandarins" that Churchill Micawberised). In the UK that is the Government. No more, no less. Since we have free and fair elections over here, we the people are in control of the Government in actuality as has been the case since the Civil War.

ii)So government prosecutors presenting government cases in government courts in order to enforce government policy before government judges do not speak for the government?

I suspect youre trying to intimate some kind of show trial situation here. Our Government is elected by and responsible to the people (reforms of the House of Lords have since 1911 meant that its power is more as a judicial chamber than a legislative body, though it retains some law-making and -review powers at the sufferance of the Commons). Its courts are free and fair. The CPS enforces the Law of the land which is established by the peoples elected representatives by prosecuting those that are alledged to have breached the law.

The function of the CPS and individual lawyer is to prosecute criminals to the best of their ability given the evidence in that case; they are not Government mouthpieces.

fprice,

Our Government is anti-gun. It is that way because our people are. Are you suggesting that the Government knows better than the people?

HankB
May 15, 2003, 02:57 PM
youre mistaken in your conception. Well, you're the one who brought your Queen into the discussion.

Come to think of it you said the prosecutor represents the Crown; OK, that's fine. You should know.

But now you say your Queen is consitutionally above the government. Put these statements of yours together, then the prosecutor - representing the Queen (who you said can't try all cases herself) is also above your government.

So when the prosecutor calls defendants names, it's not the government doing it, it's the minion of a higher power doing the name calling. (Unless the Crown isn't the Queen who wears the . . . Crown?)

Thank you for clearing everything up. :rolleyes:

longeyes
May 15, 2003, 03:00 PM
Let's hear it for a nation that runs like clockwork. Orange, that is.

agricola
May 15, 2003, 03:11 PM
hankb,

its simple enough. all courts and indeed the Government are constitutionally (in our sense of the word) beholden to the Queen. if you dont understand that (which was clear enough from your post) then hopefully you do now.

[edit: when the prosecutor calling people names, thats just the prosecutor calling people names and not evidence of anything else]

FPrice
May 15, 2003, 03:47 PM
"Our Government is anti-gun. It is that way because our people are. Are you suggesting that the Government knows better than the people?"

We know the first. As far as the second, there are a great many Brits who are NOT anti-gun, but they have been brow-beaten by a vocal group. The third is generally proven wrong time after time.

But thank you for admitting the anti-gun bias of your country. However, in light of that admission, how can you continue to continue to deny the fact that the prosecutor is an organ of the government?

agricola
May 15, 2003, 03:52 PM
Because he prosecutes the law which has been established by the elected representatives of the people? if there was any kind of sizeable pro-gun movement along the US lines then we would have heard it - there isnt. Since you agree that the Government shouldnt refuse the will of the people......

the prosecutor serves the law, and not the government. your point would have merit if we had an unelected government (because the people would have no say in the establishment of the law), however we have a free and fair system that guarantees the rights that we have decided we wish to have - which are different from your own rights, but no more or less valid because of that.

[edit: i have odds on who will use the word sheep or sheeple first, closed book tho :D]

CZ-75
May 15, 2003, 04:24 PM
SHEEPLE!

:neener:

HankB
May 15, 2003, 04:58 PM
Q: . . . how can you continue to continue to deny the fact that the prosecutor is an organ of the government?

A: Because he prosecutes the law which has been established by the elected representatives of the people . . . the prosecutor serves the law, and not the government . . .

So if he works for the Crown, not the government, and serves the law, not the government, his paycheck must come from somewhere else, and not the government, right?

:banghead:

agricola
May 15, 2003, 05:10 PM
Hankb,

he is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a government mouthpiece. he is a lawyer who prosecutes criminals. thats all he or she does.

oh, i forgot, except when he oppresses the few remaining valiant non-sheeple Brits who only want to excercise their ancient rights of RKBA in the face of the most evil tyranny that has ever lived, in which instance he becomes a newer, wig-wearing, sherry-drinking version of Roland Friesler. :rolleyes: :scrutiny:

hvengel
May 15, 2003, 06:22 PM
I think there are significant differences between how government is organized in the US and the UK. In the US we have 3 branches, legislative, executive and judicial. I believe that agricola is saying (please correct me if I am wrong) is that the British view is that the government consists of what in the US would be the executive branch; that is the PM and his/her ministers and the bureaucracy. The other difference is that in the US prosecutors are part of the executive branch which is charged with enforcing the laws and in the UK they (along with the judges I think again correct me if I am wrong) are part of branch which works for the Crown not the government (as the British use that term).

So in the US prosecutors do work for and speak for the “government” in the British sense of that term (the executive branch). But do not in the way that term is properly used in the US; meaning the over all government (all three branches). Another way to look at this would be to take agricola’s statements where he uses the term Crown and substitute the word state, as meaning a sovereign nation, and the statements about the prosecutors working for the Crown will be better understood by those of us from the US. But I would also view this as a false distinction since the state (Crown) must have a government (in the US sense of the term) in order to govern and in actuality those prosecutors still work for and are paid by a branch of that government (again in the US sense).

I also want to add that in the US the right to silence IS absolute as far as self incrimination and your silence can not be used against you in any way. You can be compelled to testify against other persons other than a spouse unless that would incriminate you. You and your spouse are considered one entity under this right so forcing you to testify against your spouse is the same as self incrimination.

One of our founding principles is that just because a majority decides that something is the law does not make it right. This is the reason that we a have a republican government that has limited enumerated (by the Constitution) powers rather than a pure democracy were anything the majority decides is it. For example, in the US there was a time when slavery was legal and had been legalized by democratic processes. Did that make slavery right? I think not. The founders also knew that in order to prevent tyrannical majorities from trampling on the rights of minorities that they needed to codify in our Constitution a minimal set of rights that were protected from the unreasonable actions by government. The Right to Arms is one of these.

Here in the US the government (courts primarily but all branches) has a responsibility to reject the will of the people IF that will is contrary to the Constitution as the Constitution is a binding agreement or contract between the government and the people. The Constitution is in fact the document that forms our government and as soon as the government abrogates the Constitution it (the government) becomes illegitimate and any actions of the government that are contrary to the Constitution are also illegitimate. These are very American principles that many democracies do not follow. We Americans would claim that this is to their ultimate detriment and the peoples of those nations have our heart felt condolences.

Don Gwinn
May 15, 2003, 10:52 PM
No, Hank, he's asserting that the Queen and the CPS are not "the government." I assume he means that they are not Parliament, which is not the same thing, of course.

To me, it seems patently obvious that if the CPS is in charge of and responsible for prosecuting the people accused of breaking "the government's" laws and it is paid for out of "the government's" budgets with money paid to "the government" in taxes, then it is clearly part of "the government."

But what do I know? I thought "most" was different from "all," remember? As in "you can still request a jury in most criminal matters" is different from "the right to trial by jury has not been eliminated."

MeekandMild
May 15, 2003, 11:54 PM
Our Government is anti-gun. It is that way because our people are. Are you suggesting that the Government knows better than the people? I find that very quaint. Your government is also anti Catholic is it not? Why are you holding onto Northern Ireland? Do most of your people want to pay taxes through the nose to protect a few thousand pommmies there? Wouldn't the people much prefer to evacuate and allow Ireland to chart its own course?

What would happen if you put the matter of gun control to a vote with every county deciding what is best for itself? Would you have a very few deeply urban areas which are antigun? Of course. Would you have the rest of the country progun? Who knows?

CCTV has proven time and time again its usefulness in the detection of crime, including very serious crimes. Well if soemone wants to perpetrate a serious crime on me I dont want it DETECTED then solved next week. I might be dead next week of multiple stab wounds or baseball bat injuries to the head. I want it STOPPED with immediate knockdown! Let the criminal suffer while I'm still alive to watch it.

WonderNine
May 16, 2003, 12:02 AM
CCTV has proven time and time again its usefulness in the detection of crime, including very serious crimes.

Oh ya, I just love cameras recording me at all times! Why don't you just stamp 666 on my forehead and give me a national I.D. card too while you're at it!

First of all, it's a waste of money. Second of all, I don't need the government recording me on closed circuit TV everytime I walk to the local 7/11. I don't want Big Brother watching me.

There's no need for a camera pointed at me everytime I walk down a street. That's just damn scary. You Britons are downright scary!

Agricola, are you familiar with the concept behind the book 1984?

agricola
May 16, 2003, 05:49 AM
Don,

thats right, the CPS and Queen are, for different reasons, not "Government" - as they are unaffected by electoral changes. youre wrong to state "the government's" laws, because at the end of the day the Crown is responsible for the law (Parliament can change it, but given that we get a new Government every 4-5 years its daft to describe the law all as a single body all from "the Government").

meek,

thats a nice way of ignoring the fact that a) the majority of the population of Northern Ireland want to remain in the Union; b) that those people consider themselves as Northern Irish and British. it also conviently ignores recent history of your own Government and its policies.

also I presume that anyone with a weapon for self defence has never been injured or killed ever with that weapon? sometimes you cannot defend yourself, for whatever reason. why then oppose a method that has proven time and time again its use?

wondernine,

i am familiar with 1984. are you?

Don Gwinn
May 16, 2003, 08:44 AM
Look, the fact that they're unelected in no way means they're not part of your government. Again, if they prosecute people for breaking the laws passed by the part you consider the "real" government, then they're the government.

They govern. What else could they possibly be, by definition?

agricola
May 16, 2003, 08:51 AM
don,

thats the thing. they dont govern - all they are are lawyers arguing a case.

Your rationale would suggest that the lawyer who defends a rapist is a rapist themselves- he/she is paid by the rapist, speaks for the rapist and protects the rapists rights in Court.

Mk VII
May 16, 2003, 10:28 AM
The King is not above the law - he is subject to the judgements of the courts as is any other citizen, even though it is nominally 'the King's Justice'. And it has been that way ever since Henry II set up the circuit court system and promised to be bound by it's judgements, although various monarchs have broken the undertaking down the centuries. Before that, if you wanted justice you had to seek out the King and petition him personally, which was time consuming for both parties.
Parliament is above the law, inasmuch as Parliament is the supreme arbiter of its own actions and it's decisions 'are not to be questioned or disputed in any place' [Bill Of Rights]. The original reason for this was to prevent its decisions being overturned by a justice suborned by the King.
The decisions of government ministers are subject to review by the courts, because the Minister acts not in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, although he is usually that as well, but as a Minister of the Crown appointed, nominally by the King, in practice by the Prime Minister, using the Royal Prerogative.
The CPS, also known as the Can't Prosecute Service and the Cr*p Prosecution Service was set up a few years ago following some high-profile miscarriage of justice cases. Previously such decisions had been in the hands of the police. The CPS is supposed to form an independent judgement as the whether a prosecution would be 'in the public interest'. They pay peanuts and, consequently, hire monkeys.

Don Gwinn
May 16, 2003, 12:46 PM
No, my argument would not suggest that. My argument would suggest that if you're a lawyer who only practices on behalf of one client, then when you speak in an official capacity on behalf of that client in court, your statements do in fact reflect upon your client.

If a lawyer worked for Time magazine full time, then when he made statements in court on behalf of Time magazine, they would be assumed to reflect Time's attitude.

But a lawyer who works for the government is not assumed to be carrying out the wishes of that government when he makes statements in court?

It's ridiculous. He works only for them. He does their bidding. He said this in his official capacity while acting on their behalf. If it had not reflected the attitude of the government he would have been reprimanded or fired.

agricola
May 16, 2003, 04:08 PM
don,

thats exactly what you are saying though judging by your example. someone who exclusively defends murderers condones murder?

the CPS is an independent body that prosecutes criminals. it is not the Government.

FPrice
May 16, 2003, 04:57 PM
"thats exactly what you are saying though judging by your example. someone who exclusively defends murderers condones murder?"

You are misrepresenting what Don said in a most grievous way. He said nothing of the sort. The defense attourney works for his/her client, they represent that client in a court of law, they speak for that client, but they do NOT necessarily condone the crime. Rather, in the theory of the law, they are giving their client the opportunity for due process under the law. In order to condone the murder (in your example) they would have to admit that their client actually committed the murder.

In the same manner the prosecutor works for the government, and since they work for the same exclusively they are in theory and practise representing the government. It matters not that they are hired, not elected, they ARE a part of the government. Pure and simple.

Attempting to mis-represent Don's arguement is a sure sign that you know you have lost this arguement and have to resort to evading the issue.

agricola
May 16, 2003, 05:23 PM
fprice,

In the same manner the prosecutor works for the government, and since they work for the same exclusively they are in theory and practise representing the government. It matters not that they are hired, not elected, they ARE a part of the government. Pure and simple.

except that they dont work for the Government- they work for the CPS. Had the original author said that the prosecutor from the CPS had stated that the perp in that case was "an unmitigated thug" then I'd have not raised the point - but he didnt. He stated that the Government had called the man an "unimitigated thug", which is clearly not the case.

You are misrepresenting what Don said in a most grievous way..

the "misrepresentation" was deliberate, since it was originally argued as:

To me, it seems patently obvious that if the CPS is in charge of and responsible for prosecuting the people accused of breaking "the government's" laws and it is paid for out of "the government's" budgets with money paid to "the government" in taxes, then it is clearly part of "the government."

a defence lawyer for a fixed client (ie one that doesnt use the Duty Scheme) is:

I) responsible for defending the defendant accused of breaking the law by his or her actions;

II) is paid for from the defendants purse;

III) with money the defendant has earned, possibly from crime;

using his methodology (which is flawed) the defence lawyer condones (and is therefore a part of) the defendants actions. thats stupid - and shows the poor judgement of people who would label a prosecutor as a government mouthpiece.

the CPS dealt with one million cases of all kinds last year. does what the prosecutor state in each case become "government policy"?

doesnt the fact that this debate has stretched over two pages on account of the (seemingly only) discrepancy you have found in my critique of the original article suggest instead that its you who've lost this one?

SDC
May 16, 2003, 05:42 PM
By your definition, Agricola, the SS troopers who loaded people into boxcars bound for Auschwitz "didn't work for the government" either; they only worked for their immediate supervisor. :rolleyes:

agricola
May 16, 2003, 05:49 PM
no, they worked for the SS which was clearly responsible for the majority of the Holocaust.

have you just invoked Godwins Law?

FPrice
May 16, 2003, 05:57 PM
"doesnt the fact that this debate has stretched over two pages on account of the (seemingly only) discrepancy you have found in my critique of the original article suggest instead that its you who've lost this one?"

Nope. Just another example of how you fail to read how this has progressed. YOU seem to be the only one with your opinion. Many people have tried to point out the error you seem bound and determined to perpetuate. But, that is your right. Your right to be wrong if you so choose.

I have to give you credit for your courageous defense of an obviously incorrect stance. Not many people would continue to debate and evade the way you do after so many examples disproving what you are trying to prove.

No one has ever said that the prosecutor is THE government. We have repeatedly stated that the prosecutor REPRESENTS the government in the court and his statement echoes what seems to be your government's attitude towards honest citizens who try to defend themselves against criminals.

"the "misrepresentation" was deliberate,"

Finally, we agree on something.

FPrice
May 16, 2003, 05:59 PM
"have you just invoked Godwins Law?"

Probably more like "agricola's law".

:D

agricola
May 16, 2003, 06:07 PM
fprice,

No one has ever said that the prosecutor is THE government.

noone except Kopel in the original article, that is.

its worth noting that of the two people here that state the CPS is independent of HMG, both of them are British, while those who state that the prosecutor is a government mouthpiece are all rebel scum ;) :D

btw the prosecutor does NOT represent the Government in court. He or she represents the CPS. The difference is important to this debate.

oh and http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?GodwinsLaw

FPrice
May 16, 2003, 06:19 PM
"noone except Kopel in the original article, that is."

No one except the most inept of readers would try to say that Kopel said that the prosecutor is THE government. So that is your first and most basic error.

"while those who state that the prosecutor is a government mouthpiece are all rebel scum"

If this was supposed to be an insult, it failed. Please note that these "rebel scum" kicked the ever-loving you-know-what out of the most powerful nation on earth at that time!

Or does your history books gloss over this point? :D

FPrice
May 16, 2003, 06:23 PM
Godwin's Law:

Humor attempting to fool people and pose as logical argument.

agricola
May 16, 2003, 06:28 PM
fprice,

kopel's exact words:

...a brick was prosecuted and called "an unmitigated thug" by the government

my statement was initially that Kopel had said that the Government had stated this, wheras it was in all likelyhood the prosecutor who had uttered the phrase. You now state:

No one except the most inept of readers would try to say that Kopel said that the prosecutor is THE government. So that is your first and most basic error.

Kopel's statement is clear and unequivocal.

Oh and the rebel scum statement was a joke, hence the winking smiley next to it. Though if you can type No one except the most inept of readers would try to say that Kopel said that the prosecutor is THE government. So that is your first and most basic error. after arguing that the prosecutor IS the government for the past two pages then its not surprising that the joke is lost on you.
:(

(which means sad btw) ;)

(which means "joke")

FPrice
May 16, 2003, 06:38 PM
"kopel's exact words:"

And since the prosecutor represents the government, through whatever guise you may want deny it, his words and meaning were clear. Especially given the British government's attitude over the past few years.

"after arguing that the prosecutor IS the government for the past two pages then its not surprising that the joke is lost on you."

Well, British humor has always left me cold. With the possible exception of "Red Dwarf". I always thought that Arnold Rimmer was a very good representation of the typical British bureaucrat. Function without thought. (oh, almost forgot the smiley!)

Oh, and "Solo" was very good also. Red Dwarf paid homage to the star when they mentioned orbiting a moon which bore an amazing resemblance to Felicity Kendall's bum. :what:

MeekandMild
May 16, 2003, 06:51 PM
Aggie, is this the only way you can find attention in your life? I mean this constant masochistic argument about the existance of something you've never experianced. Surely you can't be getting anything from all this?

Maybe you'd be happier watching the tellie, going on line for some fish and chips or going down to the pub for a pint or whatever they do on your cell block? Maybe find a girl who has most of her teeth and try to make some little Aggies? With all the folk you say agree with you on everything surely there is someone?

Sometimes it seems that we are a cluster of folk all gathered around a blind man, teling him 'yes, just open your eyes', but it really doesn't help with the blind you know. It would be easier to just tell him, 'yes you're right' and leave him alone to experiance the sunset in his own demented way.

agricola
May 16, 2003, 07:00 PM
meek,

you forgot the warm beer, but otherwise you got all the other stereotypes in. btw the spelling is "telly". in case you havent noticed it the debate is over the British criminal justice system, and the reason why one remains here is because 90% of the stuff that passes for news from these shores that you read is utter nonsense, and its not surprising that you view my country in the way that you do.

fprice,

for the last time, the only body that the prosector represents is the CPS. if you want to drag the government into this, then the body closest to the Government is the Court, which at the end of the day decides whether its (in reality the Crown's) laws have been breached.

FPrice
May 16, 2003, 07:35 PM
For those who are curious, the following site has some good information on how various portions of the British Government are organized.

http://www.britannia.com/gov/gov8.html

A cursory reading seems to indicate that Britannia.com considers the British Legal system to be a portion of the British government.

HankB
May 16, 2003, 10:10 PM
I've got it! I've got it! I've watched this thread, and taken part in it, and after reviewing our articulate island-dweller's arguments, it came to me . . . we Yanks aren't debating with a blind man, as MeekandMild suggested - no indeed; we are actually having a debate with Baghdad Bob! ;) :p

Don Gwinn
May 16, 2003, 10:54 PM
What does the word "govern" mean in your world, sir, and how is it possible that the definition excludes the act of enforcing a government's laws?

:scrutiny:

Ryder
May 17, 2003, 02:53 AM
Hi :)

Kind of a confusing jumble of wordplay and I don't see the relevance of a lot here to the prime debate of gun ownership for self defense... But this caught my eye:

agricola:
also I presume that anyone with a weapon for self defence has never been injured or killed ever with that weapon? sometimes you cannot defend yourself, for whatever reason. why then oppose a method that has proven time and time again its use?

The first part of this statement is supposed to be a justification for why people can't be allowed to defend themselves with weapons? Because somebody may have EVER had their own weapon used against them? I don't get it, that has nothing to do with me and my circumstances. Why would I not sometimes be able to defend myself? I should not be allowed the opportunity to even try? I don't get it. Sounds like you are implying that since some people lack the will to defend themselves and would rather submit to the mercy of a criminal I would also be that way? There are such people but that's where freedom of choice comes in. Many here in the states have rejected the notion of concealed carry because of this. Nobody is forced to carry a weapon here.

As for the last sentence in your quote, again I must admit I don't get it. What other method do you refer to that has proven itself time and time again against immanent violence? You certainly can't mean the deterence factor involved where a criminal thinks you might have a weapon since you have precluded that possibility over there.

Kind regards :)

Sergeant Bob
May 17, 2003, 06:15 AM
Ryder, I think this by Aggie:
also I presume that anyone with a weapon for self defence has never been injured or killed ever with that weapon? sometimes you cannot defend yourself, for whatever reason. why then oppose a method that has proven time and time again its use?

Was a reply to this by Meek:
Well if soemone wants to perpetrate a serious crime on me I dont want it DETECTED then solved next week. I might be dead next week of multiple stab wounds or baseball bat injuries to the head. I want it STOPPED with immediate knockdown! Let the criminal suffer while I'm still alive to watch it.

Which was a reply to this by Aggie:
CCTV has proven time and time again its usefulness in the detection of crime, including very serious crimes.

So I guess next time your life is in danger just close your eyes and say: The cameras will protect me, The cameras will protect me. ;) Clear as mud?

0007
May 17, 2003, 08:12 AM
Thanks guys, I needed a little humor in my life after the root canal this morning...:D :D

agricola
May 17, 2003, 10:21 AM
don,

the only group that the prosecutor represents is the CPS. For Kopel to state that the government called that man "an unmitigated thug" is clearly misleading and its to your discredit that youre attempting to evade this error, as well as all the other errors within the article, especially given the frequent critiques of percieved "anti-gun" media here. once again, if Kopel had said that the prosecutor had said "an unmitigated thug" then we wouldnt be having this debate - but he didnt say that, and he said what he said for the effect that it would have.

FWIW the CPS is part of the Criminal Justice System, an independent body of the Home Office. As said before, that doesnt mean it is "the government" any more than a lace is a shoe.

I seem to remember debates on TFL that went like this - the rape/attempted rape statistics debate, the Lott "inaccuracies" debate and so on. I also remember being proved right on those threads.

sergeant bob,

the point was that those posters wanted to ditch CCTV, which has demonstrated repeatedly its use in solving crime. my contention was that you dont write off RKBA because crime is still committed against armed citizens, crime will and has always occured and will always occur. You'd all argue that RKBA reduces crime; I argue that CCTV reduces crime AND provides evidence after the event. Its likely that no amount of RKBA would have saved James Bulger, or stopped the RIRA bombers at Ealing or Birmingham, or prevented David Copeland from planting his nailbombs in Brick Lane and Soho - but in each case CCTV was vital to the conviction of those murderous vermin.

Mk VII
May 17, 2003, 10:25 AM
Americans are familiar with the concept of a District Attorney who is a political appointee and who can expect to lose his job with a change of Administration, but such a creature is unknown in this country, for better or worse.
Is 'the public interest' identical with H.M Government's interest? I recall an argument some year or two ago in the papers about a statement (can't remember the context) from some civil servant who argued that it was. But the proposition was highly controversial and did not command general support.

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