Sunday, 7 October 2012

Strange Justice

You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. That is how you keep the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. (Isaiah 10:1-2)

Magistrate Ian Christmas, guilty, and sentenced to 15 months in prison - and he is still receiving pay, and still holds the office of magistrate, albeit suspended. A pensioner who is found guilty, and sent to prison, is not paid their pension with immediate effect. Justice should be fair for all, or it is not justice at all, but only a mechanism which there is exceptionalism for the privileged.

This seems quite wrong, unless presumably your name is Christmas. I can understand how he should be paid until he was found guilty; after all, had he be found innocent of charges, he would have been wrongly deprived of his pay. But he has been found guilty. It has been argued that he is appealing, and may yet be found innocent. But surely the more commonsense approach would have been to now stop his pay - he is, after all, provisionally guilty and in prison - and if he was innocent on appeal, pay the difference to him. After all, monies paid now, or so I understand, cannot be reclaimed, even though he is now in prison.

Moreover, he seems to have used his office as magistrate as a kind of celebrity endorsement for marketing. This isn't new - those of us with elephantine memories can recall Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Robert Marks who featured in several tyre safety adverts shortly after quitting the force. But what is different is that he endorsed and sole schemes while he was still a magistrate, apparently using the badge of office as part of an brand image of trustworthiness. Anyone who does that is, quite honestly, not fit to be a magistrate, and whether innocent or not, he should not hold the office of magistrate again.

Justice is driven away, and right cannot come near. Truth stumbles in the public square, and honesty finds no place there. (Isaiah 59:14)

Exceptionalism, but American style, also can be seen recently in the extradition of terror suspect Abu Hamza al-Masri has been extradited from the U.K. and is now facing charges in a New York court. He appeared in the court, without his hooks, and  his lawyers asked for the return of these prosthetics, arguing that they were essential for him to "function in a civilised manner".

American prisons - from accounts of innocent people who have been remanded there and later freed - are ugly, unpleasant places. No spirit of prison reform, as begun by Quakers such as Elisabeth Fry, seems to have taken place over there. In the UK, there is a board of prison visitors who see what conditions are like in prisons, and the same oversight, if it exists in the USA, is failing. Worse, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp still exists despite promises to close it. It is basically a torture camp, outside even the scope of the American legal system, where prisoners can be tortured with impunity.

And extradition procedures are so quick now, that, as the JEP reported, Advocate Stephen Baker said Jersey citizens, if extradition is applied for, have little chance of successfully fighting off extradition requests from a host of nations including the USA. The evidence against the subject of the extradition request would not be tested in a Jersey court.

They utter empty words and make false promises and useless treaties. Justice has become injustice, growing like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
(Hosea 10:4)

But it doesn't work both ways. It is extremely hard to extradite people from the USA. American exceptionalism is again in place. And as with exceptionalism, justice flies out of the window. The evidence against the subject of the extradition request would have to be tested in a Jersey court. If it is fair, it should be fair both ways, but it is not.

So it is not surprising that Julian Assange does not want to be extradited to Sweden, where he has been refused any guarantees that he won't be extradited and swiftly taken to the USA. If he had those assurances, he would let himself be extradited. The leaking of secret documents still rankles with the USA, and I am sure that that basest of motives, revenge plays a part. Sophistry suggests that it will be disguised in euphemistic terms such as "sending out a clear message" etc in such a way that it will seem legitimate. But it is a twisted justice, all the same.

God never twists justice; he never fails to do what is right. (Job 8:3 )


Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about the Christmas fiasco.

The potential appeal is irrelevant. By any normal, sensible standard he is guilty. This was the verdict of a Royal Court jury. There can be no excuse for not discontinuing his salary. The man is a disgrace to his profession. He is a convicted crook. There can be no possibility of him ever resuming his role of Magistrate.

For goodness sake, will the powers that be for once take a bold and correct decision? Dismiss him and stop paying him! Anything else is morally repugnant - and weak!!!

Anonymous said...

Ian Le Marquand as home affairs Minister should indeed come out into the open and explain how someone who is unable to undertake his work in a professional manner ( being found guilty and jailed ) is still be remunerated by the department he is in charge of.

The fact that they obviously know each other as once being magistrates should make it glaringly obvious what the conspirators will start thinking and of course they may well be correct if the silence continues.

Anonymous said...

Morally repugnant and weak. Welcome to the world of Jersey politics. Run by the wealthy for the wealthy.

Anonymous said...

The longer that Mr Christmas keeps getting paid, the larger the hole in your theory of ordinary and extraordinary justice gets, TTP.

TonyTheProf said...

On the contrary, it reinforces it. My theory of ordinary and extraordinary justice says that where the State and Senior States employees are involved in the dispute, there are problems, when there is no need to consider the position of the States (the reflex-self-defense posturing), justice flows through quite well.

So the Jersey Care Leavers are facing problems because they have a legitimate grievance in which the State is involved.

TonyTheProf said...

Senator Ian Le Marquand, a local politician, called for a review in public office system in the wake of the sentencing.

He said he wanted it to be made possible for a magistrate to be asked to leave their role due to loss of public confidence.

Currently a magistrate can only be dismissed by order of the Queen, and after a disciplinary investigation by a UK judge.