Saturday, January 13, 2007

Friday, January 12, 2007

"His native Southampton"

Well, I suppose it's possible. Maybe his folks fled Pinochet's violence.

One for Martin Kelly here, methinks.

The very wonderful Lifestyle Extra reports :

A bouncer who stabbed an American exchange student 11 times in the head and back as they lay in bed minutes after having sex is facing jail.

Pedro Barrios-Telosa, 22, who is believed to have been high on drugs, pleaded guilty to the "shocking and terrible" attack on Hispanic student Claudia Ramirez who he had known for only two weeks.

Prosecutor Christopher Hehir told the court Barrios-Telosa was sane and not suffering from a mental illness.

Outlining the case, he said: "Their relationship came to a shocking and violent end on that evening when, having just had sexual intercourse with Ms Ramirez, he picked up a sharp knife and repeatedly stabbed her about the head and body.

"Having done so, and having dialled or attempted to dial 999, he left her, although not before stealing her laptop."

It's another depressing tale of Brit justice, actually. He's pleading guilty to 'wounding with intent' to avoid an attempted murder charge. Five years or less is my guess - and you only serve half. Be out in no time - and he really sounds like he's got all his ducks in a row, doesn't he ?

As Mr Hehir told the court about the facts, Barrios-Telosa stormed out, as he had done so throughout the hearings as his lawyers tried to talk to him.

But it was this that caught my jaundiced eye :

Barrios-Telosa was arrested after he fled to his native Southampton, but refused to talk to police claiming he could not remember the events. He was remanded back into custody and will be sentenced next month.

Compare and Contrast

The BBC version :

Schoolboy 'attacked with hammer'

Eight men have been arrested following a violent attack on a schoolboy in Wroughton in Wiltshire.

The 15-year old pupil at the Ridgeway school was allegedly hit with a hammer as he left after classes just before 1600 GMT on Thursday.

The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to the Great Western Hospital where he is been treated for head injuries. His parents are at his side.

The incident happened as scores of children were leaving to go home.

A source said the boy had been held down and hit with a hammer by the family of another pupil at the school.

The eight men are being held at Gable Cross Police Station in Swindon.

The Metro version :

The boy was set upon at the end of the school day by a gang of Asian men who local sources said were the family of another pupil at the comprehensive school.

He was said to have been held down and hit with a hammer.

Mr Colledge said he was on patrol in the school grounds when the victim, who is white and in year 11, was attacked.

"After school had ended for the day and pupils were exiting the premises at least four young adults unknown to the school came into the tennis courts and attacked the pupil, we believe with something similar to a hammer," he said.

He said he understood that the boy had been hit more than once and was "bleeding profusely but conscious at all times and able to help get himself on to the paramedic's stretcher".

"Clearly it's such a shocking incident and everybody has been very helpful in identifying the perpetrators of the incident to police," he added.

"The car was quickly identified and given to the police who I believe have now detained eight men.

"When he was at the school he was speaking and able to tell us what had happened and we were able to talk to him. His mum and dad arrived before he went off in the ambulance, I imagine they are very upset."

Counselling for pupils who witnessed the incident would be offered if needed.

He said although he was aware there had been a similar type of incident at the school before he took up his role as headmaster in September, generally race relations between pupils at the school were good.

"Relations seem to be very good and pupils mix, play football and chat together."

But Mr Colledge had heard the attackers were relatives of a pupil at the school.

He said: "If that's the case I think it's even more sad.

"It's not the sort of incident you would expect to happen anywhere really and it's very hard to understand why such extreme violence would be used."

He also appealed for pupils not to take matters into their own hands.

"We will talk to pupils about responding responsibly and sensibly to what has happened," he said.

The teenager was tonight being treated at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon. A spokesman said: "He has been treated and is comfortable."

Ridgeway School has about 1,450 pupils aged 11 to 18.

Hmmm. Wroughton isn't some 'inna-city' hell-hole either. It's a pleasant enough commuter zone to the south of Swindon.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

Another day, another crop of Home Office disaster stories.

The reverse foreign criminal scandal.

Acpo spokesman, Paul Kernaghan, told MPs that until his association took over the job of updating criminal records last year, offences committed overseas were not being entered into the Police National Computer (PNC).

Instead, information on convictions was left "sitting in desk files" at the Home Office rather than being properly examined.

In total, details of 27,529 cases were left in files at the Home Office, according to Acpo.

Which the Home Office were unaware of.

Home Secretary John Reid, who was only told about the issue on Tuesday, held an emergency meeting with police and the Criminal Records Bureau the next morning.

He later announced an internal inquiry would take place.

Or were they ?.

Chief constables wrote to Tony McNulty, the Police Minister, three months ago and the letter was then passed to Joan Ryan, a junior minister.

The letter advised Mr McNulty that given earlier problems over foreign national prisoners it might be wise for the Home Secretary to be briefed on the issue.

Ms Ryan’s office acknowledged the letter in December, according to a report on ITV news.

The row almost overshadows the everyday Home Office fare.

The absconding prisoners.

Opposition parties have criticised the Prison Service after its head admitted not knowing the number of inmates on the run from open jails in England.

Phil Wheatley said there was no central system to count escapees who had been recaptured, but such a database would now be developed.

The policy of putting killers in open prisons.

Duncan MacNeil, 41, and Paul Michael Neale, 50, were reported missing from Sudbury Open Prison on Wednesday.

MacNeil from London was jailed for life in 1982. Neale was sentenced to life imprisonment in Bristol in 1983 for a murder in Wiltshire.

On Sunday, Gary Smith, 41, from Liverpool, convicted of manslaughter in 2002, failed to return to the prison after temporary release.

The decriminalisation of many crimes.

Just half of the penalty notices for disorder are paid within the required 21 days; offenders who fail to pay may still end up in court. A Whitehall consultation paper last month revealed that each penalty notice costs £91 to enforce - more than the value of the penalty.

The notices for disorder followed Tony Blair's claim that yobs would think twice before misbehaving if they faced being marched to a cash machine and fined on the spot.

How can such things be ? How can the criminal justice system (CJS) be in such a mess ? Call me naive, but I'm wondering if the culture of the people running it has a bearing.

There was a wonderful student photo of Sir Kenneth Macdonald in the Sunday Times when he got the job of head of the Crown Prosecution Service. A classic hippy circa 1972. This was around the time he was convicted of sending cannabis through the post to a friend.

Take a look at the head of the Youth Justice Board, Rod Morgan. Or at the rest of the board - let's see, a social worker who's a trustee of the Refugee Council, a former "Chief Inspector of Careers Services within the DfES", a former BBC Religious Affairs correspondent, a child psychiatrist, a children's charity worker (for the Church of England Children's society, a body who believe that no child should ever be imprisoned - including the Bulger killers), a magistrate, another charity wonk who also works for the left think-tank the IPPR, a "regular contributor to Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4" and a "Professor of European Youth Policy at the University of Glamorgan (formerly Bridgend Technical College)".

You can see why youth crime is almost non-existent, can't you ?

Last, read the CV of Helen Edwards (profiled in yesterday's Times), newly appointed head of the Offender Management Service NOMS, the body tasked with keeping the lags on the straight and narrow while they're being supervised 'in the community'.

Sociology at Warwick and Sussex Unis in the early 70s, two centres of leftwing student radicalism. Social worker with Sussex Council. Then charity work with Save the Children before 18 years at the pro-criminal lobby group NACRO.

From Chief Exec at NACRO to Home Office, Director of Active Communities Directorate 2002-04; Director-General of Communities Group 2004-06.

Is this a CV which will have criminals quaking in their boots and vowing to turn over a new leaf ?

(She came from a charity to the Home Office. Her predecessor, Martin Narey, has left the Home Office - to go to a charity. One which gets a lot of taxpayer cash, of course. As one door closes another opens.)

People like these have been in charge of our criminal justice system for thirty-odd years, with the happy results noted at the start of this post.

We can see the touch of the Youth Justice Board in the treatment of Alan Steel, a 26-year old smackhead with four previous convictions for dangerous driving and 13 previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified, dating back to June 1996. I wonder what other convictions he had ?

He was free and on the streets to pay £700 (doubtless saved from his paper round) for a second hand jeep. Pausing only to fill up with fuel, heroin and methadone, he set off on a ride which ended in the death of Paula Stead and a ten-year old girl losing a leg.

Not much Youth Justice for Danica Green, was there ?

A girl of ten screamed 'I hate you' across a courtroom yesterday at the hit-and-run driver who left her with one leg and killed her aunt.

From her wheelchair, Danica Green shook and wiped away tears as she unleashed her fury on Alan Steel.

She has undergone months of surgery and emotional counselling since Steel, high on heroin and driving 'like a maniac' to escape police, mounted a pavement and ploughed into her, her aunt Paula Stead, 32, and Mrs Stead's daughter Bridie, 11.

Danica was knocked to the ground before the wheels of the black Cherokee crushed her legs. Bridie was thrown into the air. Mrs Stead was swept on to the windscreen and carried along before being thrown into the middle of the road. She died instantly from injuries which included a fractured skull, a gash to the head, 18 rib fractures, a ruptured spleen and a ruptured liver.

But the story has a quasi-happy ending - the killer's been "jailed indefinitely". Huzzah !


Steel was told he will only be released from prison when probation officials believe he is no longer a danger to the public. He will have to serve at least five years.

When probation officials believe he is no longer a danger to the public ? He'll be out this weekend, then.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Before We Start A Witch-Hunt ...

I thought the Left were against this sort of thing ...

Labour MP Barry Sheerman, chairman of the Commons education select committee, said: "Before we start a witch-hunt about a particular Cabinet minister, let us find out what the circumstances are and let's then duly consider that."

(I naturally support the Blessed Ruth Kelly, Catholic and fertility goddess, in anything and everything she does. But she set herself up for the cries of 'hypocrite !' when she mouthed the acceptable shibboleths to keep the Left of the party onside)

(picked up by Prague Tory and then stealth-edited by the Beeb)

Homage to a Government

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

Philip Larkin, 1969

Turning Webellion Into Money

Mr Mellor ("Joe Strummer" to his fans) at home in Somerset

From the Court and Social pages :

Mr John Graham Mellor, who died at his farmhouse at Broomfield, Somerset, in December, left an estate of £986,229 gross, £945,132 net. A further £127,429 of narcotics is buried in the five-acre field and remains to be retrieved. His wife Lucinda (nee Plymply-Thynne, daughter of the 7th Earl Ferrers and Strathmore, and mother to Tryphosia, Missaluba and Tahini) inherits.

The public school educated son of a diplomat, after service in the Blues and Royals he rose to fame in the 1970s under an assumed name as a guitarist in the popular 'beat' combo "The Clash". But he remained true to his roots, encouraging other members of the band to take up pigeon shooting as a hobby and insisting that they target the racing pigeons of elderly working-class Londoners. In later years he gave up hunting after a serious fall and devoted himself to conservation work.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Rule Britannia ! Britannia rules the waves ...

Britons never never never

Shall be sub

Mirrstalanche !

UPDATE - Blimey. It's a Mirrstalanche. Over 1000 hits (mostly Altavista image search) today from people looking for a post from eighteen months back that doesn't even have a picture, just a link to one. What's Helen Mirren been up to ?

I don't know. Enough to make one despair. Years of political blogging for an audience of seven or eight hundred people, and your top posts are a Helen Mirren photo link, the Bowyer-Dyer fight video, and something that attracts googlers for 'decapitation video'.

Bloggers like Tim Worstall are carving out a second career - so I note the occasional post cunningly designed to snaffle Stateside traffic with a wry smile. Not my thing at all. Perish the thought. This blog is designed to lower my blood pressure rather than raise my overdraft limits.

But all the same. It wasn't even a very good quality photograph. People searching for Ms Mirren in her pomp are probably better off here.

(It's not a bad film, btw. The late lamented Dorothy Tutin is superb)

Not Having Kids Part 4383

For some reason I'm getting hundreds of Helen Mirren hits this morning. A quick Wiki tells me that

a) she was born Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov
b) no children

It's true. The left-wing, alternative 60s generation really does contain the unfertilised seeds of its own destruction.

There's a small postette at Biased BBC.

And the Copper (whose book I bought for my aunt at Christmas) has an entertaining email.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Drinking From Home

Hasn't posted for seven weeks. Left no goodbye note.

Anyone know him ? Is he OK ?

Another Liberal Myth Bites The Dust

I'd never heard of this, but apparently :

Some native American anthropologists claim that primitive Navajos used to honour men known as the "nadleeh" – said to have "two spirits", one masculine, one feminine – who were allowed to dress like women, and to perform their duties.

In traditional pointy-head style, this meant that the Navajo were cool dudes, who "recognised sexual diversity in their community". How unlike our own straight, repressed Christian forebears ! Don't bogart that peyote, Don Juan !

That slightly scary feminist student who would witter on about Native American spirituality is now Diversity Co-Ordinator with a budget. There seems to be a cluster of them in the North West.

"The Navajo Lesbian and Gay Health Strategy for Preston, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre currently has 50 local organisations signed up to its lesbian and gay friendly assurance charter mark scheme. This includes NHS health care services including Accident and Emergency, GUM Clinics, GPs, young people’s sexual health services as well as other statutory and voluntary services. The charter mark ensures equity of access to services and equality of employment and includes access to training, resources, support, funding and policy making for all organisations involved."

It was Navajo Chartermark literature which led to the Wyre Borough Thought Police incident.

Strangely, the real Navajo nation don't seem too chuffed.

The native Americans, however, are furious. Their attorney-general has written a letter, passed to The Sunday Telegraph, expressing "great concern".

The 300,000 Navajo live on a huge reservation in north-eastern Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, and enjoy considerable independence from Washington. They make many of their own laws, including one passed overwhelmingly in 2005, banning homosexual marriages.

Louis Denetsosie, the Navajo attorney-general, says in a letter to the Roberts: "The Navajo nation is greatly concerned regarding the use of the word Navajo in any context, but even more so when it is used to express a view or policy that is contrary to Navajo law."

Last night, one of the lawyers who acted for the Roberts, Tom Ellis, of the Manchester firm Aughton Ainsworth, said: "At a time when gay activists are pressing for laws that will give them a right not to be offended, it appears that some groups, including many funded by the taxpayer, are prepared to offend a whole nation."

Well ...

It worked.

Criminal 'Justice' Round-Up

Foreign criminals ? Too much hassle ...

"Two criminals caught on CCTV vandalising cars were not prosecuted because police said they were unemployed foreigners and to bring them to justice would cost too much.

One victim received a letter from Norfolk police saying the pair would not be prosecuted because they were both foreign nationals with no jobs and no income and the case was “not in the public interest to pursue due to the expenses incurred in having a trial”.

The latest case involved the vandalism of at least five cars in Norwich. Two men, aged 19 and 29, were arrested on suspicion of damaging cars but a Norfolk police spokeswoman said that after “careful consideration of all the evidence” it was decided to deal with the offenders by way of a police caution.

Barry Ferguson, 29, one of the victims of the vandals, who are in the country legally, said he was dismayed by the decision. “Even though these people were caught in the act they are getting away with wanton vandalism,” he said.

“I can’t believe the police have spent all this money on CCTV and then have not bothered to charge them.

“There would be outrage if a British person got away with this but it is being justified in this instance because these people are foreign with no income. What is the point of having CCTV if these crimes are ignored?” The police spokeswoman said: “Any decision is tested against the attorney-general’s guidelines. It has absolutely nothing to do with their ethnicity or level of income.

“This caution, whilst not a conviction, is added to their police record and can be cited in court should they reoffend. The victims, if they wish to do so, can pursue compensation through the civil courts.” "

a.k.a. 'you're on your own, mate'.

Foreign criminals ? Think of their human rights ...

"The hunt for hundreds of foreign prisoners who were released instead of being deported is being hampered by the refusal by police to issue "wanted" photographs because they would infringe criminals' "human rights".

Worries about their "right to privacy" are complicating the search for about 250 convicts – including one murderer – who avoided deportation in the scandal that led to Charles Clarke's removal as home secretary in May."

Caught shoplifting ? Take a £80 fixed penalty notice. No criminal record - and do some more shoplifting to pay the fine !

More than 160,000 offenders caught shoplifting, vandalising property or engaging in yobbish behaviour last year were issued with £50 or £80 penalty notices, under a government scheme to speed up justice.

Penalty notices are given for shoplifting, criminal damage, being drunk and disorderly, and 'causing harassment, alarm or distress'

The figure represents offenders spared court in one crime out of every nine that is solved by the police.

The crimes count as having been detected, helping police and the Home Office to meet clear-up targets, even though offenders issued with the notices do not have to admit their guilt and do not end up with a criminal record.

A rapid rise in the use of "penalty notices for disorder" - up by 20 per cent in the past 12 months - has sparked accusations that ministers are in effect "decriminalising" some offences.

You might not even have to pay up. About a third of fines in major cities (London, Manchester, Merseyside) are never paid. Anyone know what the figures are for fixed penalties ?

elsewhere the clueless Prison Service doesn't know how many escaped prisoners there are.

"Almost 700 inmates escaped in the year to last April from England's 15 open jails, Mr Wheatley estimated.

Earlier this week, the Home Office, replying to a Freedom of Information Act request, said 401 of the prisoners remained at large.

But the figures were compiled last May, and Mr Wheatley said he was "embarrassed" to admit he was unable to provide an accurate up-to-date figure because there was no central database for recording numbers of recaptured prisoners. "