Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm Not Sure About the Ethics Of This

Using real crimes and real - local - people as the subjects of your journalism exams at City University.

"Peter is going to be OK, but he is not well enough yet to talk to the police. All he has been able to say is that a man hit him with something heavy. Yes I opened the shop as usual today. I have to make a living. I am nervous, and we shall have to think about some sort of CCTV. Peter is 45."

Peter isn't OK - far from it.

"My dad's still not in a good way. He's got brain damage, he still has to go to the hospital and he can't walk properly. But the people who did this are still out there.

"The guy a couple of doors away was murdered and they found his killers. And last year the man in the pizza place up the road was murdered and they caught the kid who did it. We just want them to find the man who attacked my dad and left him for dead.

"They came in the shop, beat him to within an inch of his life and walked out with the till and his wallet. Someone on Holloway Road must have seen something. We just need answers."

Their appeals come as police announce they have reopened the case.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Redmond, who is leading the investigation, said: "We want to speak to anybody who saw a black man walking down Holloway Road carrying a large old-style cash register at about 3.30pm on that day.

"So far no witnesses have come forward but we are confident that someone must have seen something and we would encourage them to come forward no matter how little they know or saw."

Back to our budding journos.

In January last year Rifat Binboga, 35, was dragged from his shop, Good Value Grocer, at 338 Holloway Road and beaten to death with iron bars. The attack took place at lunchtime after a dispute the previous evening over a £5 phone card. Two youths, both aged 17, were jailed for seven years in December for manslaughter.

After Mr Binboga’s death, Peter Stuart warned that the Holloway Road had become a lawless place where criminals were guaranteed an easy escape. He told the Recorder then: "I’ve had several problems here and there are never any police around. Things are getting worse and stretches of Holloway Road are very dangerous."

The World Weary Detective was blogging the other day about an elderly lady whose death received minimal coverage. Same for poor Rifat Binboga - a Blacknet cache and that's it. Nothing on the BBC.

A murder inquiry has been launched after a supermarket owner was beaten to death outside his store.
Rifat Binboga, 35, from Clapton, east London, was attacked outside the Good Value Supermarket in north London, just before 1200GMT on Tuesday.
Police arrived at the scene to find the father-of-one unconscious and he died from head injuries on Wednesday in the Whittington Hospital.
Two black men were seen running from the scene and police are appealing for witnesses.

Jonathan Fakondoh and Antonio Fenton, both seventeen, got seven years. You serve three, so they must be out by now. Maybe they're studying journalism.


Anonymous said...

any idea why the assailants got manslaughter instead of murder.

attacking somebody with a iron bar is pretty serious stuff.

ian said...

Because it's a pefectly valid defence to say "I hit him several times with the iron bar but I didn't mean to kill him".

Problem is, the crime of murder implies intent to kill and that must be clear intent, and that can be fiendishly difficult to prove.

It is obvious that lawyer sharks have wised up to this and now can virtually guarentee to the scum they represent that manslaughter is going to be the charge once they are coached correctly and they'll be out in less than 5.

Once the laws that separate differing cases of murder are changed (to like they are in America), this will stop, as second degree murder will have a lesser dependence on "intent to kill" and carry a much harsher sentence, although you wont get a life sentence.

Probably someone will then complain that the law change has resulted in an increase in prison numbers.

Dave said...

I would say repeatedly wacking someone over the head with an iron bar does demonstrate intent to kill, or at least do them extremely serious long lasting damage.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the sentence would be if I happened to wallop a barrister about the head with an iron bar?
Would I get away with manslaughter or would the legal establishment press for a murder charge?
I'm confident that my actions would result in a long sentence and vilifying in the press.

Dave F said...

Yes, it is reasonable to suppose that if I batter you over the head repeatedly with an iron bar -- which I have brought along specifically for this purpose -- there is indeed mens rea (preconceived intent) to kill. At first glance the judge appears to have misdirected him or herself, perhaps influenced by the age of the two assailants and their probable ignorance. I haven't seen the judgment, so this is speculation of course.