Thursday, April 02, 2009

Traditional East-End Villains (more torture in the community)

This lot - Adnan Kyani, Mohammed Nawaz, Douglas Poku, Benjamin Boakye, Andrew Boateng and Yaw Darko-Kwakye - got 34 years for kidnap and torture. Between six of them. Let me see, that's 34 halved is seventeen, divided by six - about 2 years 9 months each after you knock off the 18 days.

Yaw Darko-Kwakye ?

If you shouted his name at him in the street you'd be jailed for racist abuse.

Well, I'm Shocked

A former police officer has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting four counts of sexual activity with a 15-year-old boy.

Mark Brigham was serving with the Metropolitan Police when the incident took place in Portsmouth, in 2008.

The victim's family asked Brigham, a lesbian and gay liaison officer, for advice after their son came out as homosexual, the court heard.

You simply can't trust anyone these days, can you ?

Yes, It's Honour-Based Homophobia !

Allegedly. I'll let you be the judge.

A gay man accused of murdering his former lover by dousing him in petrol and setting him on fire has said his Muslim friend tried to frame him after finding out he was homosexual.

Nadim Kurrimbukus, 25, also known as Adam, denies setting fire to 23-year-old Charlie Davies outside his home in Templedene Avenue, Staines, at 11.20pm on June 14 last year. His co-accused Yusuf Dulloo, 27, said in a police interview he drove with Kurrimbukus to Mr Davies’ home on the same night and heard a scream after his friend had left the car, but he denied any knowledge of the attack.

But the following day they met at Hounslow train station where Kurrimbukus confessed to him that he “lit the guy”, Dulloo told detectives. Kurrimbukus, a former West Thames College and Isleworth and Syon School pupil, told Kingston Crown Court this week that his Muslim friend was lying to punish him after discovering he was gay.

Dressed smartly in a suit and tie and wearing glasses, he said: “In Islam you are not allowed to be gay. There’s such a thing as an honour killing. Dulloo’s lying as a punishment. He is trying to punish me after he found out about my sexuality.”

Hmm. I suppose it's worth a try.

(the late Charlie Davis)

More Torture In The Community

I suppose, unlike many other victims, they did at least survive.
Hounslow Council has won its appeal against a High Court ruling which awarded almost £100,000 in damages to a vulnerable couple who suffered physical and sexual abuse in their own flat by a gang of youths.

A top judge today ruled that despite the suffering the couple endured at the hands of four youths, Hounslow Council could not be blamed for what had happened.

At the initial High hearing last May, Judge Maddison said a lack of communication between council departments had led to the couple, who both have learning difficulties, being subjected to a weekend-long assault in late 2000.

The couple - referred to only as X and Y in court - were made to perform sex acts on each other, drink their own urine and eat the faeces of one of the gang members, who threatened to stab them if they did not comply.

The traumatic assaults were carried out at the couple’s council-owned flat, often witnessed by Y’s children, who are now in their teens.

A number of the assailants had been living in the flat for months before the attack after the couple tried to befriend them.

During last year’s hearing Judge Maddison said the council had acted "negligently" in its handling of the situation.

He said the council should have transferred the family to other housing and a social worker had written to the director of housing before the assault asking whether a "catastrophe" had to occur before it happened.

The couple were awarded £97,000 damages by the court.

However, the Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, today said the couple had made the mistake of being kind to the youths and overturned the ruling leaving the couple without a penny.

Hounslow Council today said it was pleased the judge had praised social worker Tajinder Hayre, who was responsible for the couple, ruling she was blameless in the incident.

A spokeswoman added: “This is an extremely sad case, and we have every sympathy for the claimants, who were subjected to an appalling ordeal.

"We are also pleased to note that the Court of Appeal praised the social worker involved for her 'impeccable behaviour'."

This "in the community" stuff is a godsend for councils. If the couple had been living in some local equivalent of Barnsley Hall, they would be unlikely to have had (presumably heavily state-subsidised) children, but if they'd been abused in the care of the local authority someone would be responsible for them. As it is, the highest courts in the land are telling them they're on their own :

A social worker had told police the vulnerable pair were being exploited, but was informed that no action could be taken unless the couple complained themselves.
The council employee had also called for the couple to be rehoused. Lawyers for the couple argued the social worker should have realised they were in danger and had them moved.

Hounslow Council took their case to the Appeal Court which ruled the council had no duty of care to the couple. Sir Anthony Clarke, who headed the appeal judges, said: "There is an important difference between a case where children assert that a duty of care is owed to them and a case like this where the claimants are adults living in the community, albeit vulnerable adults."

And what of their torturers ? The trial didn't seem to make the headlines - maybe there wasn't one. (Apparently three presumably anonymous 'youths' were sent down - more distressing details in this story)

As I said last time someone was tortured then murdered, a few months back :

I'm sure there were dark sides to the old "homes" and "loony-bins", where those who were once called 'simples' or 'naturals' often ended up (in the absence of devoted, fit and time-rich relatives). But there's little evidence of their inmates being tortured to death.

Doubtless the heartbreaking details will unfold in due course. If the past is any guide to the future, his torturers and killers will turn out to be well-known locally, "known to social services" and the law, and with habits including petty crime, assault and drug abuse. It's quite possible that at least one of them will be female.

Hmm ...

Photo : Harpymarx

What's the officer on the left thinking as he furtively eyeballs her bare midriff ?

And They Say The Law Has No Sense Of Humour ...


A man and a woman have been jailed over the death of an innocent shopper in a queue-jumping row in south London. Southwark Crown Court heard Antonette Richardson called Tony Virasami to a Sainsbury's store in Merton where he hit Kevin Tripp, a bystander who had nothing to do with the dispute. Father-of-one Mr Tripp, 57, from Colliers Wood, south-west London, died when the "almighty blow" caused him to fall and fracture his skull, causing bleeding on the brain.

Richardson was jailed for 18 months and ex-boyfriend Virasami received four years for manslaughter.
So far so bog-standard. They've been on remand since last June, so she'll walk free (halve the sentence and knock off I think another 18 days - one of Labour's prison-emptying ideas) and he'll do another year or so. Less than two years for killing a stranger in an utterly unprovoked attack.

It's this bit that gets me :

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said the sentences reflected the "shock and concern felt by the public at large".
Quite the comedian, isn't he ?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Deflation ?

Petrol's going up by 2p, having crept up from around 86p to 93p or so already this year, water rates by over 4%, council tax by 3% (and that's presented as a triumph of frugality). Food prices are rising, as is the price of everything we import.

It's a pity the protesters in London today will be the usual suspects - hideously white, hideously middle-class, hideously 'left', if you can call it that, hideously tax-funded.

I'm sure there are lots of Brits who will be going to work today but are just as cross with our glorious leaders, but with more reason.

"On a lighter note" ... how a bright and savvy programmer facilitated the sub-prime disaster by creating better software to facilitate the slicing and dicing of mortgages into bonds (there are other factors, of course).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just A Passing Thought

Back in 2004, at the last EU elections, a lot of people were cheesed off with both the government AND the main opposition parties. The BNP got 4.8% of the vote and UKIP got 16% - helped no end by a wealthy donor (was he a carpet millionaire ? I forget) who paid for an awful lot of billboards. I remember seeing them in Swindon as I negotiated the Magic Roundabout. My impression was that they made UKIP somehow look more electable. Big billboards = big party.

My gut feel is that a lot more people are cheesed off in 2009 - maybe 25% of the voters. But it must be said that despite their dozen seats and Mr Farage's magnificent demolition of El Gordo last week, UKIP haven't exactly set the Rhine on fire. As far as I knew, they didn't have a sugar daddy either, as they did in 2004. Where would the cheesed-off vote go this time ? Would it stay with UKIP, move to the BNP, or find some new party coming up on the rails ? Is Libertas the dark horse ? Didn't look likely - it looked as if the BNP might be the ones to benefit.

Enter a sugar-daddy.

The Conservative party says it is expelling one of its multi-millionaire donors after he gave £100,000 to UKIP. Spread-betting tycoon Stuart Wheeler said he had made the UKIP donation because he believed the Tories were too soft on European integration.

Mr Wheeler, an outspoken Eurosceptic, gave £5m to the Conservatives in 2001 and wanted to remain a party member. The Tories said he would be given 28 days to appeal against expulsion but Mr Wheeler said he had no plans to do so.

It's not long to the elections. I'm not a big conspiracy theorist - at least, not unless Mr Wheeler suddenly finds another half-million or more for election billboards, before rejoining the Tories in 2010 - but you do have to say it's most helpful for UKIP - and uncharacteristic, not to mention bad-mannered, of the Tories to expel a chap who's given them five million quid. Just saying.

New Polls - Brown's Ratings Improve

Harry Hutton on top form.

"The imprisonment and rape of his daughter may be taking a toll on Fritzl's approval ratings, particularly among women voters, the survey found. The Prime Minister scored higher than Fritzl on law and order and family values, though voters trusted Fritzl more to manage the economy.

Brown, who repeatedly raped the British economy during a horrific 12-year ordeal ..."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Laban Goes To College

It's the time of year when Britain's world-renowned universities open their doors to prospective students, and so Saturday found Laban heading for the "University of the East of Wales" (formerly Blackwood Miners Welfare), giving my son a lift to the Open Day. I had nothing else to do, so I thought I'd stroll the sacred groves and see how things had changed in the last thirty-five years.

The first change is that I wasn't the only parent on site - at least a third, maybe more than half of the prospective students were accompanied - in many cases by both Mum and Dad. That just didn't happen back in the day - you'd no more have wanted your parents on campus with you than your dentist. The generation war seems to have ended - at least as far as the middle classes are concerned. For that's the other thing that struck me as I sat in the cafeteria - how very middle-class the overwhelming majority of the prospective students seemed - far more so at this former Poly than at my Victorian red-brick alma mater. It does tend to reinforce the theory that the massive expansion of further education (and lowering of standards) has benefited the middle rather than the working classes - although of course it could be that middle-class youth just talk louder.

That's not to say that there's no radical counterculture anymore - although there isn't. The radical counterculture is now mainstream. The student newspaper points out that 'experimenting with drugs is, for many, an important and natural part of university life'. The 'Reclaim The Night' marches against male violence are now mixed-sex - it would have been a brave Yorkshireman in 1977 who attempted to join the women on the streets of Leeds.

(Although I did note that the legendary 'one in four women a victim of domestic violence' statistic is now apparently old-hat. According to Julie Bindel it's now one in two :

"In Britain, it is estimated that one in two women will experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking during their lifetime"

Whereas pretty much 100% of men really will experience physical assault - but let it pass.)

Where was I ? Ah yes. The 'one in four' stat now applies to rape, if the good students of the local Reclaim The Night march (three pages in the student paper) are correct :

My son went off to a little chat by his prospective lecturers, and left the cafeteria to darkness and to me. Why not fill a few unforgiving minutes by going along to one of these introductory chats ? After all, half the parents were accompanying their offspring to the lectures, and I could always claim to be a prospective student. I looked at the timetable of talks. Aha ! This should be good.

The head of Criminology at the University of the East of Wales turned out to be a shortish but hefty chap with a goatee, shaved head and a ring in each ear, dressed in a dark suit and black shirt - the deviant gangster effect being topped off with a pink tie. Obviously a man whose soul was in his work. The clicheometer was off the scale even before he opened his mouth - but he flattered to deceive, disappointingly sticking to listing the numbers of staff, students, and where the lectures were.

His sidekicks were a slightly camp chap in his thirties who specialised in 'Psycho-Social studies' and said 'it's about ..' a lot, and a strapping and self-assured redhead with a hard-to-place accent (Mancunian Irish ?) - between them they thankfully returned the clicheometer to full boost vertical - where it stayed for the rest of the lecture.

Psycho-Social started off, explaining to the prospective undergrads that the "common-sense solutions" to crime which might appear intuitively appealing needed to be replaced by a "sociological perspective". We had to, he said, go beyond common-sense solutions if we wanted to end poverty and racism. Nobody in his audience asked what that had to do with crime - we were sure we'd find out later (and we did). He listed the compulsory modules for the first year - 'Social Inequality' and 'Contemporary Critiques of Modern Society'. I'm pretty sure Peters Hitchens and Oborne won't feature in the latter. The general thrust was that views on crime and criminals in society at large were fairly simple - perhaps even naively so. But things were more complicated than that - a lot more. Why else would criminology be a subject you could study at university ? The good news was that you would become conversant with these complexities.

Ms Fit, resplendent in the sunshine flooding across the room (and slightly distracting Laban with the translucency - nay, almost transparency of her dress), took the floor. She spoke of 'offenders', of 'those involved in criminal acts' - and at this point I realised that the word 'criminal' had not once been spoken by these three criminologists. She reiterated that criminology 'also needs to challenge taken for granted or common sense views of crime, particularly those represented in the media'. The words ''Daily Mail" hung in the air. I breathed a silent prayer of "go on, say it !", but alas she resisted the temptation womanfully, moving on to 'the social forces and social divisions which influence which acts count as crimes'. Have you ever wondered, she asked, why white collar crime is not investigated by the Criminal Justice System ?

And so it went on. And on. I'll pass over 'factors such as unemployment, poverty ... coupled with interrelated divisions along the lines of gender and sexuality, 'race' (in quotes - because it doesn't exist) , age and economic inequalities'. I think you get the picture. I gathered that :

Year One is spent knocking those stupid 'common-sense' ideas out of you, and replacing them with 'the sociological perpective', in a slo-mo version of the first few days of an Exegesis course, or your first few months in the Army, where you drop the baggage you've brought with you, and embrace the culture of the group.

Year Two is spent discovering that prison is at once a tool of social control and an expensive way of making bad people worse - or it would be if they were bad people. On analysing the stats (you see, that's what criminologists do - look at real data), and discovering that 'incarcerated offenders' are statistically more likely to be poor and/or black, it is but a short step to the conclusion that they have been convicted because they are poor and/or black.

Year Three is spent analysing the Daily Mail, whose writers and readers have not done years 1 and 2, and bemoaning its influence.

I looked round the room at the eager young faces, all athirst for knowledge. Poor sods, I thought. Let's hope the social life makes up.

Psycho-Social took the floor again. What kind of job will a criminology degree get you ? Where do our graduates go ?

#1 - further study

#2 - social work, probation service, "community work" and other jobs in the criminal justice system

#3 - teaching

#4 - personnel (loads of 'social science' grads end up there. That's why you get asked your ethnic origin when you apply for a job)

A great wave of cognitive dissonance came over me. Both lecturers had said explicitly that they and their department were challenging 'society's' view of crime. Yet they were providing the social workers and probation officers of today and tomorrow. I got no inkling from their chat that the state-funded EEW criminology department was out on some left-wing limb - indeed rather the opposite - that theirs were the views of mainstream UK criminology (and have been IMHO for some thirty years).

Yet they were apparently the rebels, the iconoclasts - despite controlling the universities and great chunks of the criminal justice system . In their shoes, wouldn't you be tempted to wonder why, after years in which your views have completely dominated the education system, those views have so stubbornly refused to take root among the general population ?

Who and what was this 'society' and what power does it actually have ?

I came to the conclusions

a) people who've not done Criminology and/or read the Daily Mail

b) not a great deal