Some months ago I was referred by a reader to this very short address to camera by Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Britain. I watched it, formed my personal opinion, but was unable to see how it could be relevant to this blog.
Then came the speech by Andrew Norfolk, featured on this blog last week. Suddenly Ms Saunders’ announcement gained an alarming relevance.
The first sentence expresses an opinion which almost seems to suggest that parliament, in addition to charging her with the mechanics of prosecution, has granted her the authority also to operate on her personal tastes. I hope I’m wrong.
Her second sentence boasts 83% success in prosecutions. That equals a 17% failure rate.
What is a hate crime? The official Metropolitan Police site has a definition. It includes these two immortal sentences –
Though what the perpetrator has done may not be against the law, their reasons for doing it are. This means it may be possible to charge them with an offence.
We are looking at thought crime. We are looking at officialdom being able to make up law on the hoof.
Harking back again to Andrew Norfolk’s speech, I recall reading anecdotal accounts (I am in no position to check), of a father who tried to recover his under-age daughter from the clutches of a grooming gang, and police arrived to arrest him. Was he charged with a hate crime? On the above definition he could have been. I actually find myself having sympathy here for the police officers whose bosses have u-turned them from what they know to be right.
Suppose you played a new game, one which allowed you but not your opponent to change any or all rules as you wished, and you still lost 17% of the time. Some might say that not only was it a bad game but that you were not very good at it.