Thursday, February 24, 2011

Britain: A Criminal’s Paradise

« British prisons are becoming known for their cushy atmospheres, with prisoners receiving better care than average citizens.
(Getty Images)

The justice system becomes a protection racket for the criminal. By Craig Millar
In Britain, a boss discovered that an employee had written himself a check for £845 (us$1,365) from his business. He promptly marched the employee to a nearby police station bearing a sign saying “thief.”
The thief then turned around and sued his boss for “humiliating him.” He won—and the boss was forced to pay the employee £13,000 (us$21,000). Incredibly, the police had actually charged the boss with false imprisonment.
The boss, Simon Cremer, who runs a flooring business, said, “It’s absolutely disgusting that he was even able to sue me after he had stolen from me. I don’t want to give him a penny after what he did; it really sticks in my throat. He stole from me yet he is the one walking away with the money.”
The thief, Mark Gilbert, was let off with just a police caution.
Commenting on the above judgment, Express columnist and historian Leo McKinstry said (February 17; emphasis mine):
The machinery of the state seems to have become a giant protection racket for the criminal classes while the law-abiding public is neglected or punished. … In the eyes of the state, infringing the so-called rights of criminals is regarded as a far more serious offense than a real crime of theft or fraud. …

The whole sorry episode could serve as a metaphor for what has gone so badly wrong in our legal system. The thief ends up richer while the victim is hammered. No society with any moral self-confidence would tolerate this sort of nonsense for a moment. But the case clearly shows why criminals feel they can act with impunity, knowing that the state is too supine to challenge them. So burglars, shoplifters, illegal immigrants, benefit cheats, drug addicts and squatters can cause mayhem and misery without ever having to face any real consequences for their actions. Indeed in many cases—such as Gilbert’s—they will actually be rewarded.
This case is just another grim example of modern life in a country, once a bastion of the rule of law, that has seen the law turned upside down.
If a burglar attacks you in your own home and you defend yourself, you are liable to be sued. Last week we learned that a burglar who had smashed his way into a man’s home with an iron bar was allowed to sue his victims, a couple relaxing at home with their 2-month-old baby who only sought to defend themselves and property from the thief. Also, if you pick up a knife in defense, the police consider that you have wielded an “offensive weapon,” in your own home!
The crime-friendly weakness of Britain’s justice system was starkly revealed in figures released by the Ministry of Justice last September. The figures showed that, out of 10,000 burglars who were convicted and sent to prison in a 12-month period, not a single one received the maximum jail term!
The ministry report also disclosed that, of the nearly 80,000 total criminals jailed in 2008, only 621—less than 1 percent—were given the maximum sentence.
In fact, British people suffer from more than 26,000 crimes per day, around 9.6 million crimes per year. According to the British Crime Survey of 2008 conducted by the official Office for National Statistics, 22 percent of people in Britain will be a victim of crime during the course of a single year.
Not only that. Soft, cushy jail conditions create a revolving door for offenders, six in ten of whom are back in jail within a year!
Just how luxurious jail conditions have become was described in the Telegraph thus: “Inmates at a top security prison recently told [Justice Secretary Jack] Straw that conditions there were like a ‘holiday camp.’
“‘Prisoners receive a wage for being in prison, they receive a bed, a tv in all cells, Sky television in most areas for recreational use, free telephones, breakfast in bed on many occasions, cash bonuses for good behavior,’ said [the assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association, Glyn] Travis. ‘And prison staff are forced to deal with them in such a subservient way.’”