The Samovar

Aaargh! What do you say?
November 10, 2007, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Politics

Someone just posted this on a web forum I follow:

Just recently a convicted serial rapist was stopped from being sent back to his own country after serving his prison term as it would breach his right to a family life under the Human Rights Act as decided by the Judge involved.
A victim of one of the rapists many rapes was clearly upset and went on TV and said what about the right of the victims to a family life as the rapist had damaged many families?
Now normally one would imagine judges and lawyers who are involved in cases aren’t liable to be sued if someone who they defend/let off harms someone after but since the Human Rights Act is now often seen as the Human Wrongs Act as only seems to protect criminals and the circumstances have now changed so much in favour of rapists, etc should lawers and judges now be liable if say the serial rapist rapes again in this country?

What the hell do you say in response to something like that? I rather unhelpfully fired off an angry, sarcastic and slightly abusive response. Obviously that’s what NOT to do. But what can you say to a question like that? Suggestions?



I wish I had an answer.

In fact, cases such as these have little to do with The Human Rights Act. Usually they’re to do with treaty obligations and rsidence law. And let’s leave aside the obvious fact that exporting a rapist does not stop him from raping, merely from raping someone in one’s own country.

There is a blatant campaign against the HRA. As you’ll have seen on another site, I’m willing to defend this groundbreaking piece of legislation against allcomers. If any of its knockers were to actually read it, they’d see that there is nothing whatsoever objectionable about it. Yet it’s portrayed as an insidious attempt by Brussels to stop the stout, heterosexual yeoman of Olde England from smoking up ladders while eating curved bananas weighed out in bushels and furlongs. Gawd bless you, Ma’am. You’d also get the impression that there has been a slew of HRA cases making stupid decisions while lining lawyers’ pockets. Yet I’ve not found anyone who can give me a single example of its negative impact. (Maybe I should offer The Bonobo Prize – a curved banana for each example?).

I try not be be a conspiracy theorist, but it seems to me that it wouldn’t be so hard to derrogate from a piece of legislation that’s been so thoroughly trashed. The negative publicity should worry us. Pakistani lawyers have been rightly worried by the suspension of their constitution. The HRA enshrines liberties so absolutely basic that we should be very worried, very worried indeed, by any government that would even contemplate their removal.

Comment by Edward the Bonobo

The trouble is that the problem is not really with this person’s view of the HRA, but much more fundamental than that. It’s a whole way of looking at the world. She also said in the same thread that if the rapist was willing to have his genitals removed she wouldn’t mind him staying in the country.

Comment by Dan | thesamovar

The liberal left can be their own worst enemies, though.

Last week I was at my second phase of Children’s Panel training. A follow up after our first couple of months’ service. There was one woman – I’d not met her before – who I’m sure thought I must be a complete fascist. I’m not. I’m a hard-nosed, realistic, left winger. I thought she was a naive liberal drip.

Anyway…the topic was how to raise sensitive issues. Someone asked what we’d do if a parent turned up smelling of alcohol. Some people suggested that they might have been drinking the night before. But how would we know?

‘I’d ask,’ I said.
‘Oooh, no,’ she said. ‘That’s getting into a dangerous area. It’s an infringement of their human rights!’

No it ain’t. Compulsory blood tests might infringe privacy (Section 8 of the HRA). So might covert sampling of their sewage system. A question is just a question. There is no compulsion to answer, honestly or otherwise.

It’s interesting, though. In this (unpaid) job, one finds oneself constantly guided by the HRA.

Comment by Edward the Bonobo

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