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This topic contains 45 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by The VFM Addict 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #33733

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps

    Boris Johnson Charged with Criminal offence of Misconduct in Public Office!

    I wish I had known about this, I would have happily contributed a couple of quid to the crowd funding of his prosecution. Unfortunately I fear that he will wriggle out of jail as he will probably make a case of it being mere political dissembling and hyperbole just like TBLiar.

    That said I really hope a legal precedent is set to discourage future politicians from the same offence.

Viewing 5 replies - 41 through 45 (of 45 total)
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  • #34000

    dwynnehugh
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    @dwynnehugh
    Forumite Points: 1,393

    Whilst our legal system and the laws themselves are far from perfect, I would ask which country has such perfection – NONE.  It’s a case of ‘the best we can with what we’ve got’.  All of our legal system is based on the old Common Law system and from memory the oldest Act which we used when I was in the police was the Justice of the Peace Act, 1361 where offenders could be ‘bound over’ to be of good behaviour – now superseded by various other, more modern Acts to prevent rowdy behaviour etc. etc. But all initially based on Common Law. Even today MURDER is charged under Common Law.

    Our legal system has been for 100s of years a developing system whereby new laws are introduced to replace more outdated laws or where new laws are introduced to accommodate changing times, people and the new offences they can commit. As mobile phones have only recently become a problem whilst driving – legislation to prevent same was not a requirement in the 1970s etc. etc. Serious injuries – grievous bodily harm with or without intent S20 or S18 are still charged under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, though the ‘old common assault’ aspect of that legislation has been updated many years ago.

    The law may not be perfect and it will not / cannot accommodate each and every possibility / combinations of possible breaches thereof – it’s FAR better that what many other countries have and our legal system has been used as a basis for legal systems in very many other countries over the years.

    The law is complex – even day to day criminal matters – in 1968 the Theft Act was introduced which replaced the 1916 Larceny Act I believe. Great. However just around this time self-service petrol stations were becoming more frequent – Bill drove in, filled up and drove off – he made off without payment – not theft by the 68 Act because there was an implied permission in the SELF-service petrol station that you could have petrol and then paid. Eventually legislation caught up with this new problem with the introduction of the Theft Act 1978 which was designed to cover such eventualities and also included ‘having a meal in a restaurant and leaving by the toilet window’. Law can never catch up with present day problems and older legislation sometimes has to be used (stretched?) to accommodate offences never envisaged by law makers at the time of making the original.

    The more you meet people the more you understand why Noah took animals instead of humans

    #34018

    The VFM Addict
    Participant
    @thevfmaddict
    Forumite Points: 1,711

    Yep you are spot on about the 1968 Theft Act replacing the 1916 Larceny Act.   Much of the most all encompassing case law we have today still resides in rulings under the Larceny Act.    Before 1968 there was on the statute books no specific offence of Blackmail.  Instead it was tried under the 1916 Larceny Act as demanding money with menaces.    Even to this day a 1937 case of blackmail in 1937 tried that way (Thorne v Motor Trade Association, yep not R v MTA) remains the leading case law on what constitutes a threat or menace when used to reinforce a demand.   Basically, since Thorne v MTA anything the threatener knows would be detrimental to or unpleasant to the person addressed does.   So for example if I know you have a fear of buttons and write you a letter saying that I will send you an envelope full of them unless you pay me £200 then that’s enough to support either a Section 1(1)(a)(ii) offence under the Malicious Communications Act or a conviction for Blackmail under the 1968 Theft Act.  However, in respect of either prosecution the case would rely on the 1937 Larceny Act Thorne v MTA definition of what constitutes a threat and/or menace to identify that a declaration of intent to send buttons constituted a threat or menace.

    The political thrust and judicial thrust coming from the likes of the Law Commission, is to increasingly codify common law offences in new statutes.  There was a Law Commission paper on codifying Misconduct in Public Office a couple of years back but as yet it has still resulted in no new statute nor incorporation of MIPO in any broad encompassing legislation.   But even if it did its unlikely to change the scope of the offence as defined by the decision of the Court of Appeal in Attorney General’s Reference No 3 of 2003 [2004] EWCA Crim 868.   Which is that the offence is committed when:

    • a public officer acting as such;
    • wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself;
    • to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder;
    • without reasonable excuse or justification.

    Proving the fact of the offence is often difficult to do but even when that is possible or even easy;  demonstrating that the offence warrants the huge costs of a jury trial means arguing that prosecution is really in the public interest becomes the main stumbling block.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    Here's hoping the Mad Tangerine of the West and the Mad Monk of the East stay friends or we're all in trouble

    #34022

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 4,581

    VFM wrote:

    So for example if I know you have a fear of buttons and write you a letter saying that I will send you an envelope full of them unless you pay me £200 then that’s enough to support either a Section 1(1)(a)(ii) offence under the Malicious Communications Act or a conviction for Blackmail under the 1968 Theft Act.

    Can I bring a Private Prosecution against my neighbour 2 doors down, who grows Lavender? I told him I hate Lavender, because it recalls the Lavender sachet my violently abusive mother used. Made no difference: the Lavender still grows. Don’t want to take my strimmer to it because. 1 – the smell would probably make me pass out. 2 – I would be liable for Criminal Damage. 3 – he would probably stop helping me with weeding the front garden. 4- he is well over 6 feet tall, built like a brick wossname and about 15 years younger than me.

    Wonder how much compensation I’ll get?

    If it’s the Psychic Network why do they need a phone number?

    What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.

    If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.
    --- Robin Williams

    #34024

    dwynnehugh
    Participant
    @dwynnehugh
    Forumite Points: 1,393

    Bob – of course you can bring a private prosecution (PP) – whether the offence of blackmail is made out I have doubts personally, however be prepared that such PPs can always be ended by the CPS.

    The real tragedy of this posting is the way some people use legislation to their own ends when in reality, the legislators never intended same to be used in that manner.  I accept that this was only an example so no criticism levelled.

    The more you meet people the more you understand why Noah took animals instead of humans

    #34028

    The VFM Addict
    Participant
    @thevfmaddict
    Forumite Points: 1,711

    I agree.   That’s why the CPS can take over and end a PP.

    I was more trying to make the point that even where two prosecutions are equally viable upon the evidence one must always think of the public interest in pursuing such.    In the example I gave the CPS would probably take over and end a Blackmail prosecution due to the costs to the public purse of  jury trial.   Don’t over egg the pudding, so to speak.   Whereas the CPS would probably allow the MalCom prosecution to proceed as it is triable only in a Magistrates Court and with the threat being clear (i.e. fulfilling s.1(1)(a)(ii)) and the demand and threat not being such as for the defence at s.2 to ever succeed conviction would be close to certain to result.    And rightly so because to issue such a threat would be a MalCom in all senses of the term Malicious.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    Here's hoping the Mad Tangerine of the West and the Mad Monk of the East stay friends or we're all in trouble

Viewing 5 replies - 41 through 45 (of 45 total)

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