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Moral Idiocy and Human Rights


Clear good sense on human rights and the Chiandamo affair in the Daily Telegraph of all places. (My own earlier take is here). Thanks to Tim Worstall for the link.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. jailhouselawyer

    I am flattered that Sam Leith has “plagiarized” from my blog to add to his article. However, my ego is somewhat dented by this Mainstream Media attention because I had assumed that those of us in the blogosphere wrote non MSM material…

  2. contact


    Which bit is plagiarized? I can certainly see similarities, but then I could see similarities in the article with some of the points I made a few days earlier.

    I think that at times like this, the mainstream will use/quote blogs to say the things they don’t want to put in their own bylines.

    But you have reminded me that I meant to add some links to your coverage (and then forgot). Apologies – links added.

  3. jailhouselawyer

    Notice I put in the quotes rather than make a direct accusation just in case it was a case of great minds think a like. But, my blog does get visits from the MSM. This is one of them that I would question “”What about the rights of Mrs Lawrence or the victim?” Well, what about them?”. And, ” It’s frequently unclear whether it’s Philip Lawrence’s, or Frances Lawrence’s, rights that are “coming second” to Chindamo’s. But in either case – rhetorically effective in a crude way though it may be – this is a false opposition.

    “To be bald, the victims of murderers do not have human rights, on account of being dead. The bereaved relatives of those victims do have human rights. They have exactly the same human rights – like it or not – as the murderers”.

    And mine:”Bring in the quotes from more knee-jerkers: Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said it was a “ludicrous decision”. Why?

    He added: “The fact that he may be paroled and back on our the streets as early as next year is in itself disgusting”. Why? “What about the human rights of Philip Lawrence, robbed of his life by a thoughtless knife attack or the human rights of Mr Lawrence’s wife and children, deprived of a loving husband and father”. Dead people don’t have human rights”.

    I know my thinking, and my words, and that they were based upon legal study. Most people do not realise that prisoners are victims, but in my ECtHR case for prisoners votes, the Court used the term that I was a victim. And, this comes from the HRA 1998 whereby somebody is a victim of a public authority.

    Sometimes people read things and it begins to form their thinking and they write something and believe it is original. With a journalist, he or she should know the source of their material and cite it. My Aspergers Syndrome gives me attention to detail. I recall where I have read things before, and conversations verbatim from 20 years ago. It came in handy when I went into court and the Treasury Solicitor would try to pull the wool over the judge’s eyes with some statement. I would dive into the bundle and pull out a counter and pass it to my barrister. It earned me the nickname the Pain In The Arse (PITA).

    Being a Yorkshireman, I am also blunt. One of the things I remember was that you could not libel the dead. By the same token, you have to be alive to benefit from human rights. Most people go on about the rights of the victims of crime, and the politicians re-balancing them in their favour. But, it is taken out of their hands so justice can be done dispassionately. I just wish that the gutter press and knee-jerking politicians would just let the judges get on with it. Because, whenever the Executive overreacts it has a knock on effect with the Parole Board and less prisoners obtain parole because the Parole Board is sensitive to criticisms and ends up erring too far on the side of caution which means that prisoners receive injustice.

    In short, if they are pinching my stuff I expect a hat-tip which I give other bloggers or the MSM if I use their stuff.

    I noticed the added links, cheers.

  4. contact

    OK. Personally, I’d be more inclined to go with ‘great minds’on this occasion. Some of my points from 22/8 – being deported to Italy as apparently a punishment, risk to Italian public as acceptable, the idiocy of ‘rights only for decent people’ and others, also cropped up in the article.

    But surely these and your examples are something that anyone who knows a bit about the HRA and had taken a clear look at the situation and the reporting of it could have come up with? You and I said some pretty similar things, but I hadn’t read your posts when I wrote and I’m pretty certain you hadn’t read mine.

    Having said that, blogs do get ripped off quite often without attribution, true enough.

  5. Lysa

    David Cameron and the rest need to cut out the flip-flopping. You can’t support a issue because it works in your favor and seek to discard it when it doesn’t.

    But such is life in this realistic world, isn’t it? It is about what can further our cause. The rule of law should not be perverse not subject to man’s whim and fancy. If HR exists for the victims of a crime, it also exists for the perpretrator.
    Both Lawrence and Chindamo have rights and the need to find a balanced approach to preserving those rights is key.

  6. contact

    To be fair to Cameron, he hasn’t actually flip-flopped on the HRA. He just keeps making promises that he knows (or certainly ought to know) he will be unable to fulfill if he ever becomes PM – thus he is either an idiot or lying.

    The issue of whose human rights are at issue here isn’t necessarily a balancing act – Chindamo’s human rights might be at issue, yes, but Philip Lawrence is dead – so no human rights – and Frances Lawrence’s human rights don’t cover this situation, as her human rights are not being abused by the state (although I’m sure some would want to argue otherwise).


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