Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #FakeLaw

Most recents (14)

“Violent protestors to be jailed within 24 hours.”

Oh dear. Populist silliness and #FakeLaw from a Justice Secretary who should know better, and a Home Secretary who just doesn’t.

Here’s why: [SHORT THREAD]
1. Not all people charged with offences arising out of protests will plead guilty. Some will elect trials in the magistrates’ court, which will take months to come round.

Some alleged offences will be tried in the Crown Court, where there is a trial backlog of at least a year.
2. Of those who plead guilty, a number will be young and have no previous convictions. Courts will be expected to obtain Pre-Sentence Reports from the Probation Service (or Youth Offending Team for under-18s) before sentencing. Due to current pressures, this will take time.
Read 8 tweets
.@pritipatel is either making up sentencing laws, or has hopelessly misunderstood how the existing law works.

As Danny says, there is no minimum sentence for the offence of assaulting an emergency worker.

#FakeLaw
Here’s the video of @pritipatel pledging to double a minimum sentence *that does not exist*.

metro.co.uk/video/priti-pa…
The most charitable interpretation of this fiasco is that the Home Secretary, reading from a prepared document having supposedly been fully briefed, confused the words “maximum” and “minimum”. Which, in criminal law, is about as forgivable as confusing “guilty” and “not guilty”.
Read 5 tweets
More #FakeLaw from @pritipatel. She is *not* going to “double the sentences” - Parliament is likely to double the *maximum* sentence available for such assaults.

This is a very different thing.

Either she doesn’t know that, and she should. Or she does, and she is lying.
The sentence to be passed in individual cases will be guided by the Sentencing Guidelines, which will likely be revised to reflect the new maximum sentence. Sentencing Guidelines are published by the independent Sentencing Council, not dictated by the Home Secretary.
So while it is right to say that longer sentences of imprisonment will be available to courts dealing with such offenders, that does not mean that every sentence passed will be double what it would have been before.

Sentences will be longer in most cases, but not doubled.
Read 3 tweets
Gutter journalism. #FakeLaw.

1. This man was not “handed” £2.5m. This is a lie. That was the overall cost of legal aid in long-running serious criminal proceedings. This is like saying someone who receives a NHS heart transplant is “given” the cost of the operation.
2. Readers are invited to conclude that £2.5m is too much to spend on this case. The journalist has not bothered to tell you any of the context that you would need to even *begin* to assess whether that cost is too high, too low, or about right. Such as...
3. How much of that figure includes VAT, which goes to the Treasury? How many lawyers & support staff worked on the case? What work was involved? How many hours, days, months went into this extremely serious case where the defendant was looking at a potential life sentence?
Read 15 tweets
Your regular reminder that an acquittal in a criminal trial does NOT automatically mean:

1) A complainant was lying;
2) The prosecution was wrong to bring the case to court.

A working criminal trial process will have acquittals. We’d be worried if it didn’t.

#FakeLaw
That is not a comment on this individual case. I did not hear the evidence and am in no position to say whether the verdicts were right or wrong, or whether there was merit or not in bringing a prosecution.

But neither are many people offering strong views on Twitter.
As it happens, [PIVOTS GRACELESSLY] this very fallacy is the subject of a chapter in my new book. It’s called #FakeLaw, and if you’re looking for ways to fill the months of isolation ahead, you can preorder below (or from lovely independent bookstores):
Read 3 tweets
Gutter journalism. #FakeLaw.

1. This man was not “handed £400k”. This is a lie. That was the overall cost of legal aid in his criminal and immigration proceedings. This is like saying someone who receives a NHS heart transplant is “given” the cost of the operation.
2. Readers are invited to conclude that £400k is too much to spend on this case. The journalist has not bothered to tell you any of the context that you would need to even *begin* to assess whether that cost is too high, too low, or about right. Such as...
3. How much of that figure includes VAT, which goes to the Treasury? How many lawyers & support staff worked on the case? What work was involved? How many hours, days, months went into this extremely serious case where the defendant was looking at a potential life sentence?
Read 11 tweets
Lots of vox pops today of people being interviewed by journalists and “hilariously” getting the law wrong.

The reason they are confused is because journalism as an industry has for years spectacularly failed to challenge and correct the #FakeLaw lies those people have been fed.
Yes, it’s depressing to hear people parrot nonsense about “EU human rights” and “our law being made in Germany” - but you know who’s responsible for giving that nonsense airtime and not successfully challenging the politicians & media pushing it? Clue: it’s not the vox poppers.
Public legal education in our country has for decades been non-existent. It is a scandal that poses a serious danger to our national conversation, the state of our justice system and ultimately the rule of law.

Blame those who have deliberately tried to keep us in the dark.
Read 3 tweets
This “crackdown on soft justice” will affect a tiny % of offenders, *not* all, or even most, violent offenders.

Meanwhile, a new report published today by @westerncircuit shows that victims are having to wait TWO YEARS for trials.

[THREAD]
I’ve tweeted about the new sentencing policy before, below. It doesn’t apply to the most dangerous offenders at all (#FakeLaw alert), has no evidence base behind it and will cost £100m.

But let’s look for now at the claim that it “puts victims first”.
Today’s report from the @westerncircuit shows that due to police cuts, changes to bail rules and @MoJGovUK cuts to court sitting days (the number of days courtrooms are allowed to open), the average time taken for cases to conclude has rocketed over the last 10 years:
Read 8 tweets
Good lord. What a ridiculous piece. Apparently Keir Starmer was a judge while he was Director of Public Prosecutions.

How does this #FakeLaw get past a subeditor?
Also today I’ve learned that the DPP has the power to set prison sentences. Who knew?
Quite how the Code for Crown Prosecutors can be said to “lean towards protecting the British state” is also an intriguing mystery.
Read 6 tweets
Gutter journalism. #FakeLaw from beginning to end.

1. Khan was not “given £350,000”. This is a lie. That was the overall cost of legal aid in his criminal proceedings in 2012. This is like saying someone who receives a NHS heart transplant is “given” the cost of the operation.
2. Readers are invited to conclude that £350,000 is too much to spend on this case. The journalist has not bothered to tell you any of the context that you would need to even *begin* to assess whether that cost is too high, too low, or about right. Such as...
3. How much of that figure includes VAT, which goes to the Treasury? How many lawyers & support staff worked on the case? What work was involved? How many hours, days, months went into this extremely serious case where the defendants were looking at potential life sentences?
Read 10 tweets
Several people have asked about this news report and are understandably concerned.

I’ll try to do something on it later, but what is immediately clear is that this report is lacking critical information, and appears designed to enrage rather than inform. mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/b…
For one, if a youth pleads guilty in the Youth Court and has no previous convictions, the court’s powers are strictly limited in law. This is because the principal aim of youth justice is (as set out in statute) to prevent reoffending, in contrast to the adult system.
As ever, the absence of detail means it is difficult to offer an informed opinion on whether the sentence is “right”, but I’ll try to shed some light on what might have happened and what the law says later today.
Read 28 tweets
Today, @BorisJohnson has again declared that he is going to be “tough on serious crime”. By which he means he will make prison sentences a bit longer.

FWIW, I’d suggest that any politician who really cared about improving criminal justice might start with the following. [THREAD]
1. Replace the 21,000 police officers cut since 2010, and recruit sufficient additional officers to investigate the sharp rise in violent crime.

bbc.co.uk/news/uk-469845…
2. Resource digital forensic investigation units so that it does not take over 12 months to examine a mobile phone or computer, which causes enormous delays before files can even be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision. policeprofessional.com/news/forensic-…
Read 21 tweets
I understand that @RobertJenrick has been on Question Time tonight peddling the #FakeLaw myth that we spend more on legal aid than any other country.

This was a lie when his party said it in 2010. It remains a lie today. I can lend Robert a book explaining this if it helps.
For the benefit of @RobertJenrick, here is a free explanation of why parroting “We have the most expensive legal aid system in Europe/the world/the universe” is palpable bullshit. If he has any integrity, Robert should apologise for misleading the electorate. [1/2]
...and part [2/2].
Read 3 tweets
The “most serious violent and sexual offenders” are already not automatically released at the halfway stage of their sentences.

They receive “Extended Determinate Sentences”, where they serve a minimum of 2/3 of their sentence and stay in prison until safe to release.

#FakeLaw
This new policy will affect only a handful of prisoners, but will cost over £100m a year.

That is money that could make a huge difference to the chronically underresourced Crown Prosecution Service, or that could be used to keep courtrooms open.
As I wrote in my book, I have no objection to dangerous offenders who commit serious crimes serving long sentences. There is also a real problem with public understanding of and faith in the system, caused by eg automatic early release and political presentation of sentencing.
Read 6 tweets

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