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Corroboration in Scottish law with Lord McCluskey [idea][comp][thumb]

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Better a guilty man goes free than an innocent man goes to prison...[sneaky]
"Better to die on your feet than live on your knees"

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glasgow copsMany of our groups lives have been irreparably damaged by the thugs running Scotland's legal system and who have been getting away with 'MURDER' for years. MASONIC JUDGES,LAWYERS AND COPS BEHIND THE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND TYRANNY!!!!!!! But now a licence for dodgy lawyers to screw the legal aid system even more. 

‘Panic‘ as thousands of criminals may be freed after being quizzed without lawyer 

Thousands of criminals could be freed from jail because they were interviewed by police without a lawyer, it was claimed last night, as ministers and prosecutors braced themselves for a devastating defeat over human rights. Legal sources warned a looming UK Supreme Court ruling on suspects’ rights could tip the country’s justice system into “meltdown”, send legal aid bills soaring and require emergency legislation after the Crown Office activated contingency measures to minimise the impact of losing a test case. Labour last night urged Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to make a statement at Holyrood on the impact of the case. Since 1984, suspects in England and Wales have been granted immediate access to a solicitor while being interviewed by police. But under Scots law, a person suspected of an imprisonable offence can be questioned without a lawyer for up to six hours. 

A Supreme Court decision, due in October, on an appeal brought by Peter Cadder – who was convicted at Glasgow Sheriff Court of two assaults and breach of the peace on interview evidence – will determine if the Scottish system breaches the right to a fair trial. If the Court rules that it does, it opens the door to thousands of appeals against past convictions. It was revealed yesterday in our sister title The Herald that Elish Angiolini, the Lord Advocate, who argued against a change at the Supreme Court, has told police chiefs to allow suspects immediate access to lawyers ahead of the Court’s ruling in October. The contingency measure was seen as a tacit admission by the head of the Crown Office that she is likely to lose the Cadder case. One senior legal source claimed the Crown Office was in a “panic” over the implications. It is understood civil servants are now preparing for possible emergency legislation at Holyrood and Westminster. 

If the Supreme Court goes against the Lord Advocate, the critical factor will be whether its ruling is retrospective, leading to old cases being reopened, or prospective, meaning it would only apply to future cases. A prospective judgment is unusual in a human rights case. Cadder’s appeal drew on a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in 2008, which said Turkish anti-terrorist police illegally denied a young protestor, Yusuf Salduz, legal assistance. The implication was that access to a lawyer was a fundamental right. Supreme Court insiders said Angiolini was counting on a recent appeal court ruling by seven Scottish judges that the Salduz case did not apply to Scotland. 

However, the Supreme Court judges dismissed the Scottish example and asked Angiolini about possible emergency legislation for Scotland. Human rights lawyer John Scott said: “The Crown approached Cadder without a plan B. This is not a new issue. Scotland has sleepwalked into this.” The Supreme Court could issue a retrospective decision applying to all cases dating back to the start of devolution in 1999. Another option would be to backdate the change to the Salduz ruling in 2008. 

Paul McBride QC said: “A decision against the Crown, especially if it is retrospective, could put hundreds if not thousands of convictions at risk, including some of the most serious cases.” But human rights solicitor Tony Kelly, who helped prisoners win compensation for slopping out, dismissed predictions of a meltdown, as only a fraction of appeals would succeed: “There’s a potential for disruption, but there are also a lot of procedural hurdles.” Labour’s justice spokesman Richard Baker said: “It’s essential that Kenny MacAskill ensures that robust contingency plans are in place. He needs to tell Parliament about those plans as a matter of urgency.” 

Conservative MSP John Lamont said if the court ruling was retrospective, Tory MSPs would help pass any emergency legislation needed. Martha Rafferty, a criminal defence lawyer with Anthony Mahon in Glasgow, said: “If the decision goes against the Crown it’s going to have ramifications for the whole criminal justice system. It will completely change the nature of inquiries made by the police.” Crown sources denied the prosecution service was in a panic or ill-prepared. 

A government spokesperson said ministers, the Crown Office, legal aid board and police had been working on contingency plans for a year. Austin Lafferty, solicitor and member of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “On one analysis it should be a fundamental right of any arrested person to have legal advice. “The problems are in two areas. Firstly, for new cases we need to know if there is going to be legal aid provision that properly funds the additional lawyer attend ance at police stations; secondly, is the right to solicitor attendance going to be retrospective? “Even if there are not wholesale acquittals … enough convicted persons considering and starting proceedings will create a very expensive logjam in the system.” 


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A Short, Sharp, Shock! Part 1\3

A Short, Sharp, Shock!

A memoir by Steve Bale

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-title image

In trouble with the law from aged 9, a thieving newspaper boy pushes his luck with one too many scams and ends up in a detention centre in 1976, aged just 15 ,one of the youngest prisoners in the place, and being a wimp, he looks set to do hard time.

May not be suitable for children under the age of 13.

In the following true story, some names and places may have been changed, and some incidents may have been left out, or marginalised, for legal reasons.

You can watch the video or read the text of this story here, or download the .PDF of the whole story for reading off-line, whichever you prefer. 

This web version has the latest edits, so may differ slightly in places.

Total reading time is approximately 35-40 minutes.




Part One

1974, Waltham Abbey, Essex, England.

I’m 14 years old. I had been doing early-morning newspaper deliveries for a few years now.  Getting up at 5.30 AM seven days a week, doing a two-hour paper round before bunking off school was fine by me, especially as I was making bits of money stealing stuff all over the place.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-getting-up-early

A typical morning for me at the time involved collecting my newspapers at the newsagents, where the poor overworked guy marking the papers into rounds, trying to serve customers and sending us out on our paper-rounds was too busy to notice most of us paperboys chucking stuff into our newspaper bags from off the shelves.

We would steal anything we could get our hands on, sweets, cigarettes, and even records.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-newsagents

Then it was off to deliver the papers, usually on a knackered out old push-bike.  I learnt to keep a sharp eye on the pavement, especially at weekends, for dropped money, cigarettes, wallets, purses, handbags, lighters etc. that the previous night’s revellers had dropped or lost.  As we were often the first out onto the streets in the morning we found loads of interesting stuff.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-paperboy-on-bike

Another occasional bonus was when a shop window or door was broken or kicked in.  A lot of shops had no alarms in my little town at the time, so it was not unusual to find one broken into once or twice a year and I was not shy of nipping into a shop and helping myself to some goodies, if it was possible.

For example, one day I found a chemist’s front window completely shattered. I filled my paper-bag with perfumes and aftershaves, I didn’t even have to get off my bicycle. I sold them the next time I went to school.

There were a few other scams, I can’t talk about most of them, but I can tell you about one that I got caught at.

Please be aware I am not proud of the illegal things I did. I didn’t plan on most of it. Most of the things I did at the time just seemed to come “natural” to me.

Although our family did not have much, we were not so poor that I didn’t eat or go without basics, we were OK really, so I don’t have that excuse. I was just a thieving little git. It’s still a complete mystery to me why I was such a natural prolific petty thief, it’s not as if I had come from a family of thieves or anything.

I can’t even blame my gambling addiction at this point, as I had no viable places to gamble in those days, even when I did have money,  so it wasn’t that.

I couldn’t get into the bookies or the pub because of my age, and the nearest fruit machine arcade was in Edmonton Green, a long bus ride away, and too dangerous a place for a 14-year-old on his own, with money in his pocket.

But I digress, back to the scam.

One scam I always looked forward to was “Milk bill Saturdays”, as long as I was ahead of the milkman I could make some hard cash. In those days, people were still trusting enough to put the money for their weekly (sometimes monthly) milk bill in an envelope and stick it into the neck of an empty milk bottle on their doorstep. I know, it sounds incredible nowadays.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-milk-bottles

I’m ashamed to say that I had absolutely no qualms about nicking any and all milk-money I could get my hands on, on my paper round, and off it. Sometimes I would even cycle miles out to find more milk bills if I was really skint.

This went on for at least a year. I was actually surprised I had never got caught, but of course, anyone dumb enough and greedy enough not to stop will eventually get their collar felt, and sure enough, that is what happened.

The place I got caught at was in a small three-storey block of flats. I only had one paper to deliver in the block, on the third floor.

Of course, I checked all three floors for goodies on the way up and this block usually had a milk bill. I found one and swiped the envelope from the bottle, put it in my newspaper bag, walked down a floor, where I tore it open to reveal a single five-pound note, not bad.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-old-fiver

Now don’t ask me why, but I took the fiver and put it down my sock, there and then. Maybe I always did that, I can’t remember, but that’s what happened. Anyway, as I left the block of flats two policemen appeared from nowhere, they had staked me out and set me up. Not exactly Hill Street Blues was it? But effective nevertheless.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-3-storey-flats

They stopped me, and then one of them went up to the doorstep to make sure the fiver had been taken while his mate questioned me. When the copper returned to confirm the fiver had been stolen they asked me if I had nicked it? I said no, so they started searching me.

After checking my bag and all my pockets they started to look a bit worried, and I must say, slightly embarrassed.  If I could have got to my sock without them seeing I would have dumped the fiver and they couldn’t have done a thing, but they made me push my bike in between them as they walked me to the police station, about half a mile away.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-waltham-abbey-police-stationWaltham Abbey Police Station

In the interview room, they waffled on a load of stuff that went straight over the top of my head. I just denied everything, not because I was clever and realised without the evidence I was in the clear, but because I was too scared to admit it.

In those days the general public still had fear and respect for coppers, which must be hard for youngsters of today to understand I know, but it was very different then, I assure you.

In the end, they said they were going to do a strip-search on me, so I immediately took the fiver out of my sock and gave it to them, it was all damp and sweaty.

The relief on those coppers faces was palpable. I made a statement and they bailed me to await a court appearance. My Father had to come and collect me, he was not best pleased. When we got home, I got one of the few hidings that he ever gave me.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-father-son-clipart

At that time, I had only been in trouble (I.e got caught) with the law, three times.

As a nine-year-old I was in a gang of kids that were playing about with lighter fuel and matches and we accidentally set fire to an old wooden shack. Unfortunately, that shack had a gas canister in it that exploded. I don’ think it was our intention to actually set the whole place on fire, we were just little kids mucking about.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-old-shack

The shack was used by cricketers to store their gear and as a tea hut. It was a very old shack, it must have been well over 50 years old and falling to pieces. The wood it was built of was so old it had gone silvery and was crumbling away in places. It was a disaster just waiting to happen anyway.

I personally did not start the fire, but I was there and know who did. We all got a massive rollicking by the Police and our parents but as we were under the age of criminal responsibility we were not charged. However, I suppose it stayed on record to add to my juvenile crime sheet.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-shack-on-fire

I did pay for that sin, though, thirty odd years later. I was working as a security Guard with an old guy who I liked and got on with really well, and he turned out to be one of those cricketers!

We used to stand around talking about anything and everything during our long 12 hour shifts of boredom, and one day he mentioned that some “little bastards” burnt down his beloved “clubhouse” and it ruined his Sunday’s, as the team had disbanded because of it etc.

I felt obliged to tell him I was part of it, and I apologised the best I could, but he was really shocked, angry and outraged at me and would never talk to me again. Natural justice I guess?

The second blot on my record was also not totally my fault, I would admit it here if it was. Again, I was with a gang of friends, roaming the streets one evening, bored.

We weren’t up to anything in particular, just hanging about. A crowd of Cub-Scouts walked past us and someone in our crowd called them “little twats” or something similar, but then some dickhead from our lot threw an empty bottle at them, we never did find out who it was. It smashed on the ground, but nobody was hurt.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-broken-bottle

The upshot was, the Cubs went into the Police Station to complain about us. By then our group had separated and there was just me and three others. Of course, it was just our luck that we were the ones that got pulled by the coppers and taken in.

We all admitted that we were there, but we didn’t throw the bottle, however, we still all got charged with “threatening behaviour”.

Steve Bale-memoirs-A Short-Sharp-Shock!- Part 1-cub-scouts

It was a minor offence, but we still had to go to court. I got two years probation. This meant that I had to see a probation officer every month, and if I got in trouble with the law in that two year period I would be in big trouble with the court, and that was to cost me dear later.

The third time I was caught doing naughties was deadly serious, and the most shameful of all the bad stuff I did as a youngster. To be honest, I did not want to write about this, but it is crucial as to the reason why I got banged up in a detention centre a year later.

Note: I was a Cub-scout when I was 8 or 9 years old, for a year or so, just saying.

Continue to part 2 of A Short, Sharp, Shock!

Or, skip to part 3 of A Short, Sharp, Shock!


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