Sunday, 24 June 2012

The importance of law: fundraiser in London Tuesday for the campaign against joint enterprise

On Tuesday, June 26, there will be a fundraiser in London for the campaign against joint enterprise (below). The joint enterprise law enables all who are present or who can plausibly be associated with a person committing an act of violence to be charged themselves with the same act. See here. This results in Britain in an enormous number of people being jailed (17% of the prison population with life sentences compared to 3% for the rest of Europe is one indication) with a predilection for young blacks. But the predation extends, as this event indicates, to whites as well.

Jordan Cunliffe, a white 16 year old who suffered from acute keracotonus (he can only see some colors; he is effectively blind), was in a group of boys who had a confrontation with Garry Newlove. Newlove had been told by his daughter that they were vandalizing a neighbor's yard. Two of the young men struck Newlove, one kicked him in the throat, and killed him. These two men were rightly tried for homicide.

Cunliffe was present but did not take part in the attack. Though legally blind, the prosecutor, with the aid of a corrupt judge, excluded direct medical testimony at his trial about what the nature of keracotonus is (the case would not have survived). As a result of joint enterprise and prosecutorial and judicial malfeasance, Cunliffe was convicted and has now served four years in prison (part of a 16 year sentence; a 30 year sentence is a life sentence in Britain).

Prime Minister David Cameron singled out this crime as an example of "broken Britain." And he is certainly right that the assault itself was a horror. But what is broken in Britain (and in a different way in the United States) is the law. According to Blackstone's ratio, it is better than ten guilty men go free than that one innocent is thrown away. Jordan Cunliffe is blind. Jordan Cunliffe did not part in the assault on Gsrry Newlove. Jordan Cunliffe is in jail.

His mother Janet Cunliffe will speak about the case.

Worse yet, many more innocent people - especially young blacks and Asians - are in jail in England, which has a police state proportional, in terms of population, to the United States (the United States holds 2.3 million people in prison, 25% of the world's prisoners).* What happened to Jordan Cunliffe shows strikingly how an abuse against minorities extends at last to everyone. how whites also are hurt by racism as a form of divide and rule, how Pastor Niemoller's statement first they came for the Communists and the jews and I did nothing, and at last they came for me, and there was no one left to protest, lives on.

The other speaker is Paddy Hill, as IRA member, part of the Birmingham 6, wrongly convicted of a bombing in England. He served six years but has been found not guilty on appeal and released. He is, as it were, the Communist in the Niemoller poem.

It is easy to take law frivolously, to go on about one's life, to think that the presumption of innocence is of no great importance and that it is better to throw away "criminals." It is not.

Professor Alan Gilbert