Saturday, 29 June 2013

JENGbA & Trenton Oldfield

It is very odd being part of a campaign like JENGbA’s; we are moving fast and our message is spreading quickly, though, as a grassroots campaign, we never know from one week to the next what to expect.  So on Thursday when I was asked to do an interview with the Sunday Times about the Government’s decision to extradite Trenton Oldfield, I accepted without hesitation.

Trenton Oldfield & Deepa Naik (source: UK Guardian)

When I first met Trenton, it was at a Right to Protest meeting when he was on remand waiting to know if he was going to prison; he was pretty sure he was going to be incarcerated. He was with his wife Deepa and I remember my first words to him, “Aren’t you the guy the media made out to be nuts?”  But he wasn’t and I met a couple who talked and listened.  Trenton and Deepa are deeply committed to community, human rights, poverty and injustice. 

When Trenton interrupted the boat race, (not just peacefully – he was like a seal appearing out of nowhere, remember the commentators saying ‘there is a man in the water’ like they couldn’t fathom a man could be in the water?)  the public also were not clear what he was actually doing.

On Newsnight, he said he had deliberately kept his ‘plan’ to protest in the Thames from his friends and family because he had learnt from JENGbA campaigners about the common law that is Joint Enterprise.  He was concerned that even if he told   Deepa his wife, what he intended, she too could be prosecuted under joint enterprise.  He was right; joint enterprise can reach that far and be that punitive.

So it is refreshing that the Sunday Times and other media also agree that the reaction against Trenton’s protests seems pathetically extreme. 

Our Government want to extradite Trenton to Australia because he is “an undesirable, that has unacceptable associations and he could be considered a threat to national security…(presence in the UK is) not conducive for public good.”  

What I truly believe Trenton did on that day was take an act of bravery for others.  He wanted to highlight the disparity between rich and poor and this single issue is being ignored by politicians and the media because it does not suit their interests.   People like Trenton are unusual, because we have not seen that bravery in a while.  That is why they want to extradite him, so his voice is quashed. He is not a threat to security, he deliberately took on the establishment via the boat race.  Even I didn’t get it then, but I am getting it now. 

Friday, 28 June 2013

JENGbA Newsletter Issue 24, June 2013 Now Online!

You can read/save/print JENGbA's latest newsletter by clicking HERE

Please share this with anyone who needs to know about Joint Enterprise, and who wants to help JENGbA's campaign!

The USA's Felony Murder Rule: When Lawful Prosecution Becomes Legal Persecution

Bernadette Beanes - Felony Murder Rule Victim

As JENGbA has grown in strength and knowledge about the cruel, perverse application of Joint Enterprise in the English & Welsh criminal courts, we have discovered examples of this abusive legal principle in other countries.  Sometimes it is called "Joint Criminal Enterprise" as in Australia, and other times it appears in similar form, such as the Texan "Law of Parties" where this US state kills prisoners who have been convicted by association for the actions of another person.  The same process applies, whether it is in the Old Bailey, London or the International Criminal Court in the Hague - Individual Responsibility is extended into Collective Liability for the crimes of others.  This is not sophisticated justice; it is alien in many established, respected legal systems and runs counter to Blackstone's Formulation.  Collective Liability has a long history of abuse and control - from the mass killing of Roman slaves in a household when one caused the death of a Master, through the Albigensian indiscriminate massacres where "God will know His own", through the collateral civilian casualties of wars and conflicts, to the death chambers of American prisons.

One particularly harrowing and bizarre use of Collective Liability is the case of Bernadette Beanes in Arizona, USA.  She has been charged with the murder of a man who she is alleged to have assisted, resulting in his kidnapping several people.  When officers tried to arrest him, he apparently killed himself with his own firearm.  But no, the prosecutors don't call shooting yourself "Suicide".  Since his death occurred as a result of other crimes laid against Bernadette, she can be held liable for his MURDER under the contentious concept called the Felony Murder Rule.

Is this really "justice"? It seems more like the triumphant twisting of the knife by a predatory prosecution which has departed from what most sane observers would agree as the Rule of Law - fairness, proportionality, holding an individual to account for her own actions rather than extending blame for what is at most a self-inflicted fatal injury by the man she allegedly aided.

You can read about Bernadette's case HERE.