Don’t bother lobbying the government about arming (or disarming) the police – Nash says it’s not his call

A white police officer who shot and killed an African American woman in her home in Fort Worth, Texas, in the presence of her eight-year-old nephew has been charged with murder after resigning from the force.

The Fort Worth Police Department said its officers had been responding to a call from a neighbour, who reported to a non-emergency line that Atatiana Jefferson’s front door had been left open. The responding officer fired a shot through a window, killing the 28-year-old woman.

American cops shot and killed 998 people last year, 11 more than the 987 they fatally shot in 2017. In 2016, police killed 963 people, and 995 in 2015.

Those statistics – a steady 1000 or so a year – were examined in a report in Britain’s The Independent:  Continue reading “Don’t bother lobbying the government about arming (or disarming) the police – Nash says it’s not his call”

A Policeman’s lot is not a happy one – but it’s not so great being under investigation either

What is the definition of an optimist?  How about the person from Britain’s Independent Office for Police Conduct who described the failed investigation into an imaginary VIP paedophile conspiracy as “an opportunity for organisational learning”.

The investigation started in 2014 with allegations from one man that a former Chief of the Defence Staff and a former Home Secretary, among others, had taken a break from their busy public schedules to rape and murder children.  In the wake of earlier cases of police failure to properly investigate paedophile allegations, senior detectives decided that these fanciful and seemingly-uncorroborated allegations were credible. They were not at their best following up leads and searching for relevant evidence.  According to an investigating judge, they even managed to secure unlawful search warrants with inaccurate statements. It took several years before they twigged that it had been made up. Continue reading “A Policeman’s lot is not a happy one – but it’s not so great being under investigation either”

Britain’s Supreme Court on trial?

Britain’s highest court is hearing arguments this week over the legality of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament earlier this month.  Its decision is unlikely to shift entrenched views – and may not make much difference to the path or outcome of Brexit.

But a piece in The Times by political commentator Daniel Finkelstein suggests that it may be of the greatest importance for the Supreme Court itself.  In his view, the hearings “may mark the moment Britain stopped being a political democracy restrained by law and became instead a legal democracy tempered by politics”.

Continue reading “Britain’s Supreme Court on trial?”

Sending jailbirds to Heaven is one way of tackling the ethnic mix in prison – but we have further suggestions

Google may well need to spend more time in a Maori immersion course.

We suggest this because we have just asked it to translate “Hokai Rangi” for us.  This happens to be the name the Corrections Department has given to its widely publicised strategy for reducing (a) prison inmate numbers and (b) the high percentage of Maori in the prison population.

Google’s answer to our request for a translation, somewhat surprisingly, was one word:  Heaven.

In tune with the new philosophy being adopted to prison management, that simple answer suggests inmates henceforth should be known as Heavenly Creatures,

This may well be handy for the mana of someone who who has just been banged up for several years for, let’s say, aggravated robbery or some other form of serious violence.  When the offspring at home ask where dad has gone, mum can say he has gone to Heaven.

And no, you won’t have to be Maori to go – or be sent – to Heaven via the justice system.  Our prisons are about to be subjected to a comprehensive Maori makeover under Hōkai Rangi.  Until recently the strategy was to be the Māori Corrections strategy.  But late in the piece, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Corrections chief executive Christine Stevenson decided that what was good for Māori was good for everyone. Continue reading “Sending jailbirds to Heaven is one way of tackling the ethnic mix in prison – but we have further suggestions”

Law and order rules are being rewritten as Ardern bridles at accusations of leadership failure

It has been a momentous week for the country’s justice system and old-fashioned notions of “law and order”.

First, the Ardern government has said it is considering a report which  recommends the abolition of prisons.  A Maori-led review of the justice system is also urged by this report.

Second, the PM has intervened in a land dispute in Auckland and thereby over-ridden the role of the courts.  

Getting rid of prisons is the remedy ingeniously proposed to reduce the high ratio of Maori inmates in our prisons.

The proposal is contained in the Ināia Tonu Nei: Māori Justice Hui report (here) released during the week. Continue reading “Law and order rules are being rewritten as Ardern bridles at accusations of leadership failure”

We can make a meal of irksome politicians at one end of the protest spectrum – or leave them shell-shocked at the other

Forget about cracking eggs over the heads of politicians with whom you have a difference of opinion.  As Brits were reminded the other day, in the 17th century a mob of Dutch protesters hanged and mutilated prime minister Johan de Witt and – so it is said – ate bits of his body.

A Brexit campaigner who worked for Boris Johnson recalled this extreme form  of Dutch protest when he shared a meme joking that Theresa May should be killed and eaten, it was revealed last week. 

Economist Gerard Lyons, who backs a ‘clean’ No Deal, was rebuked after he forwarded on the ‘extreme’ message on a WhatsApp group that also contains some Tory MPs.

Mr Lyons, who was an adviser to Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London, claims he shared the message on the ‘Brexit outreach group’ by accident and said today: ‘I do not endorse it’.

The offending message was a picture of 17th-century Dutch prime minister Johan de Witt, with the caption: ‘In 1672, a mob of angry Dutch killed and ate their prime minister. Options. Just sayin’ .’ Continue reading “We can make a meal of irksome politicians at one end of the protest spectrum – or leave them shell-shocked at the other”

The Brady break-in – unresolved inquiry may be a matter of case not proven

What do we make of PM Jacinda Ardern’s pushback against reports that Chinese intelligence agents were behind the break-ins at the Christchurch home of Canterbury University Professor Anne Marie Brady?

Consider her words.

Four Corners, an Australian current affairs TV show, reported:

Government sources have confirmed to Four Corners that intelligence assessments identified China’s spy service as the prime suspect behind the intimidation of Brady.”

Ardern, the minister responsible for national security, says she had seen no such assessment. Continue reading “The Brady break-in – unresolved inquiry may be a matter of case not proven”