Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Terrible Price of the EU

The EU is claimed by its supporters to be worth every price we pay in money, even as that goes up and our own economy slides. However there are other costs far greater, to our very soul of freedom and justice, developed in the UK over more than 800 years.

I am truly staggered to read in the Telegraph today the story of two Englishmen, Luke Atkinson and Michael Binnington, sentenced to three years in prison in Cyprus for manslaughter. They were sitting, very drunk, in the back of a car driven by their uncle which ran over and killed a teenage Cypriot boy. It was a terrible thing to happen for the boy and his family, but that does not excuse injustice.

The two Englishmen were originally cleared of any crime, while their uncle was sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter and grievous bodily harm. However the Cyprus Supreme Court then, in their absence, convicted them of manslaughter and GBH for encouraging their uncle to pursue the boy, with whom they had argued at a night club.

So now we have Englishmen extradited when for at least three obvious reasons they should not have been. The men were cleared by one court, and then convicted by a higher court, which would not be allowed under UK law. Secondly they were convicted in their absence, by what was in effect an appeal hearing, not a full trial. Third their actions, even if they do amount to manslaughter in Cyprus which I doubt, do not appear to under English law. The driver of the car was culpable, however they encouraged him. He is responsible for his own behaviour, and has a suitably long sentence to serve.

So the only reason these men have no recourse to justice is the European Arrest Warrant. This is exactly the sort of insane result that opponents of the European Arrest Warrant warned of before its introduction. It has significantly reduced the protection for British citizens against unjust treatment by foreign courts that do not hold the standards of British justice.

By the way I think that if these men did encourage their uncle to threaten this boy with his car, leading to his death, their behaviour was despicable. There are however many despicable, nasty people out there. Arbitrary justice is not going to resolve that. The rule of law is the first requirement for a civil society and for freedom. When I see people who are unpleasant but have commited no crime unjustly punished I always wonder what is to stop blameless people being treated the same.

Aside: I was not going to post anything about this; it is a complicated issue and I do not want to look as if I am second guessing the judge, who knows more than I. However I read this post at Muffled Vociferation, and realised that I had felt the same on reading the story, and had finally calmed down enough to post a reasoned response.

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Catosays said...

If they encouraged their uncle to do what he did, then 'Aiding and abetting the commission of a crime' seems to cover it quite well.

Richard Dale said...

I am not sure what, but I agree entirely they could be convicted of a crime. However manslaughter would not be that crime under UK law as far as I can see, and the first court decision, where they were actually present should have been respected.

Anonymous said...

We need to fight to get out of the EU. I bet there are 1000s of horror stories for innocent people.

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