Monday, 25 February 2008

Presumed guilt

Those who have been following the course of New Labour's steady destruction of traditional British liberties will notice a very simple pattern emerging. First, the government removes the rights of those who many would consider undesirables—Muslim "terrorists", drug-dealers, prostitutes, and the like—and then gradually the rights are removed from the rest of us. Often, poorly-drafted legislation is blamed; "this was an unintended consequence," the government claim, "But we'll fix it. Just vote us in again."

And now we see the whole thing happening again with this appalling proposal. Please note the inaccurate but inflammatory headline, indicating the collusion of the press in the government's deceit.

Drug dealers to have assets seized on arrest

Drug-dealers are to have their assets seized on arrest? Who could possibly object? After all, they are drug-dealers and, as we all know, drug-dealers are nasty people.
Police will be able to seize high-value assets from suspected drug dealers as soon as they are arrested under plans to be unveiled this week by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

Law-enforcement agencies will be able to take cars, televisions, laptops and expensive jewellery belonging to big-time offenders. Such assets can currently only be seized at the end of a criminal process, by which time drug dealers have often disposed of them.

Did you note the key word there? The key word is "suspected". These aren't drug-dealers because, you see, they have not been proven to be drug-dealers at all.

Last time that I looked, we had this cute little thing known as "a trial", in this country. And it is determined, at your trial, whether or not you are actually guilty of the crime of which you have been accused.

Further, in this country, you are considered to be innocent until proven guilty. In a trial. Before a jury of twelve good men and true.

If the state is allowed to seize the assets of suspected drug-dealers before they have even been tried, they are effectively presuming guilt.

There is, as Tim Worstall bluntly points out, a word for this: it is theft, pure and simple. The state is giving itself the power to steal your possessions before it has even been determined whether you did the crime.

And anyone who things that this will be limited to drug-dealers is either a fool or dangerously naive. It will not be limited to drug-dealers at all. But New Labour are using that as the headline, because drug-dealers are, as we pointed out before, evil men who deserve all that they get.

And so, state-sanctioned looting is on its way: how many public servants will we see in the dock, charged with theft, do you think? I'll give you a clue: it is a non-fractional figure somewhere between 1 and -1.

And so, the last vestiges of our famous British justice sink slowly beneath the waves; the last vestiges of our ancient rights and freedoms are being removed. And, alas, the British public are just too dim to realise the totalitarian hell that they are sleep-walking into.

And our politicians? Hang them: hang them all...


richard mcenroe said...

They pulled this crap in the states and yes it worked out about as badly as you'd expect...

Brett Law said...

Yep. Note that in the US, the guilt or innocence of the party whose assets were seized is entirely separate from the ability of the State to keep the assets. Thus you can be found innocent - or even have charges dropped - and the State gets to keep your car, cash, or house. Don't get me started, my blood pressure gets so high, I have red-outs.

Anonymous said...

Fight it, if you can. Asset forfeiture has been one of the biggest trespasses against freedom and in the States, and we've got more going for us here. I hate to see it happen in Britain also.

Anonymous said...

So an 85yr old man refrains from calling jack straw an idiot hands his mate a fag and bam hes a dealer and the fuzz steal his cat! bastards all

Anonymous said...

Still no moves to criminalise drugs USERS I see. Far easier and more effective to cut off the demand rather than the supply wouldn't you think ?

Yet the authorities are remarkably lenient as regards the likes of Kate Moss and Pete Dougherty, in fact they seem to admire them and they are rewarded with fame and sympathy. An 'unintended consequence' of this is that they become role models for youngsters.

But that's da YooKay all over now. A topsy-turvy land where nasty criminals of all types are the 'victims' and 76-year-old war veterans who refuse to pay iniquitous council taxes are banged up in a thrice. Incidentally while this is happening our odious and lecherous Secretary of State for Justice (Justice ? What a fucking joke !) Jack Straw implores judges not to jail burglars and drug dealers becuase our prisons are full. Tremble ye not in your beds, rest assured that there'll always be room for the likes of 76-year-old Mr Fitzmaurice who was disgracefully paraded in manacles this week.

So are these new powers of siezure about preventing the illegal use of narcotics ? Let's not be silly now. I should imagine that much of the new elite enjoy a snort too much.

From the recent expenses scandals it is clear that many of our politicians have been bought so that they turn away as their country is abolished.

But judging by the tightness of Mr Fitzmaurice's hadncuffs there is a weakness in the system. Clearly they are terrified at the prospect of a mass refusal to pay council tax (why not throw in the BBC licence fee while we're at it.)

I think that the task of putting our politicians back in their place would be far easier than you think. It would need coordination though and the coming recession should certainly provide the impetus and motivation as our people are awakened from their torpur with a cold dash of reality.

Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

'Hang all politicians'

Er - you didn't really think all that close armed police protection was there to protect our politicians from Al Qaeda did you ?

Scott Alfter said...

"Note that in the US, the guilt or innocence of the party whose assets were seized is entirely separate from the ability of the State to keep the assets. Thus you can be found innocent - or even have charges dropped - and the State gets to keep your car, cash, or house."

...and their excuse for getting to keep your stuff is that forfeiture is handled under civil law, not criminal law. They did that because the standard the government must meet is much lower: no presumption of innocence, no need for proof beyond a reasonable doubt, etc. Try googling "civil forfeiture"...first link is to a Treasury Department page describing the whole sordid process. That's what you want to avoid, as it's free license for (frequently cash-strapped) law enforcement to take what it wants, when it wants.

Anonymous said...

Great- so we can look forward to the abolition of taxes then- they wont be needed any more!

The Remittance Man said...

Not that it's worth much nowadays, the Bill of Rights (the real English one, which is still law, not Gordon's fucked up proposal) actually forbids forfeitures and seizures without due process.