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Archive for July 18th, 2006

An open and shut case?

I was going to write about this case – but Geeklawyer beat me to it. His piece is worth reading. Geeklawyer, if you read his blog, has extensive experience of Civil Liberties (I have not met him) and while he is robust in his views and has some very amusing rants on his site – this is a serious piece. So – here it is.

What troubles me about the case was the need to shoot 7 bullets into the head, or even to shoot at all. I can understand the need for a specialist firearms officer in a close quarter battle situation, where there is clear and immediate danger to the public, having to shoot to kill. But was that the case here? Perhaps the IPCC report will clear this important point up.
Liberty point out that the ongoing secrecy is unnaceptable and that the IPCC report has still not been published “Suggestions that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has yet to be interviewed as to what he knew and said about the shooting such a long time ago are equally disturbing. Such delays help neither the difficult work of the police nor public confidence in secret procedures for the use of lethal force.”

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Knifed to death in the name of honour

Few will not have read the horrific story of Azhar Nazir who was knifed to death by her brother and a cousin because she wanted to marry her boyfriend and not have a husband forced on her as part of an arranged marriage. The BBC Story covers the facts
Nirpal Dhaliwal, writing in the Evening Standard today brings a breath of reason and rational thinking to bear with his piece. I quote from his work:

“Such crimes are the inevitable result of a liberal multiculturalism that encourages religious and ethnic minorities to regard themselves as separate entities within Britain. Some people are so removed from mainstream life, and accustomed to authorities turning a blind eye, they think they can behave with impunity.

Last year the government produced a paper on forced marriages but the proposal to criminalise those who coerce young women into them has been shelved. Unwilling to worsen its relations with the Muslim community, the government is colluding with the oppression of thousands of young British women.”

Dhaliwal’s words struck a chord. Many years ago I knew a family from Pakistan. They came to Britain. They are deeply religious – the Father only wanted the best for his daughters. I remember we talked about culture, religion and the subject of arranged marriages. He was forthright. He told me that he would treat his daughters with dignity and allow them to choose the men they wished to marry. I asked how he would feel if they married outside Islam or even wished to marry a European. He smiled and asked me what reply I expected – a clever response, which I did not rise to. He told me that he would support whatever decision his daughters came to provided they truly loved the men they wished to marry. He wasn’t from a middle class background in Pakistan. He had not been to university. His wisdom came from an open mind and a love for his family. I thought of him when I read this story.

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Easydeath and other matters

Orange coffin anyone?

Sir Stelios is a man with many ideas – but I am sorry to read today in the Evening Standard (I found it on a train) that his plan to provide cheap funerals (under the ‘Easydeath’ label?) have died a death. Given that this is the man who launched an orange cruise ship with windowless cabins – it is not entirely surprising that he could consider a venture with orange coffins. Ah well… I shall just have to settle for the Co-op when I am called.

Did you know… that the origin of ‘Checkmate’ in Chess comes from the Farsi language spoken in Iran and Afghanistan? The original phrase is SHAH-K-MATE (every syllable pronounced) which means “The King is Dead”. Well… I did, simply because I play a lot of Chess – but there is a fascinating website on the origin of words on the net. Shaespeare is reputed to have coined 1600 words, including the word ‘Excellent’. Like most lawyers, I am fascinated by words – the website is worth looking at.
The origin of words website

Irish men nab trawler to get home after missing boat : two blokes miss the ferry, so they steal a trawler to sail home. Unfortunately they realise that they don’t know how to sail and call the Coastguard for help, believing they were speaking to the irish Coastguard. It was the British Coastguard. A lifeboat and helicopter were despatched to rescue the men who had been sailing around in circles and were only 12 miles away from Holyhead in British waters. Wonderfully daft. Story

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