Archive for January 24th, 2007

Cue: The Great Escape theme tune….music fades

Charon: Good morning, Home Secretary. Thank you for spending time out of your eighteen f******g hour a day schedule to do this interview.

An aide comes into the room at this point with the latest statistics on escaped prisoners. Reid glances at the paper quickly and snaps “Heads will roll”. Aide leaves room.

Home Secretary: No problem. Before you start, let me state that I have written to the judges today to ask them to jail only the most dangerous and persistent criminals.

Charon: Yes… I saw the BBC website report on this. Presumably you have a few places to play with due to prisoners, some erstwhile murderers, escaping?

Home Secretary (Smiling grimly): Yes… but unfortunately…sorry, fortunately, not enough places are being made available in this way. I am on the case. We have plans to build 8000 more places, house them in police cells, army camps, old prison wings which are ‘not fit for purpose’ and anywhere else we can find. We are even thinking about housing prisoners on naval warships which we don’t need at the moment. I gather there is a spare aircraft carrier somewhere on the south coast… Portsmouth?

Charon: Well, Home Secretary, that is fascinating, if a little inconsistent with your statement today on jailing only serious and persistent offenders – but, presumably, we can go back to jailing others when the new prisons are built. But I am not here to ask you about your plans for prisons in the future. I just wanted to ask you a few questions about why people are managing to escape from our prisons and then question you about a far more important issue – your contendership for the leadership and to be the next Prime Minister. I suspect that you will tell me that escaping prisoners and those under control orders is not a particularly big problem, that even the murderers are safe – for, presumably, they wouldn’t have been put in an open prison to end their sentences, so if you prefer, please feel free to tell me your plans to be the next Prime Minister.

Home Secretary (a taciturn expression passes over his face): I think it is clear that there are many in the party who believe that there should be a leadership contest, both for the party and the future of democracy in this country, but it is also clear that Gordon has been answering a lot of questions about Big Brother and other matters not related to the economy to position himself as the next PM when our revered leader retires in June…sorry… July….

Charon: Home Secretary – I appreciate that you have a lot on your plate, and seem to get little sleep and I don’t suppose counting prisoners jumping over prison walls is a particularly restful way to get to sleep – but my question was fairly straightforward. Let me make it more so. Do you want to be Prime Minister?

Home Secretary (looking grave): “It is probably the ambition of every serious politican. I am no different….”

At this moment an aide enters the room and discreetly whispers into The Home Secretary’s ear :“The Chief Justice wants a quiet word, Home Secretary. He has just read your letter.”

Home Secretary (smiling warmly): “Look… Mr Charabanc… I’m sorry about this…matters of state…. these things happen, but I’m going to have to end this interview. Happy to talk another time…. would August this year suit you? I should have more time then and be rested after my trip to the Bee Gees mansion in The West Indies. Thanks for coming. My minder will see you out.”

In my mind, I am led out into the street with a feeling that I have been in the presence of genius.

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Student round up….

I thought it was time for me to post info which may be useful to law students

From Legal Week: The College of Law’s Legal Practice Course (LPC) has been given the Law Society’s top grade in all five of its centres around the UK. The College’s centres in Birmingham, Chester, Guildford, London and York each received a ‘commendable’ practice grade for all six assessed areas of the LPC. The ranking follows a series of three-day visits by the Law Society, which have taken place over the last three months.

From Consilio: The popular revision course from Consilio is being run in April and May: Details 

From The Bar Council: Warning on E-Mail scams: “It has come to our attention that barristers’ names are being used to front email scams and other scams. This is being done without the barristers’ consent or knowledge. If you receive an e-mail of this sort purporting to come in the name of a barrister with whom you have had no dealings, or with whom you are not expecting to have dealings, you are probably best advised to ignore it or to check directly with that barrister’s chambers. The Bar Council can take no responsibility for such matters. The fact that barristers’ names are being used in this way has been reported to the police.”

I’m afraid quite a few reputable organisations and individuals are being used in this way.  I am tired of getting emails puporting to be me from spammers who use my email address as a front! Welcome to the net.

It might be a good idea to keep an eye out on Consilio for the next week.  The Lobster is returning with prizes  and I will shortly be announcing the wnner of the january caption Competition – and posting the February competition.

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Custody in domestic violence cases?…

I have a number of Australian friends – who are thoroughly enjoying the comic opera one day cricket which follows on from The Ashes.

This is the latest bit of ‘sledging’ from my Aussie ‘mates’ : It has the merit of bringing in a legal theme!

“Federal Court Ruling from the Melbourne Age, Australia (AP) – A seven
year old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama yesterday. When he
challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy
has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially
awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with the child custody law and
regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree
possible. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt
beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with
her. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, the
boy cried out that they also beat him. After considering the remainder
of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was
apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented
step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.
After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child
welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the English
Cricket Team, whom the boy firmly believes are “not capable of beating

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Snow in London…

I woke, as usual, at 3.30 am to the not so familiar almost muffled sound of silence. I knew at once that it had snowed and looked out of my bedroom window. Snow covered my conservatory roof and garden. Bizarrely, I wondered if it might have snowed on the other side of my house facing the road. It had. No-one was about. I put on a kimono and hobbled downstairs, with my three broken toes, to have a look, to touch the snow. A simple pleasure. I did not make a small snowman. But, I did think about it.

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