Archive for December 22nd, 2009

Dennis Kennedy, a US lawyer,  produces an annual Blawggies’ award. It is the sixth year.   While I am more than happy to see if I can purchase the odd peerage from the corrupt or award myself ‘honours’ when I am in the mood, I always appreciate interest from fellow bloggers.  Dennis Kennedy was kind enough to mention my podcasts in his runner up selection for podcasts.

The real star of all my podcasts  is the guest – usually a lawyer, but not always – who gives of his or her time free.  Thanks to Dennis for the mention – appreciated.

See:  The Blawggies 2009

Read Full Post »

Serious lawyer and excellent twitterer @brianInkster, who runs his own successful law firm out of  offices in  Glasgow, wrote a review of a book written by an American lawyer on how lawyers could use twitter.  I haven’t read the book and, as Sir Maurice Bowra used to say, I shall lose no time in doing so.   There is a wealth of FREE material out there (and some of it written by very good US law bloggers) and I was most amused to find that this book is ‘out of stock’ on Amazon at the wonderful price of £145 for some 77 pages – or £2 a page for those ‘time poor lawyers’ as another well known lawyer tweeter/twitter observed. US lawyer Scott Greenfield summed it up neatly

@BrianInkster If he had a clue, maybe he could get a job instead of selling snake oil twitter to lawyers incapable of twitting on their own.

I have absolutely no idea how to be a social media maven or guru or, indeed, how to ‘use’ twitter ‘properly’, let alone for personal profit.  I have no intention of learning how to do so.

Moving on…

It is election time,  so Chris Grayling and Alan Johnson are falling over each other in an attempt to show the hang ’em, flog ’em brigade in Britain that they can talk tough. The trouble is… talking tough often equates to talking complete and utter nonsense – rather as pissed up yobs do at each other on a Saturday night before getting carted off in a Police van.

All this rather foolish posturing follows on from the Hussain case. The Times reports: ” Last week Hussain was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent after he and his brother used a cricket bat to beat one of the intruders who broke into his home in Buckinghamshire. Judge John Reddihough acknowledged that the family had been subjected to a “serious and wicked offence”, but said Hussain had carried out a “dreadful, violent attack” on the intruder as he lay defenceless.

See also: Jail for ‘courageous’ Munir Hussain who beat intruder with cricket bat

While I can commend anyone for defending themselves in their own home (and the law already permits this – (infra)) chasing a burglar down the street and then beating him senseless with a cricket bat goes beyond reasonable force.  The rule of law is best left to the Police in such matters, however imperfect they are on occasion. We don’t really want to see summary justice meted out by victims of crime.

The Times points out that Mr Grayling, Shadow Home Secretary, has modified his stance and the Tories deny that that they are planning a ‘licence for householders to kill burglars’.  Mr Grayling seems to do a fair amount of engaging mouth before brain. This may be why he has risen to the dizzying heights of Shadow Home Secretary – it seems to be a requirement for Home Secretaries of all political persuasions in recent years – so I am not singling Mr Grayling out.

I am not a criminal lawyer, but fortunately the Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association is a criminal lawyer…and is sane.

The Times notes: “Paul Mendel, the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, told the BBC that people could already use “reasonable force” under the law. A jury would take into account the emotional stress someone acted under when discovering a burglar in the home, he said, and suggested moving the bar to anything up to “grossly disproportionate” might be too high.

He added: “The statute that we presently have allows the force to be proportionate which, I would have thought, is what most people would require the force to be. It’s a case of what’s proportionate and only the judge can make the decision. He did have discretion to come down in favour of householder.”

I would also like to commend an article in the Guardian written by a friend of mine, Carl Gardner, who invariably both talks and writes sense: On self-defence, let’s trust the courts

Carl Gardner writes: “But Grayling’s solution is too blunt. The answer may not be for politicians to put forward yet more criminal law reform to endlessly refine, clarify and redefine, while obliging judges to deliver ever more convoluted directions to juries. Perhaps we should simply trust those who have heard all the evidence to judge what is and is not reasonable.”

Carl Gardner also writes the excellent Head of legal blog

Read Full Post »