Harper's Law

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TopBadger
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Harper's Law

Post by TopBadger » Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:45 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-b ... e-59394783

I get that we want to protect emergency service workers and I'm generally supportive of the idea of life meaning life sentences for dangerous persons or heinous crimes... however it seems this new law will remove the distinction between murder (intentional) and manslaughter (unintentional) killing of emergency service workers and result in whole life sentences irrespective of the degree of risk of reoffence of the perpetrator.

This seems misguided and excessive.
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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Fishnut » Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:46 pm

I do find this valorisation of certain professions disturbing. Yes, some jobs are more dangerous and some jobs are more likely to put you in contact with those who wish to do harm against you. But if you get murdered while doing your work as a policeman that doesn't justify your family getting more retribution than if, say, someone murdered their estate agent. Mandatory life sentences should be used in exceptional circumstances only. Making them a standard sentence for those who kill certain professions will not do anything to make those professions safer, but will put more people in prison for the rest of their lives. And not even that many people. Wikipedia has a list of 21 officers killed as a direct result of a crime or while attempting to prevent, stop or solve a specific criminal act:

2000 - 1 (run over)
2001 - 1 (run over)
2002 - 1 (rammed by vehicle being pursued)
2003 - 4 (2x run over - 1 was by an uninvolved driver, 1 stabbing, 1 shot)
2004 - 1 (stabbed)
2005 - 1 (shot)
2006 - 1 (traffic collision while transporting a prisoner)
2007 - 2 (1x shot, 1x stabled)
2008 - 0
2009 - 1 (thrown from vehicle during pursuit)
2010 - 0
2011 - 0
2012 - 4 (1x collapsed while pursuing suspects, 1x shot while off-duty, 2x killed in a gun and grenade ambush)
2013 - 0
2014 - 0
2015 - 0
2016 - 0
2017 - 2 (1x stabbed during terrorist attack, 1x succumbed to injuries sustained in 2013)
2018 - 0
2019 - 1 (dragged by vehicle - that's PC Harper)
2020 - 1 (shot by a handcuffed man who was in custody)
2021 - 0 (to date)

Of course, every single one of these is a tragedy but I see nothing to suggest that we need a new law with stiffer sentences. This is just about being seen to be tough without any sense of proportionality. I get that PC Harper's wife is devastated at his loss and the circumstances around his death - I would be too. But that doesn't mean she has the right to get the law changed.
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Re: Harper's Law

Post by noggins » Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:49 pm


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Re: Harper's Law

Post by IvanV » Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:11 pm

noggins wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:49 pm
Secretbarrister nails it as usual
https://thesecretbarrister.com/2021/11/ ... lawmaking/
Very excellent point worth drawing out.
...it is depressingly predictable that the Home Secretary has failed to understand the basic premise of the argument: those targeted by this law are expressly those who don’t seek to harm our emergency service workers.
Because if you are being convicted of manslaughter, rather than murder, it is because you did not (at least not provably) intend to kill or cause serious harm.

A recently introduced daft charge, introduced in some similar crackdown, is "causing death while driving uninsured". It is an automatic conviction, in the sense that there is no test of culpabililty. "Causing" is in the wide sense, such as accidentally causing. You can be acquitted of causing death by careless driving, yet found guilty of this. Meanwhile our laws dealing with death and injury and driving are just not fit for purpose, just as secretbarrister says of the murder laws.

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Re: Harper's Law

Post by noggins » Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:17 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/no ... minic-raab

WTF ?!! Is Raab just spouting shite or can laws actually be applied retrospectively?

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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Gfamily » Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:18 pm

The only saving grace is that (on the basis of the last 20 years), the numbers of people falling foul of this will be small.
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Re: Harper's Law

Post by noggins » Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:30 pm

Another thing: theres not a huge gulf between the toughest manslaughter sentences and life sentences.

The driver got 16 years - earliest parole 10 yrs 8 months. Had he got a life sentence for murder, the earliest parole could be after 12 years.

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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Lew Dolby » Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:22 pm

noggins wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:17 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/no ... minic-raab

WTF ?!! Is Raab just spouting shite or can laws actually be applied retrospectively?
Seems so. The tories introduced a law that was so as to make IDS actions, found wrong so often in court, no longer criminal. That was back-dated. (if I remeber correctly).
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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:25 pm

noggins wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:17 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/no ... minic-raab

WTF ?!! Is Raab just spouting shite or can laws actually be applied retrospectively?
Yes, they can but it’s unusual for them to do that.

An example is war crimes legislation that could be used to prosecute people who committed the crimes in earlier wars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Crimes_Act_1991

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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Millennie Al » Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:43 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:25 pm
noggins wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:17 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/no ... minic-raab

WTF ?!! Is Raab just spouting shite or can laws actually be applied retrospectively?
Yes, they can but it’s unusual for them to do that.

An example is war crimes legislation that could be used to prosecute people who committed the crimes in earlier wars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Crimes_Act_1991
You can try imposing a retrospecitive law, but unless you have a time machine, it won't make any difference to their behaviour before you passed the law. But frequently laws are not intended to be obeyed, they are intended to have some other effect.
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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Martin_B » Thu Nov 25, 2021 4:32 am

noggins wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:17 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/no ... minic-raab

WTF ?!! Is Raab just spouting shite or can laws actually be applied retrospectively?
Famously (according to Mark Thomas, anyway) the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, which brought in to law the requirement for prior permission to be granted by the police if you wanted to protest in central London, was aimed to getting Brian Hawes arrested for his protesting on Parliament Square by retroactively applying the requirement for gaining permission. But the law was drafted poorly and Hawes became the one person in the UK the law didn't apply to!
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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Trinucleus » Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:42 am

Politician does something that's popular with the press shocker

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Re: Harper's Law

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:56 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:43 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:25 pm
noggins wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:17 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/no ... minic-raab

WTF ?!! Is Raab just spouting shite or can laws actually be applied retrospectively?
Yes, they can but it’s unusual for them to do that.

An example is war crimes legislation that could be used to prosecute people who committed the crimes in earlier wars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Crimes_Act_1991
You can try imposing a retrospecitive law, but unless you have a time machine, it won't make any difference to their behaviour before you passed the law.
Yes, that's why its unusual.

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Re: Harper's Law

Post by tom p » Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:27 am

noggins wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:17 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/no ... minic-raab

WTF ?!! Is Raab just spouting shite or can laws actually be applied retrospectively?
Here's what they quoted Raab as saying
the grauniad wrote:The justice secretary told BBC Breakfast: “That is one of the things that made us look very carefully and focus on changing the law, but of course it only applies to crimes and sentences going forward; I think that’s the right thing to do.”
I don't think the part between the comma and the semi-colon is in any way wrong or controversial (indeed everything after the comma seems fine to me.
Raab is a grade A fucknut and a despicable human being who should just curl up into a ball and die; but not for that. He is blameless regarding that sentence.

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