Rod Liddle

Law might be absurd, but all must be equal before it

Law might be absurd, but all must be equal before it
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Apologies for having been a bit remiss on the blogging front recently – I’ve been busy panic-buying groceries from the local supermarkets. I saw this cold snap coming. The Daily Mail this morning says that Britain is running out of food, energy, money, etc etc and that we are all going to die. One way or another, right or left, people are yearning for an apocalypse.

But, to the point at hand: what are we to do about Carolyn Mellanby? Cazza is the district judge in the case of seven Muslim men charged with having incited racial or religious hatred. These were the chaps you may remember from their very public demo in Luton last year howling “scum!” and “murderer!” and “rapist!” at British soldiers – the Royal Anglian regiment – returning from Iraq. “Anglian soldiers butchers of Basra!” one of their placards read. The local people, who had been applauding the soldiers, took offence at this and some of them tried to attack the demonstrators. As a consequence, after much public outcry, the seven men were charged and hauled before a court.

Now, I don’t much like the idea of charging people for saying stuff and I think the racial and religious hatred act is ill-conceived, authoritarian and – as has been proved on many occasions – a conduit through which it is almost impossible to secure a conviction. But once in court, shouldn’t these almost uniformly fat, bearded, imbeciles be treated the same as everyone else? They have refused to stand for Cazza each morning, presumably on the grounds that she is a woman, or a godless agent of infidel oppression, whatever. At first they were threatened with contempt of court – but then a “compromise” was reached, whereby Cazza came into court first and they were allowed to follow (so that they weren’t actually standing up for her, per se, but standing up because they were sort of walking.) Why was there a compromise? Can you imagine such a compromise being reached in the case of a petty thief who happened to dislike the judge? Haven’t we got it wrong twice over with these men, simply because they are Muslim – first charging them at all, and secondly allowing them to disrespect the court?