UK criminal treatment jumps the shark

I try very hard to take the crime reports from the Daily Mail with a pinch of salt (and possibly lime and tequila, as P J O'Rourke suggests). But the case of scrap metal thieving scroatbag David Taylor really seems to have taken reality beyond satire:

Mr Edwards said his family has lost thousands of pounds through theft and damage caused in a number of raids on their land. They caught Taylor and an accomplice loading stolen metal cables into the back of his Ford Transit after spotting that outbuildings had been tampered with. The thieves jumped into the van and drove it towards the pair as they desperately dialled 999 for help.
Taylor was fined £100 plus £35 damages. I suspect he didn't care much about these sanctions. But what happened to Mr. Edwards when he reacted to the van being driven at him?
Mr Edwards fired his shotgun, which was loaded with lightweight rabbit shot, several times, hitting the van's windscreen and bodywork. No one was hurt.
This seems like a fairly clear definition of self-defence. You can sympathise with the police for initially arresting Edwards - after all, the facts on what happened weren't necessarily clear despite the police having pursued Taylor in a high-speed chase before he crashed. But it took four months of being under threat of prosecution before the CPS decided no further action need be taken against Edwards; he and his mother were held overnight in police cells before being bailed, which was probably not avoidable from the point of view of rigorously establishing the facts of the case, but four months with having a jail sentence hanging over one's head for defending yourself is ridiculous. And a charge of attempted murder is demented. There is no reasonable way that firing rabbit shot at someone inside a van is attempted murder.

The tea leaf's reaction is to be expected, but one wonders what his solicitor is on:

Taylor left court grinning and sneered 'lucky you' at Mr Edwards after finding out the attempted murder allegation had been dropped. Moments earlier his solicitor Ian Brickman said the thief 'is in many ways the victim in this' and was left so 'traumatised' he cannot work.
One can only hope that Brickman keeps a large amount of scrap metal in his garden shed and that Taylor has found this out.

I offer you in contrast the heart-warming story of Paul Slater in Loganville, Georgia:

The woman was working in an upstairs office when she spotted a strange man outside a window, according to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. He said she took her 9-year-old twins to a crawlspace before the man broke in using a crowbar.
But the man eventually found the family.
"The perpetrator opens that door. Of course, at that time he's staring at her, her two children and a .38 revolver," Chapman told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.
Slater was hit by 5 out of 6 shots, ran off, tried to drive away but crashed and crawled away. He's in hospital and may or may not survive. Sheriff Joe Chapman shows no inclination to arrest the shooter, even to establish the facts of the case - Slater was in the woman's house, she had no duty to retreat (even though she did retreat to the house's crawlspace). Any admonishment would likely have related to her choice of weapon, bullet caliber and magazine size.

I can understand the CPS's possible diligence in trying to establish all the facts before informing Edwards that he would not be charged. However, the presumption towards charging in these circumstances is nothing short of appalling. Having established that Taylor the scroatbag was on the Edwards property with felonious intent (and action), and that Edwards only had rabbit shot in the gun which was very unlikely to cause serious damage to Taylor even if he'd been sticking his head out of the van window, the presumption should have been that Edwards was acting in legitimate self-defence; taking four months to exclude the remote possibility of felonious intent was stupid, lazy behaviour by the CPS.

If the UK population comes around to believing that the CPS is on the side of the criminal's rights (and in the process assumes the police force is basically the same entity as the CPS), the public support for the police is going to evaporate like a fart in a tornado. When that happens, everyone is going to suffer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are subject to retrospective moderation. I will only reject spam, gratuitous abuse, and wilful stupidity.