Misleading Cases: Reprise
This week on Facebook: It occurs to me in reading the misleading cases of A. P. Herbert that they are as relevant today as at the time they were written. Their context may be somewhat different and certainly society’s views on the freedom the individual are, but the law — far from being less oppressive — insidiously tightens its grip over individual freedoms.
Laws may be capable of doing little good, but we have learnt that they are powerful engines of evil, of consequences which their authors never intended or foresaw but which press hardly and deeply into the lives of ordinary people. T. E. Utley – What Laws May Cure
Sir A. P. Herbert although qualified never practiced law as a profession but his legacy lives on, remembered by geriatrics like me through the trials of Albert Haddock which were made into a television series and avidly watched by me. Unfortunately made at a time when recording medium was very expensive this series, like so many others, have been lost to posterity. However Sir A. P. Herbert’s misleading cases are still available to read.
Monday 16/1/2017 Freedom is not a whimsicality! [Posted by Peter on July 4, 2012]: It is a principle of English law that a person who appears in a police court has done something undesirable, and citizens who take it upon themselves to do unusual actions which attract the attention of the police should be careful to bring these actions into one of the recognised categories of crimes and offences, for it is intolerable that the police should be put to the pains of inventing reasons for finding them undesirable.
Tuesday 17/1/2017 Whom the Gods would destroy [Posted by Peter on October 4, 2014]: Chief Justice Cockburn, on April 29, 1868, reinstated the order of the lower court, reasoning that the Obscene Publications Act allowed banning of a publication if it had a “tendency … to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall.” If any portion of a work was deemed obscene, the entire work could be outlawed.
Wednesday 18/1/2017 A passport and a prerogative to boot. [Posted by Peter on July 12, 2014]: It is admitted by the Crown that that the Foreign Office did, and does, issue instructions to Southern Railway that they carry no person to France except such as exhibit a passport. But the Foreign Office is not entitled to issue an instruction to any subject unless that instruction is authorised by an Act of Parliament or by some still surviving remnant of the prerogative of the Crown.
Thursday 19/1/2017 A Citizen’s Arrest [Posted by Peter on September 21, 2013]: In 1933 Mr Smith seized with force, and detained, a miscreant ripping the tyres off a stationary motor-car. Following the formal arrest by a policeman, the malefactor was prosecuted and punished for his offence; but he issued a counter-summons for assault against Mr. Smith who, on being convicted for carrying out what he saw as his duty, appealed against the conviction.
Friday 20/1/2017 Sir Ethelred & the Sweeney [Posted by Peter on March 2, 2013]: Advocates and judges must – de facto – by their learned counsel, lead a jury of reasonable men in their duty to deliver justice wisely. Indeed, it is on a jury that the reasonable man can be considered a prince, served by the maxim – sapientes principes sapientum congressu [princes become wise by associating with the wise].
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