The RSPCA, the judge and *that* hunting court case

December 22nd, 2012 § 5 comments § permalink

(I’m doing this on my phone so you don’t get any links and spelling/names might be slightly out.)

The RSPCA prosecuted the Heythorpe Hunt, David Camerons’ local hunt, for deliberately hunting with dogs. The hunt admitted their guilt and it cost the RSOCA approx £330,000 as they brought their own prosecution rather than leave it to the CPS.

The judge in the case made comment along the lines of the RSPCA being a bit silly and that amount of money could’ve been spent better elsewhere. Presumably stopping poor people killing animals for fun in council estates rather than stopping rich people killing animals for fun in the countywide.

The defendants also made claim that this prosecution was politically motivated because the prime minister has ridden with them a few times.

Two things here.

1. I’m pretty sure if the RSPCA had evidence of other hunts hunting dogs on purpose and not just losing control of the dogs, then they’d prosecute. To gather evidence to a standard where one can prove a hunt is deliberately going after foxes is notoriously difficult. Which is partly the second point.

2. For the judge to comment in his closing speech (or whatever it’s called) on the cost and what the prosecutors should do with their money instead is completely outrageous.

The court case is for someone to defend themselves against specific allegations of law breaking. The accuser is not on trial, if the accuser is bringing a private prosecution it is not up to the judge to tell them they should be spending their money elsewhere. The judge should deal with the case and that’s it.

The judge though, by bringing up how much the RSPCA had to spend to get this case to court, raises an important point – the cost of the law. Ask anyone that has has serious dealings with the law and they will agree. The law is not for the poor man but how much it costs is not a debate for a court case.

The RSPCA said they brought the case because they had no faith in the CPS, and they’re probably right. To get the evidence of deliberately hunting with dogs is extremely time consuming and I guess to get a successful prosecution a prosecutor actually needs to be there at the time. It’s probably quite hard to prove the ‘deliberate’ part after the event, and the police etc cannot be there at every hunt meeting just in case, that really would cause an outrage.

Private or public prosecution, it is not up to the judge to decide whether it is a waste of money or not. His job is to preside over the court and ensure justice is done. This judge should be seriously reprimanded.

Terms and Conditions

December 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Instagram has taken some shit over the last couple of days for it’s new terms and conditions.

You don’t fuck up, especially when you have the sort of money Instagram have, via their owners Facebook, when writing you’re T’s & C’s.

I hesitate to raise the Instagram topic on here. The controversial terms and conditions and subsequent ‘clarification’ have already received wall-to-wall coverage elsewhere.

But there’s a writing angle to the whole thing that needs some airing. The whole story is already being co-opted as a case study in the importance of clear communication and getting the tone right. This worries me, because that’s exactly what it isn’t, at least not in the way that’s being suggested.

This was the main offending paragraph in the terms and conditions:

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

There is nothing wrong with the tone of this paragraph. It scores highly on clarity, using plain language, active verbs, personal pronouns (us and you) – all the things writers go on about every day.

There is a lot wrong with the content of the paragraph, at least according to thousands of Instagram users. But that’s not a language issue – it’s a policy issue. Any writers trying to use this as an example of the importance of ‘tone of voice’ are misinterpreting the problem. To an expert in tone of voice, every problem looks like a tone of voice issue.

The situation isn’t helped by Instagram’s disingenuous ‘clarification’, which tries to imply that this was all a miscommunication caused by ‘confusing’ language.

Again, this statement from Instagram has been hailed in various places as a good example of crisis communication – clear and helpful in the way the Ts and Cs weren’t.

But again, this is completely wrong. The Ts and Cs were absolutely clear, even if their content was controversial.

By contrast, the ‘clarification’ is slippery, mealy-mouthed and contradictory.

Read the rest.

Catch my whimsical, non-filtered images here.

via @MooseAllain

NZ Police reveal how they harass people

September 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

New Zealand Police Association

A North Island police station received this question from a resident through the feedback section of a local Police website:

“I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?”

In response, a sergeant posted this reply:

First of all, let me tell you this … it’s not easy. In the Palmerston North and rural area we average one cop for every 505 people. Only about 60 per cent of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as “general patrols”) where we do most of our harassing.
The rest are in non-harassing units that do not allow them contact with the day to day innocents. At any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60 per cent of general patrols are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So, roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 6000 residents.
When you toss in the commercial business and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 15,000 or more people a day.
Now, your average eight-hour shift runs 28,800 seconds long. This gives a cop two-thirds of a second to harass a person, and then only another third of a second to drink a Massey iced coffee AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to the challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilise some tools to help us narrow down those people we can realistically harass.

Read the rest.

via the excellent Scaryduck

Daily Mail takes down

August 16th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

The Daily Mail has sent a letter to shutting it down.

I’ve written about istyosty several times and if you’re not a regular reader this post explains what it’s all about.

Anyway, as of now istyosty is no longer cacheing the Mail, the Sun or the Express. If istyosty hadn’t of complied, the Mail would’ve chased for £150,000 per cached article plus legal expenses. They didn’t like the bit on istyostys’ ‘about’ page that detailed how it reduced hits and consequently ad revenue. Just as predicted, the Mails wallet is its’ soft spot.

The Mail also are under the impression that Istyosty is making money off the back of it…

Your deliberate attempt to interfere with Associated o’hits” Newspapers’ ability to get valuable to its website, through the willful infringement of our clientls copyrights, are irreparably damaging to Associated News. Under the law, Associated News is entitled not only to injunctive relief against you, but also is entitled to receive awards of damages, recovery of your ill-gotten profits, and to recover the attorneys’ fees and costs it incurs as a result of your violations of law.
Statutory damages alone may be awarded in the amount of $ 150,000 per work infringed under the U.S. Copyright Act,17 USC $101, et seq.

Istyosty did not use the Mails identifying features, logos etc to advertise itself, the only time they appeared was when a cached page was brought up.

As you can see from this cache of Istyostys’ frontpage, there are no adverts. As Istyostys’ cache process stripped the adverts from the Mails pages there were no adverts on those pages either. No adverts, no income generated.

Anyway, as usual, Istyosty doesn’t have the resources to contest this latest threat from the Mail and so has to close.

A good tool for media watchers, and one that the Mail obviously felt it had to take seriously.

It was good while it lasted. Thank you Istyosty.

The take down notice can be seen here (.pdf), or I have a copy here.

Defending Fred, sort of…

May 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Fred Goodwins’ superinjunction has been, at least, partially lifted. We can all now know, legally, that Fred ‘The Shred’ has been bonking a colleague. Don’t we all feel better and more informed now?

The issue of superinjunctions is a hot one at the moment. Freedom of speech (or expression as some are saying) versus someones’ right to privacy. The press are scared that they won’t be able to report on vital establishment-shaking issues and people are worried that anything goes and will have to spend a fortune in the courts when their shit hits the fan, or newstand.

One of the arguements the press use is that with these injuctions they won’t be able to expose all these celebrities and public figures for the hypocrits they are. Fair enough, but who is a celebrity? What makes a public figure?

Sometimes it’s easy to say. An MP is a public figure, the leader of a campaign is open to scrutiny, the sportstar that uses his/her image to advertise stuff. They are all trying to influence the public to behave in a certain way. If they are not true to their word then fair enough, a charge of hypocrasy should be called and they shoudl have to defend themselves. They have, though, put themselves forward. They decided to enter the public concience in a certain way.

But what of the likes of Fred Goodwin. He was just a banker. Fred didn’t put himself in the public domain, he was thrust into it due to circumstance. Fred didn’t shout that we shouldn’t be doing drugs or being faithful to our spouses while snorting a barrel full of cocaine out the anus of a prostitute while his good little wife waited at home, sat at the table looking at an empty chair while dinner their plated up dinner slowly went cold. He ran a bank. No one, outside a very small circle, before the banking crises had heard of him.

So while the hoo-ha about his running of the bank or his massive pension agreement could be a fair target why should his choice of sexual partner be up for all and sundry to know about?

Fred was apparently shagging a colleague. How does that change things? Lots of people fuck someone they work with. It might cause a bit of concern if it’s the government defence secretary having secret liasons, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the liason is a honeytrap, but a banker? Does it really have any bearing on anything?

Fred Goodwin may be a national bogeyman, but the fact that he is not a public figure of his own making means he shouldn’t have needed an injunction to supress this little bit of his life that is of no consequence of anybody except those close to him, such as his wife and family.

It is entirely possible for this affair to have had some bearing of the massive losses RBS suffered, making it in need of govenrment help, in which case the press would be legitimate in it’s publication. There is nothing wrong with the press investigating this stuff, that is what they need to do to expose hypocracy and shadowy dealings that are of genuine public interest, but when there is no connection between his affair and (his part in) the collapse of the UK banking industry then there is no need to run it.

This obsession of the printed Press with who is shagging who is what is causing this, what seems to be, sudden flurry of injunctions. If the press stuck to what was important and relevant, there wouldn’t be any need for these people to try and gag the editors freedom of speech.

I understand that an MP might want to use Parliamentary privilege to smash an injunction, in the case of Trafigura for instance, but why the hell did the LibDem MP John Hemming think it’s anyones business who the fuck is fucking who?

MPs’ need to stop buggering about with this and either leave superinjuctions alone unless there is serious public interest being censured or debate it and sort out a proper privacy law.

Common sense Law

May 4th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

This is exactly why law should not be made from religious beliefs.
Lord Justice Law (do you reckon he changed his name just to be that cool?)…

In the eye of everyone save the believer religious faith is necessarily subjective, being incommunicable by any kind of proof or evidence. It may of course be true; but the ascertainment of such a truth lies beyond the means by which laws are made in a reasonable society. Therefore it lies only in the heart of the believer, who is alone bound by it. No one else is or can be so bound, unless by his own free choice he accepts its claims.

read the whole post from Heresy Corner.

Politico vs Tory-Politico

February 4th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Tory Politico has received a Nasty-O-Gram from an organisation calling themselves Politico

(click to enlarge)

The letter then goes on to explain how people are going to get confused between an American “media company covering national politics and Washington governance” and a British blogger that talks about British politics from a Conservative angle.

Oh, they also want Tory Politicos’ domain name.

First of all, who the fuck uses Alexia to gauge a website? No fucker I’ve heard of.
Secondly, 57.3% of TPs’ visitors are from the UK, according to Alexia. So, the vast majority then, and even more so for visitors of TPs’ site that get routed through a foreign country for some reason, like AOL. As TP points out…

While I can understand why they are saying only 57% of visitors are from the UK this is a wholly false claim. According to Google Analytics, which has been tracking traffic since the site launched, 85% of readers are from the UK with only 5% coming from within the United States.

Thirdly, what sort of fucking lawyer uses the word ‘presumably’? This smells like a fishing expedition to me.
Fourthly, the word ‘politico‘ is a word that is in common usage, as opposed to a word made up especially for a product or brand, and so is not copyrightable.

This isn’t the first time Politicos’ lawyers have surprised someone

The College Politico has received a cease-and-desist letter from lawyers for Politico, demanding that he stop using the word “Politico” in his name — and that he give them control of his domain.

It doesn’t look like Politico have won that one (yet) as The College Politico is still going.

But there’s more. And it’s quite shitty too…

Dear Reader:

Faced with a trademark legal challenge and protracted litigation by the publishers of the newspaper and website ¨Politico,¨we have reluctantly chosen to change the name of our publication, from“La Política” to “CandidatoUSA.”

Politico won that one. The letter continues with how it happened…

The publishers of Politico – launched in January by Washington D.C.-based Allbritton Communications, also owners of seven ABC television affiliates and three other news channel outlets – claim La Politica infringes on their trademark.

The name change odyssey began,without our knowledge, on July 11when Jim VanderHei, Politico’s co-founder and editor, called me.

He had heard of our plans to launch La Política and wanted to know more. I gave him details of
our preparations to launch an electronic trade newsletter on the business of reaching Hispanic voters.

At his suggestion, we agreed to talk again after the launch of La Política on November 5 to explore avenues of collaboration between Politico and our publication.

It sounds promising for La Politica. Not even launched yet and already someone backed by a big news company is interested in working with them.

We did launch on November 5. But next day, instead of a call from VanderHei, we received a two-page aggressive and threatening letter from Politico’s attorney demanding that we “cease and desist” from the use of the La Política name because they hold a registered trade mark in the term “The Politico.”

This is Jim VandeHei. I would post a picture of him but, well, given his history…

The chap behind La Politica wrote to Jim and even offered to go to Washington to talk about how they might resolve this nicely, but no. That didn’t work.
Anyway, because of the money behind Politico, La Politica capitulated and La Politica now points to

I have no idea how this is going to play out, whether TP being British based is going to work in his favour or he will just end up being extradited, or if Politico are gonna leave it and are just trying their luck, but what ever happens, I wish you the best of luck with it, Tory Politico.

Legal help

January 26th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

What I like about this country, is that for those most in need, those that can’t afford it themselves, there is legal aid provided for them.

[title removed due to possible copyright infringement]

January 21st, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

A Belgian couple are sueing some magazines for infringing copyright on a photo of themselves. Only not all of the magazines they are suing published the photo some only mentioned it.
Tech Dirt

‘a mere reference to an image should be considered a reproduction of the image’!”


via 21st Century Fix

Bed & Breakfast curtesy of HM

May 30th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

“It’s wrong to refer to the deductions as ‘bed and breakfast’ as they are made in respect of the costs an individual would have had to pay out of their net income on things such as a mortgage or rent.”

Said a Ministry Of Justice statement.

This refers to Warren Blackwell, who was imprisoned for three and a half years for a crime he didn’t commit and is about the compensation he is going to receive, thought to be about £100k, which will be deducted almost £7000 for expenses he would’ve saved on, stuff like rent and food, whilst in prison.

Did you notice the Doublespeak that goes with the Orwellian name of Ministry of Justice:

  • “…wrong to refer to the deductions as ‘Bed & Breakfast’
  • “…would have to pay…such things as a mortgage or rent”

    The Ministry of Justice has done an assessment and come to this figure, and will make the deduction because the compensation is “to put an individual back into the financial position they would have been in but for the miscarriage of justice, but not to a better position.”

    Now, I do not know Warren, so I don’t know whether he was employed or not or what his finances were when he went into prison, but I do know that he is married and has a 7 year old son. His wife has still had to pay a mortgage/rent, that doesn’t reduce when one less person is living there. How could the MoJ predict what Warrens employment status could’ve been during those 3.5 years of imprisonment? Three and a half years is a long time, most people do not know if they will still be with the same company in three and a half years time, or unemployed, etc so how the bloody hell is the Govt. supposed to know?

    Mr Blackwell couldn’t have been in prison, and yet he is having to reimburse the Govt. for his stay. The people who put themselves in prison by committing crimes do not have to pay a thing. If that is the way the Govt. wants to go, why not introduce two new schemes, Pay as You Go for occasional sinners, who will have a short stay every few years and Pay Monthly for the biggies that do years.

    There is also no mention of anything to compensate Warren for missing out on three and a half years of his son growing up, who was 3 when Warren went into prison, and is now 7. Those years can never be replaced or returned and children change so quickly at that age that money cannot ever help to undo the loss, but it would be a gesture.

    On a related note, Mr Blackwells accuser remains anonymous and has a history of falsely accusing men:

  • Has made at least five other fake allegations of sexual and physical assault to police in three separate forces.
  • Was married twice and made false allegations against both husbands – one of whom was a policeman.
  • Once accused her own father of sexual assault, but police concluded she had made it up.
  • Accused a boy of rape when she was a teenager, only for a doctor to discover she was still a virgin.
  • The CCRC concluded that in the case of Mr Blackwell, she had “lied about the assault and was not attacked at all, her injuries being self-inflicted”.

    Whilst this lady obviously has some mental problems, and Warrens has had a (relatively) good outcome, it is often not the case and the man has his life ruined and the woman remains anonymous.

    Related Post: Obsolete – Injustice Multiplied Part Two


  • Where Am I?

    You are currently browsing the law and legal category at Sim-O.