07 September 2007

Wealthy Clarkson Escapes Justice.

There is nothing more I hate than smug gits using their wealth to avoid the laws that everybody else has to abide by. Something should be done about these sort of loopholes used by celebrity lawyers.

Clarkson drove 82mph in a 40 zone. You know it, I know it. How can refusing to name the driver be any sort of defence?

And to rub salt in the wounds - taxpayers have to pay Clarkson his costs!
ARTICLE COMPLETE

47 comments:

  1. So you know better than the CPS now?

    Judge Harding presiding send 'em all down!

    BTW I am no lover of Clarkson by any means, but like the McCanns, you, Neil, have zero evidence.

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  2. Oh come on. Clarkson was renting the car and refuses to name the driver. He deserves a ticket and most people cannot afford lawyers to get them off paying like he can.

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  3. Clarkson was renting the car and refuses to name the driver.

    What is the source of this information?

    Blame the CPS for apparently not being able to do simple paperwork properly. Clarkson's lawyer didn't have to argue with the Magistrates, the CPS gave up. In theory, you or I could do this with a little (or maybe a lot) of research, so it's not just an issue of money.

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  4. urko, the link I provide in the post makes it pretty clear that Clarkson was renting the vehicle at the time the speeding offence took place. The case seems to rest on the fact that because it wasn't under a normal rental agreement, Alfa Romeo would have to specify a driver - which of course only Clarkson would know (as he had the car) but the prosecution are unable to ask Clarkson for this info (for some no doubt stupid libertarian reason about incriminating yourself - thanks again you guys for protecting the wealthy).

    For a lay person to find the legal loopholes necessary and present a reasonable case would probably take a lot of time and as the saying goes 'time is money'.

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  5. I see you don't have any reliable source (I have read that link and it makes no such claim) for your claim.

    As for your huffy "no doubt stupid libertarian reason about incriminating yourself" you illustrate bigotry, ignorance of the law and of this case all in one, but that's OK, becuase in Neil world, any pesky scum you don't like will just be rounded up without the need for expensive libertarian fopishness like trials, juries, and so on.

    I don't personally like Clarkson, but I have no more idea than you (i.e. zero) whether he was driving or not. In any case, the law is pretty strict in this area as you'd know if you did some cursory research instead of whining about people who you think may have more money than you. Refusing to give the name of the driver isn't a defence in itself (otherwise a few other people would be using it), so if Clarkson was driving and the CPS had done the paperwork properly, we wouldn't be having this debate.

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  6. I am only reporting what other sources are.

    It is pretty obvious that he knows who was driving and it was more than likely him. Clarkson's lawyer has found a clever way around it. He is not refusing to answer directly, just stating they cannot ask him the question unless Alfa Romeo (the owners) also know (or something like that).

    The point is he gets off and he shouldn't have done. He employed this celebrity lawyer right from the start. Being the crook he is probably helped him - he has contacts who told him how to get off no doubt.

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  7. From the Sky news link:

    "Mr Clarkson had been accused of failing to name the driver on a speeding ticket, but the case was dropped before it even began."

    Speaking outside court, Mr Freeman said: "The summons was fatally flawed. They did not have any information as to who the driver was. They only had information as to who the car was loaned to.

    "The form wasn't completed correctly."

    He added: "If someone had looked at this process properly it would never have come to court."

    If the CPS cannot fill in a simple form properly, then they need to look at what sort of people they are employing. I would have thought they'd been keen to get it right in such a high profile case. You are right it is galling that we have to pay twice, once for the incompetent people at the CPS to fail to do their job, and once for Clarkson's costs because the CPS couldn't do a simple job.

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  8. Whether the CPS filled the form in correctly or not is not the question I am asking. The question is; did Clarkson know who the driver was (i.e himself most probably as the car was loaned to him).

    Clarkson's lawyer found some procedural technicality to get Clarkson off but that does not alter the fact that Clarkson was speeding, got out of paying the fine and also got the taxpayer to pay his lawyer. Justice it is not.

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  9. I agree it's not justice. Blame the CPS. Why can't you blame them Neil?

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  10. I blame Clarkson because most people would not have found this loophole and would have paid the fine straight away without going to court and costing the taxpayer a fortune. Clarkson did the crime but refuses to pay the fine. You know it, I know it and so does he. He is immoral and smug and deserves punishment.

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  11. He is immoral and smug and deserves punishment.

    So are you Neil (In my not very humble opinion), but I'm not calling for departure from the judicial process in order to administer the punishment you so richly deserve.

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  12. urko: The difference is I have not been caught speeding and hired a lawyer to get out of paying the fine.

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  13. neil is a dick head9/12/07 6:13 pm

    However much you dislike Mr Clarkson changing the law to ensure people like him are convicted would also lead to a large number of people who are innocent being convicted.

    I for one think the current situation is infinitely preferable to getting convictions for things you have not done, destroying the respect and credibility of out police and government.

    Put up with it and quit moaning. The idea that every person who commits a crime will allways be punished for it is a utopian dream.

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  14. No system is perfect and perhaps you are right in most circumstances, but these wealthy people getting off on a legal technicality rather than an actual legitimate reason surely should be corrected.

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  15. A legal technicality is a legitimate reason otherwise we would have an arbitrary justice system. It is annoying, it seems unfair but your way is worse.

    We do not have justice because that is impossible to achieve. We have the law and must work within those boundaries because to ignore them means that have no way ahead at all.

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  16. Falco, no system is perfect but that doesn't mean loopholes shouldn't be closed. It may be a constant race between these 'law dodgers' finding loopholes and the legislators, but that doesn't mean the legislators should just give up.

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  17. I am not suggesting that loopholes should not be closed where appropriate. What you have been suggesting is that despite Clarkson getting off because of the CPS's incompetence he should still be convicted. Hence your way is worse.

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  18. I think the case should be resubmitted and Clarkson tried properly rather than getting away on a technicality. What is wrong with that?

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  19. What is wrong with that is that once you have tried and failed to convict someone that should be it. You cannot keep having the same trial over and over again until you get the answer that you want.

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  20. Yeah, but Clarkson was not tried was he? He avoided a trial which is not the same thing.

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  21. They made the attempt to convict him, the system failed. That is a great argument for fixing the system but not for bringing back to court. By all means catch him if he breaks the law but the file regarding the current allegation has to close.

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  22. Well, there was an attempt to have a trial but no evidence was allowed to be put forward because of a silly clerical error. Would you be happy with Huntley getting off on such a technicality?

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  23. Happy no. Do I think it better than arbitrary justice? Yes. Would you haul the Guildford Four back into court?

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  24. If compelling new evidence presented itself that pointed to them having done a crime (even if they have already been aquitted of it) they should be re-tried. Thankfully this double jeopardy rule has now been changed so this can happen - the Stephen Lawrence murderers are an example. I think Clarkson should have a proper trial not get off because a procedure was missed by some admin clerk.

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  25. It is far from the realms of possibility that the right people were convicted but because of the various fuck ups and dodgy practices you have to let them go. That was entirely the right thing to do however disteressing it is to do. The system has to be hit hard when it fails or more and more failure will creep in.

    Double jeopardy was only abondoned, with a great deal of unease, because of the dramatic advances in forensic science. It is unlikely that we will see such a significant leap forward in this area for a very long time, the idea behind the double jeopardy rules were well founded and in a few decades should be brought back.

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  26. You really show your true colours as a reactionary in this thread, deriding such things as the right not to be forced to bear witness against yourself, and be tried twice for the same crime. Sickening stasi-lover, you try to couch it in the language of class war, when it's the working classes that suffer most under this authoritarian wetdream you love so much.

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  27. I've posted a more general look at the problem at:

    http://tinyurl.com/3ygsn6

    Comments welcome.

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  28. Innocent until proven guilty Harding. The burden of proof is on the CPS. They don't know who the driver was, they don't have any evidence that Clarkson was the driver. Pretty clear-cut case if you ask me. The "evidence" was entirely circumstantial.

    Liebour may be turning England into a police state at breakneck speed but they haven't managed to abolish the constitutional right to the presumption of innocence. Yet.

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  29. Neil,

    You seem to think that Mr Clarkson's actions were purely selfish. Now I have no doubt that his actions were based on altruism, but perhaps you should think on this:

    Thanks to his expenditure of his loot Jeremy Clarkson has made a valuable point of law widely known (something to which, you are contributing). Others will not now have to spend large sums.

    And as for the fact that the CPS has to pay his costs. Perhaps the pain of expenditure and ridicule will teach the lawyers to prepare better cases before rushing to court.

    As to the claim "it's obvious"; to most people it was "obvious" OJ Simpson was guilty of the murder of his ex-wife. But the prosecutors were unable to provide sufficient evidence to send him to gaol for the rest of his life, perhaps even death row. Should he have been sent anyway?

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  30. What a strange, stunted sense of morality one needs to use the word 'libertarian' as an insult.

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  31. David, being a true libertarian is noble, these people only claim to be libertarians. I do not mean to use the word as an insult, just highlight those who abuse the word.

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  32. wonkotsane - "they don't have any evidence that Clarkson was the driver"

    Is it beyond reasonable doubt? If someone hires a car it is reasonable to assume that they are the driver or at least know who the driver was. Whether this has been nailed down in law or not, Clarkson is still morally wrong to avoid this fine.

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  33. Neil, you're wrong. The law says that the driver of the vehicle is responsible. If I rent a chainsaw from a tool hire shop and then you use it to chop up someone's garden fence, should I be the one who gets prosecuted?

    What you are suggesting here is that the presumption of innocence is set aside. The fact that the CPS are involved means that it was a criminal matter, not civil. Conviction on the balance of probability is something you only get in civil cases, not in criminal. In civil cases the onus is on the plaintiff to establish that on the balance of probability the defendent committed the offence. In criminal cases the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendent committed a criminal offence. The CPS do not know who was driving the vehicle and therefore cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was driving it.

    If you are advocating balance of probability for criminal cases where will you draw the line? Are you suggesting that a magistrate should decide whether, on balance of probability, a suspected murderer killed someone? Or is it, perhaps, the traditional socialist jealousy of anyone with more money than you? If it is, you're in the wrong party comrade - Liebour isn't socialist any more.

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  34. wonkotsane: This shouldn't have been settled on criminal law - that only happened because Clarkson took it that far. Clarkson was responsible for that vehicle he should have got the £60 fine and 3 points - end of story. Even if legally he is in the right, morally he is corrupt. The law is an ass.

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  35. Neil, I'm sorry but you clearly have absolutely no understanding of the law. It was a criminal matter whether he went to court or not. There is no reregulation of speeding offences like there is with parking tickets. It is a criminal offence.

    Do you understand where the right to trial by jury comes from? It is a constitutional right guaranteed by Magna Carta. Are you suggesting that Clarkson should have been denied a constitutional right that has existed since the 1200's because he's rich?

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  36. Hey Neil.

    Are you some kind of whinging, work shy leftie with a small dick or a pleasant guy with a nice job who just happens to come accross as a WWSLWASD!

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  37. This shouldn't have been settled on criminal law - that only happened because Clarkson took it that far

    It was settled by criminal law because it is a criminal matter. Anyone accused of a criminal offence has the legal and moral right to use whatever *lawful* devices at their disposal to defend themselves. That is a non-negotiable aspect of a civil and free society, governed by the rule of law. If you want to abandon the rule of law in order to 'get' a rich idiot who was probably speeding, but the state cannot adduce sufficient evidence to convict, then I would consider you to be profoundly more dangerous to my health and the health of society than any number of idiot speeders.

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  38. Stephen: The trouble is, the 'rule of law' favours the rich. I want to address this problem, nothing else.

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  39. Neil, that's not true at all. The law applies equally to everyone (except the Queen). Clarkson didn't get away with breaking the law, he got off because he didn't break the law. Criminal law is very straight forward - there is no balance of probibility, just the simple question of whether the law has been broken by the defendent or not. The CPS didn't provide any evidence that Clarkson had broken the law, you cannot be convicted of a criminal offence on the basis of heresey or opinion.

    If you want to make changes to the "rule of law" then you would be better off diverting your energies into campaigning for the constitution to be respected and upheld. If it was then we would all have to be convicted by a lawful trial by jury of our peers for every parking ticket, speeding fine, etc.

    It's pretty clear that you are in favour of summary justice and the presumption of guilt like the eurofederalist traitors running the Liebour party and destroying our country but English constitutional law says that they are both illegal. If we can't rely on the british government to uphold our centuries-old constitutional rights and liberties then it's time for a regime change as soon as possible.

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  40. The trouble is, the 'rule of law' favours the rich

    That is absolutely untrue. The rule of law protects everyone. Even those Labour party officials embroiled in the cash for honours scandal. If there is any issue, it is that the government has cut back on legal aid so that proper legal representation is far more difficult to get than it used to be. But that is not an issue with the law, it is an issue with the immorality of this government.

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  41. Stephen, Wonkotsane: Agree with you about the cutbacks in legal aid. However youl oook at it, we cannot get away from the fact that you need money to get around these laws. Someone without Clarkson's money would have paid the fine (whether there was just cause or not).

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  42. I wouldn't have paid, I can make exactly the same argument as Clarkson's lawyer made. Ignorance of the law is what leads to a lot of small-scale injustice. The British government won't encourage people to learn about their constitutional rights and liberties because they might start demanding them and then where would we be? Imagine the chaos if the British government wasn't allowed to deprive us of our constitutional rights whenever they felt like it.

    Do I detect a small change in your opinion Neil?

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  43. Someone without Clarkson's money would have paid the fine (whether there was just cause or not)

    So don't you think it would be more appropriate to rail against that injustice? No one should have to plead guilty to an offence simply because they do not have the financial means to dispute it. I find it dismaying that your response to such injustice is not to propose means to solve it but to spread it those who do have the means to defend themselves.

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  44. If you're arrested you have the right to request a solicitor be provided for you free of charge whether you're a penniless tramp or a billionaire. Why not the same right in criminal trials?

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  45. If you're arrested you have the right to request a solicitor be provided for you free of charge whether you're a penniless tramp or a billionaire. Why not the same right in criminal trials?

    Because it costs money. Labour has justified the cutting back of legal aid, and the capping of compensation to victims of miscarriage of justice, as 'rebalancing' the criminal justice system. It is nothing of the sort. Ensuring that the accused have appropriate legal representation is as much part of the criminal justice system as compensating victims of crime. Unforntuanately, Labour in power is just as reactionary and ignorant as the Tories in power. The thinking is 'why should we provide adequate counsel for defendants when they are probably guilty anyway' and 'wrongly convicted people probably just got off on a techincality'. Every day that passes, makes Labour look more like the Daily Mail in power.

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  46. Stephen, Wonkotsane: No change of opinion from me on this. Wealth should not be a factor in conviction, we can agree on that. Unfortunately it is a factor. Currently lawyers have financial incentives (from legal aid and from the rich) to make the case as complicated and expensive as possible and get people off on technicalities whether they are guilty or not. The top lawyers are running a closed shop to protect their ridiculously high wages and it not good value for us taxpayers. Labour have (wrongly) decided to make cutbacks in legal aid rather than take on the lawyers vested interests. All I want to do is close these technical loopholes that the rich exploit, so that people (if they are guilty) get convicted. That is all, it is not about wanting a police state or being a nazi or anything else people might think of me.

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  47. Neil, you keep saying he got off on a technicality but he didn't. It's not a loophole, it's the law. If the CPS had any evidence that Clarkson was the driver of that car then he would have been found guilty but they didn't have any evidence and so he wasn't found guilty. You are of the opinion that he was guilty and he probably was but "probably" isn't good enough for a criminal offence.

    If someone "gets off on a technicality" then they haven't got away with committing a crime, they haven't committed a crime. It's like parking tickets - if a parking ticket has "date of issue" instead of "date of offence" on it then the ticket is invalid. Someone getting one of those tickets and not having to pay the fine isn't "getting off" - the law says that they only have to pay if the ticket says "date of offence". If someone breaks a speed limit because the signs are in kph rather than mph then they haven't broken the law because the law says that only mph speed limits are valid. Again, it's not "getting off" - the law hasn't been broken.

    Like I've said a few times now, in criminal cases there is no balance of probability. Either someone has committed an offence or they haven't.

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