Andrew Mitchell MP

thirdcrank
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thirdcrank » 25 Dec 2012, 9:18pm

I don't think I've suggested that offences involving perverting the course of justice are anything but serious - on the contrary - although, as I've already said, if there's anything I've posted that needs clarification, I'll try to provide it. Misconduct in a public office is a common law offence - one of the few which survive. By this, I mean it's something invented by a judge in a bygone era, rather than enshrined in an Act of Parliament. Once upon a time, most of our laws were common law offences, but most of those have either been modernised by statute (recent examples here would be the serious public order offences such as riot) or abolished (as were the criminal libels I mentioned earlier in the tread.) As for the punishment, it's more accurate to say that as it's not fixed by statute, it's entirely at the discretion of the judge, within the available sentencing options (so hanging drawing and quartering is now taboo.) As I probably posted higher up, I think this was pretty much one of those legal curiosities until the IPCC decided it would fit the bill. All after I retired so I've no relevant experience. In the circumstances, there doesn't seem to be any point in my commenting on the need for relevant evidence to prove a specific charge.

Having decided to do a bit of speculation of my own, I've come up with a bit of a theory about what's going on now. It's been reported that AM has written to both Mr Ho-Ho and the officer leading the inquiries. There was a report in the Daily T the other day about that correspondence which said that "sources close to Mt Mitchell" :roll: had said something along the lines that he had no confidence in the Met Commissioner. Sources close to the Govt's spin doctors are also putting it about that there's a police conspiracy to to smear AM and through him the entire tory party. I've already mentioned the possibility of some sort of action for defamation. It's worth bearing in mind that the Police Act 1964 made it possible for somebody seeking damages to sue a chief officer as "joint tortfeasor" for the torts of one of his officers. It doesn't mean that the chief officer picks up the tab personally, but I wonder if this is all intended to distance the Metropolitan Police from whatever has happened. I'm not implying anybody has done anything wrong because I don't know.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++==
squeaker:

Is this part of a Christmas challenge to see how far I can be tempted to go off at a tangent? :oops:

I did play hockey for Leeds City Police at the time you mention, but not very well. We had some excellent police players not all, by any means, members of Leeds City Police but we were the only men's police team around here. We also had some "civvie" members and I suspect we played some ringers. We've often fielded a team containing more sikhs than there might have been in all the police forces in England and Wales at that time. I only remember one game in which I was selected - and I use the word in it's loosest sense - to play against a Leeds University team. There had been some sort if fixture mix-up in that we were hosting some sort of a mini-tournament at Gledhow (our ground) with other police teams including the RUC. late in the day, somebody realised we had a "friendly" :lol: against a Leeds University 17th team (or whatever.) Anyway, I was one of a team of eight despatched to Lawnswood toplay the students. IIRC, only one other member of our side had played the game before and, although he was younger than me and gifted in every sport he played, he was a chain-smoker and played most of the game with a fag in the corner of his mouth. The other six of out team were soccer players prepared to try anything for a laugh. Had it been any other opponents in the county, we'd have evened out the numbers or some hockey-playing spectators would have been pressed into service but we played that game as 8 against 11. It was a massacre of course (and the score was pretty one-sided as well :wink: ) Talking of ringers, they seemed to have a lot of players with some form of Tourette's Syndrome. (Sorry if that bit of canteen humour is not PC) We returned to Gledhow to join in the hospitality for our visitors and it turned out there had been a couple of dozen of our better players on the touchline there. When you first had me reminiscing, I thought that had been the end of my hockey playing days but it cannot have been because the donkey wallopers, by whom we were taken over in 1974 had a ladies team and we started playing mixed fixtures. The main thing I remember was that women's hockey had a different offside rule - 3 players IIRC - so they could always leave somebody to keep the goalkeeper company. As an occasional keeper, I had some long chats with a lady full back who would have been a good six inches taller than me. No jokes about fun in the showers, please. :D

Shootist
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby Shootist » 25 Dec 2012, 9:28pm

Steady rider wrote:In practical terms it would have involved probably 3 days and at least 500 miles of travel to attend one court hearing. If any delays or appeals were involved it could have taken more time. I made my points to the court with fuil details.


I doubt that the £30 fine you paid was anything other than a fixed penalty, and as such was not a fine and goes nowhere near a court unless it's not paid. Fixed penalties are a bit like an official bribe. Pay up and you don't go to court. You paid it, and the clerk in the fixed penalty officer probably didn't even look at your point with full details. He simply didn't need to. His job was finished the moment payment was received.

I understand the issues relating to distance, but it would have been possible to have the hearing moved to a court local to you.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
[George Orwell]

Shootist
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby Shootist » 25 Dec 2012, 9:44pm

thirdcrank wrote:I don't think I've suggested that offences involving perverting the course of justice are anything but serious - on the contrary - although, as I've already said, if there's anything I've posted that needs clarification, I'll try to provide it. Misconduct in a public office is a common law offence - one of the few which survive. By this, I mean it's something invented by a judge in a bygone era, rather than enshrined in an Act of Parliament. Once upon a time, most of our laws were common law offences, but most of those have either been modernised by statute (recent examples here would be the serious public order offences such as riot) or abolished (as were the criminal libels I mentioned earlier in the tread.) As for the punishment, it's more accurate to say that as it's not fixed by statute, it's entirely at the discretion of the judge, within the available sentencing options (so hanging drawing and quartering is now taboo.) As I probably posted higher up, I think this was pretty much one of those legal curiosities until the IPCC decided it would fit the bill. All after I retired so I've no relevant experience. In the circumstances, there doesn't seem to be any point in my commenting on the need for relevant evidence to prove a specific charge.


Perhaps unintentionally, you do seem to trivialise common law offences. I seem to recollect that Murder remains a common law offence 'against the peace'. And, of course, the sentence is fixed by law as one of life imprisonment. Given the current state of law enforcement in this country, I think that there was much to be said for the old common law.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
[George Orwell]

TonyR
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby TonyR » 25 Dec 2012, 11:15pm

thirdcrank wrote:I don't think I've suggested that offences involving perverting the course of justice are anything but serious - on the contrary - although, as I've already said, if there's anything I've posted that needs clarification, I'll try to provide it. Misconduct in a public office is a common law offence - one of the few which survive.


English Law is a Common Law system and much/most of it is still based on Common Law not Statutory Law. Common Law also plays a major role in the interpretation of Statutory Law by the Courts.

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squeaker
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP - Christmas diversion

Postby squeaker » 25 Dec 2012, 11:28pm

thirdcrank wrote:squeaker:

Is this part of a Christmas challenge to see how far I can be tempted to go off at a tangent? :oops:

I did play hockey for Leeds City Police at the time you mention, but not very well.

S'all right: that was about my level too :lol:

Merry Christmas
"42"

thirdcrank
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thirdcrank » 25 Dec 2012, 11:40pm

squeaker

Forgot to mention: if we did meet, you'd surely remember me as the one with the Ernie Wise dimensions, possibly on a bike with hockey stick fastened to the top tube and head. (I never had one of those spring-loaded carriers made by Terrys IIRC.) I must say that I don't remember any child prodigies on tricycles turning out for the other lot. :roll:

Not much of Christmas left as I type so "Happy New Year!"
===========================================================
STOP PRESS

Under the headline "SENIOR TORY QUESTIONS MITCHELL ACCOUNT" today's Daily T quotes Michel Fabricant MP.

You couldn't er, ..... make it up. :lol:

(With apologies to those who think I'm being flippant.)

We should point out that everybody stronlgy denies any wrongdoing (especially me.)

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squeaker
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP - Christmas diversion

Postby squeaker » 26 Dec 2012, 10:47am

thirdcrank wrote:I must say that I don't remember any child prodigies on tricycles turning out for the other lot. :roll:
That trike died fairly quickly due to my habit of stopping by riding into solid things - the forks got terminally re-modeled :)
At Leeds Uni the bike I'd had as a teenager (had some sort of hub gear / derailleur combination - which probably explains my weakness for hub gears) got nicked from a locked garage at the back of my digs in Meanwood Road, which led to me being 'without bikes' for at least six years - tricycles only made a recent reappearance in my life ;)
Happy New Year!
"42"

thirdcrank
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP - Christmas diversion

Postby thirdcrank » 26 Dec 2012, 11:15am

squeaker wrote: ... At Leeds Uni the bike I'd had as a teenager .... got nicked from a locked garage at the back of my digs in Meanwood Road, which led to me being 'without bikes' for at least six years - ...


It's probably of little comfort to know that since I was a detective constable in that neck of the woods from 1972 to 1974, I may have been part of the hand-picked team deployed to investigate your burglary, although I supect you had already escaped from the fair City of Leeds before that. (At least if your bike had been discovered, I'd have known the difference between your Sturmey Archer and my elbow.)

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby SilverBadge » 26 Dec 2012, 11:33pm

thirdcrank wrote: For the life of me, I can't see how specifically not acting as a police officer can amount to abusing the office. as for the admissibility of evidence there are various conditions to be met. The most obvious here is relevance, in the sense that it has to contribute towards proving the charge, or if it's produced by the defence, to casting doubt on the prosecution. Apart from that, it has to be properly handled and produced to the court to demonstrate that it is what it appears to be. I've posted a link to the CPS guidance on public justice offences and it gives some detailed info on what has to be proved for specific offences. Incidentally, I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought you once posted about having worked on a police computer database about charge headings and points to prove. If that's the case, did that give you no insight into what I'm saying?
Think that must have been someone else - only thing remotely like that from me was a recent comment that 9 (but not fewer) points cures many motorists' amnesia on how to drive legally.
There are of course two issues here - what happened and what a court will accept definitely happened. The John Terry case is a recent example - we all know what he said, we all "know" that he wasn't repeating someone else's words in a question, the court declares that his testimony fills a scrotum but does constitute reasonable doubt (though it didn't in the ensuing FA disclipinary case).
Pretending not to be a police officer provides greater assistance to his colleague. I personally cannot regard it as a loophole for avoiding public office misconduct. If it isn't some form of offence, I'm surprised he was arrested.

Partly on the basis that people are innocent until proven guilty, the Police Federation and anybody else for that matter is entitled to support - within the law, of course - any of its members who find themself in trouble. That's not condoning crime or anything else, it's following the established legal procedures of the country.

On the matter of the police log, the main substantial issue - as I see it - which is not agreed is the use of the P word. (I hope I'm correct in saying that AM has admitted losing his cool and swearing at the police.) In a court case, other things may assume greater importance, depending on the circumstances, but usually only if they go to proving or disproving the offence(s) charged. An obvious exception is where they tend to undermine a witness's credibilty eg by either showing their memory is bad, or as you seem to be implying, they are telling outright lies.

It's in the nature of the system that the prosecution doesn't release a lot of info, not least because if they do, there's a real chance of the case being dismissed because of prejudicial publicity. (Afaik, this is even stricter in Scotland where the papers may not make any comment about possible proceedings and even material on their websites must be taken down.) "Older readers" may remember the criticism of Ronald Gregory et al at the press conference after the arrest of Peter Sutcliffe AKA "The Yorkshire Ripper."

In due course, a lot more info will come to light, especially if there's a trial. In the meantime, there are a few dots and some people are using their imagination to fill in the lines between and more besides. If any police officers are eventually convicted of public justice offences (or disciplinary charges based on similar facts) I'd expect their punishment to be condign. In the meantime, the law offers them the same protection as everybody else.
I have failed to correctly distinguish between the Police and the Police Federation. Federation can of course provide "support", Police should provide all available evidence, otherwise it's a whitewash. I am aware of cases where the police have witheld information which would show that sworn statements are false. For Ho-Ho to talk of extreme thoroughness and yet state he sees no reason to dispute the officers' logs is a joke. CCTV shows a very brief conversation, no onlookers, no losing of cool but that doesn't exclude swearing in the presence of the officers. Testimony from non-witness shows far too much coincidence in false facts. In those circumstances how much Mitchell swore and what other words he did or didn't use is irrelevant to inaccuracies in the logs.

irc
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby irc » 27 Dec 2012, 12:31am

I keep reading that there were no onlookers there. As AM and one or more off the officers are moving towards the pedestrian gate there are three pedestrians (one standing and two strolling past) on the pavement outside as seen at around 3:05-3:09 at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVXUvCpNaSA

Is three several? Possibly. Were they visibly shocked? Who knows? As their faces are blanked out it is impossible to see on the CCTV how much of their attention, if any, was being directed to the events inside the gates. The wording of the police log was "There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate". Does "present" include walking past? I think so.

Hopefully the ongoing police enquiry with access to the unedited CCTV may get closer to the truth.

thirdcrank
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Dec 2012, 7:23am

SilverBadge

Sorry for wongly thinking you were somebody else. (In fact, when I first saw your username it reminded me that in some police forces, they seems to use the sheriff terminology for supervisors.)

For the rest of it, I've tried to explain how the legal system works and you have preferred your own version ( which I see as influenced by misconceptions.) You are in the sublime position of being able to await your own perfect outcome: either some or all of the people will be prosecuted - when you will have been "right all along" or they won't be prosecuted in which case it will be "a whitewash, as expected."

And I'll repeat that explaining something doesn't amount to condoning it.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby TonyR » 27 Dec 2012, 10:53am

thirdcrank wrote:For the rest of it, I've tried to explain how the legal system works and you have preferred your own version ( which I see as influenced by misconceptions.)


Actually not, and for an ex- police officer you seem to have a worrying misunderstanding of how our legal systems works, dismissing Common Law being the most outstanding example.

You might benefit also from reading the CPS guidelines (and some of the case law) on the charge of misconduct in a public office.

Whether you intend it or not you come over as very defensive of the police in a situation where the restoration of public trust requires open honesty about what has happened not defensiveness.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby Steady rider » 27 Dec 2012, 2:17pm

Setting aside the interesting differences of legal opinions. It just shows how even without a legal requirement to do something, that interaction with the police can lead to a load of problems.

Best that they do not introduce any extra legal requirements for cyclists.

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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby reohn2 » 27 Dec 2012, 2:38pm

13 pages for something which is about as relevent to cycle campaigning&public policy other than the smallest pinch of salt,as the man in the Moon.Whilst a cyclist being killed got less than half the attention,it all goes to show rich,expublic schoolboys get more attention than the rest of us.As for the Met,honest to a man..................possibly :? .
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I cycle therefore I am.

thirdcrank
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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Dec 2012, 3:46pm

TonyR wrote: ... Actually not, and for an ex- police officer you seem to have a worrying misunderstanding of how our legal systems works, dismissing Common Law being the most outstanding example.

You might benefit also from reading the CPS guidelines (and some of the case law) on the charge of misconduct in a public office.

Whether you intend it or not you come over as very defensive of the police in a situation where the restoration of public trust requires open honesty about what has happened not defensiveness.


I can only explain the law as I understand it. Whenever I've been wrong (as to matters of fact, rather than opinion) and somebody has pointed it out, I've been grateful for the correction and have acknowledged it. If I've made mistake which has gone uncorrected, I cannot help that. Whenever I link to something, I do try to read it before doing so. If there is some specific point I've missed, please feel free to explain it with enough detail for me understand. I can't always reply to generalisation and innuendo. I always try to explain my reasoning in some detail.

I stick by what I said about common law offences, although if I've missed anything I'd be happy to acknowledge my error or omission. I was responding to your point about the maximim sentence being life imprisonment. Every statutory offence has the maximum punishment prescribed in its legislation and only the most serious may attract life imprisonment. For the purposes of comparison, the maximum for perjury is 7 years. By coincidence, the obituary for Mr Justice "Porridge" Potts was in the paper only last week. He was the judge at Lord Archer's trial and when sentencing him to four years imprisonment, he was reported as having said something along the lines that it was the worse case of perjury in both his experience and in the reports of other cases he had read in preparing his judgment.

As for how I come across, I can only leave that to others to judge. All I'd ask is that they read what I write. I'll repeat that explaining something isn't condoning it. I really have no axe to grind. Whe I retired, I retired and it was a long time ago now. My only link with the police service now - other than as a member of the public when I need to report things or they make enquiries of me - is as the recipient of an index-linked (AKA gold-plated) occupational pension to which I was entitled under the Police Pension Regulations at the ripe old age of 52 years. I have no chums among serving officers - the majority of currently serving officers will have been children when I left. My personal interest is as a taxpayer and old man.

Talking of retirement and pensions, I'm on the point of spending some of it (pension and time, that is) on a short jolly in Northumberland. I've not managed to get my broadband to work at the hotel where I'm going so "I may be gone for some
time."

=========================================================================

Anxious as ever to be certain of what I'm basing a comment on, I've re-read the the CPS advice on the part of the "Misconduct in a public office offence" which I have said doesn't seem to be covered by an off-duty police officer doing something which is not directly related to their public office (ie the office of constable.) Here it is, in full.

Acting as such

The suspect must not only be a 'public officer'; the misconduct must also occur when acting in that capacity.

It is not sufficient that the person is a public officer and has engaged in some form of misconduct. The mere fact that a person is carrying out general duties as a public officer at the time of the alleged misconduct does not mean he or she is necessarily acting as a public officer in respect of the misconduct.

There must be a direct link between the misconduct and an abuse, misuse or breach of the specific powers and duties of the office or position.

The offence would also not normally apply to the actions of a public officer outside that role, unless the misconduct involved improper use of the public officer's specific powers or duties arising from the public office.

A deliberate misuse by an off-duty police officer of the powers of a constable, for example, may mean that the officer is 'acting as such' by virtue of his or her assumption of the powers of the office. Such a situation might arise if an off-duty police officer arrested an innocent man with whom he had a personal dispute or took steps in order to prevent or frustrate an enquiry.

The principles involved apply equally to holders of all public offices. In the case of a school governor or a local authority official or other such member of a public body, for example, it will be necessary to show that the misconduct was closely connected with exercising (or failing to exercise) the relevant public function.


http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/misc ... index.html

It's possible to quote from that selectively to alter the meaning, but IMO everything after the first sentence qualifies that first sentence. eg preventing or frustrating an inquiry would almost certainly apply if an off-duty officer had contacted somebody, especially somebody who might be expected to take his word, saying I'm PC XXXX. I was of duty when I witnessed this or that. In fact, if it were a criminal investigation, there would almost certainly be perverting justice. In this case, the conduct apparently being investigated includes specifically stepping outside the office. It's not necessary to be a police officer to witness something. Apart from anything else, any other interpretation would imply that whenever the holder of a public office did something wrong in any way connected with their line of duty, they would be liable to prosecution for this offence. I'd suggest a simple test would be to ask whether being the holder of a public office had in any way facilitated the offence ie would not being the holder of a public office prevent others from being able to do it. Anybody can contact an MP with dishonest allegations and if I were defending somebody in this case (Heaven forbid) then one of my first questions to the MP under cross examination would be "How often do you receive untrue allegations?"