I see that the popular singer Cliff Richard has been told by the police there will be no further investigation into the claims made against him of sexual abuse of boys. Since this is an issue that invites misunderstanding and even smears, I will, for the avoidance of doubt, say that people who commit sexual assaults on persons under the age of consent should be punished, and the severity of punishment should be related to the victim’s age. This being said, Mr Richard has been accused of “historic sex abuse,” and this should be seen as different from ordinary cases of abuse. Read more
NBThis article is not intended the sway the Jury in any case presently before the courts, but is a purely abstract discussion of how to approach issues related to the age of consent.
I have to register my distaste with the legal case against Adam Johnson, a 28-year-old footballer, or ex-footballer now, with Sunderland, who kissed a 15-year-old and denies doing more than that, although the girl now says otherwise.
Who cares? Why is this man being persecuted? He is not a dirty old man in a rain mac hanging round schoolchildren. He is actually a footballer in his physical prime, actively sought out by girls well past the biological onset of puberty. How could anyone believe that this girl was anything other than lucky to score him? Read more
I wish to make a comment on Julian Assange, who is currently enjoying a prolonged stay in the Ecuadorean embassy rather than face rape charges in Sweden.
First of all, Assange is some kind of libertarian in that he has published numerous files showing what the American and other governments are up to. That does not mean to say that all his beliefs are libertarian or that we should necessarily support him any further than the publication of the Wikileaks cables. Read more
Judicial Discretion and the Managerial State
(1st January 2016)
Any system of criminal justice worth the name needs to reconcile humanity with certainty. On the one hand, part of the function of the criminal law is deterrent. When you know that you will go to prison for six months if you smash someone’s window, you may be less inclined to pick up the stone than if you believe you may get an absolute discharge or a whipping. Another part of the system’s function is to match severity of sentencing to the perceived gravity of offences. We need to see that breaking a window is less of a crime than breaking someone’s nose, and that murder is much more of a crime than either. Read more
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty… and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Read more