Monday, 18 October 2010

Bastard Parliament IV: How to Get Away with Fraud

So, Regina vs Chaytor and Others (Appellants) began it's hearing at the UK Supreme Court today.

The aim of the three ex-Labour MPs who stand charged with false accounting - David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine - is to avoid standing trial in the Crown Court for these charges.

They contend that the Crown Court has no jurisdiction over them, as the alleged false accounting was incidental to their Parliamentary duties, and is therefore subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.

I'm astonished that the mainstream media don't really seem to have caught hold of this. The Telegraph is running it, but I have seen no mention on the BBC. Given the importance of the case, you'd think they'd be all over it like a rash.

If the Supreme Court rules in favour of the ex-MPs, it will set a legal precendent whereby Parliamentarians have de facto immunity from prosecution if they commit crimes associated with their activities in Parliament. Not immunity from persecution, which is what Parliamentary privilege was originally set up for, but from prosecution.

Or, more specifically, the only body capable of bringing such a prosecution, and trying them to assess their guilt or innocence, is Parliament itself.

Does anybody spot the huge vested interest there? You know, the one that's 32 floors high, about 100 metres across, with a marble-fitted lobby, gold-plated elevators, bellboys, a jacuzzi in every room, and a massive flashing neon sign on the top saying 'WELCOME TO THE VESTED INTEREST?'

A Parliamentarian commits a crime in Parliament. Not necessary for the execution of his duties - he's simply on the make. And the only Court that can try him just happens to be populated by his colleagues. If you sit on a jury, and you know the accused, you have to inform the judge, and are, usually, replaced. How is that going to happen in Parliament, pray tell?

Judge, jury and executioner. Bastards.

I'm not suggesting that these men are guilty. I'm saying that it should be up to the Court to decide. The independent judiciary. Not a potentially biased legislature.