Monday, 11 November 2013

How to send yourself to jail

I was quite annoyed to read this:

New Asbo plans are assault on basic freedom, says former DPP Lord Macdonald

It seems that our beloved Home Secretary has plans to replace ASBOs.  As we know, there are a number of quite difficult issues around ASBOs, in particular their ability to criminalise quite inoffensive behaviour on the basis of a fairly flimsy evidential basis.  Nevertheless, I'm sure they are capable of doing good in some circumstances.  So there are (obviously) two options for reform:

  • Redraft the provisions to add safeguards so that we keep the possible beneficial effects of ASBOs but limit their potential for mischief, or
  • Just widen them and make them easier to obtain without worrying about the consequences.

Theresa "Handful" May, not yesterday
Guess which one Ms May opted for..
Under proposals currently before Parliament, Asbos are to be scrapped and replaced with wide-ranging new orders known as Ipnas (Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance).
They are designed to be easier to obtain, require a lower evidential threshold and yet cover a wider range of behaviour.
Oh good.  In fact, it gets better:
the new system will allow courts to impose sweeping curbs on people’s liberty if they think they are “capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”. 
Remember, of course, that breach of a Court order is contempt, which carries the potential for a custodial sentence.

At least there is some good news.  I find this sort of activity by politicians very annoying indeed.  So if Ms May gets this passed into law, then I can presumably use it to put an IPNA on her to prevent her from passing any more such laws.  I'm sure I'll be able to find a police officer keen to help me...

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