Dear Oligarchs and Corrupt Leaders,
If you want to keep your positions you need to at least keep things fair enough so that people will continue to buy into the system. At the rate you’re going not even the people who are in the privileged class will be able to stomach the situation.
Nobody really cares about procedural fairness, except in individual cases where it specifically serves the desired substantive outcome…
If there was no provable intention to use the bomb and the terror provision can only be invoked in such instances (which would be rather logical, as deeds that never come to light can hardly cause any terror among the populace), then a decision to prosecute only the illegal weapon manufacture and possession is a correct one. Even if the perp is a twisted nazi dickhead.
It’s important to jail that man for life, to send the message to British Muslims that the state is resolute in the commitment to protect all citizens.
Of course, if the terrorism legislation is really just an expression of colonial era racism updated for the 21st century, ie only enforceable against brown people then he should be given a free pass…
I agree with this. If the guy who built the bomb allegedly “because he was bored” was a Mythbuster and not a racist asshole, people wouldn’t be so quick to clamor for a terrorism charge. Despite what the BoingBoing headline says, the article never claims that he said he built the bomb because he didn’t like immigrants (he admitted to being in right wing politics because of disliking immigrants, and admitted to building the bomb because of boredom, two separate statements)- and with no proof that he intended to use it against immigrants, charging him with terrorism would essentially be thoughtcrime.
Everyone ought to have equal protection under the law, no matter how unpopular, misguided or straight-up evil their opinions are. Building a nail bomb is obviously illegal, but the punishment should fit the actual crime, not a hypothetical future crime, and in this case it does fit. The outrage here shouldn’t be that this guy wasn’t charged as a terrorist, but that a Muslim in the exact same position almost certainly would be charged.
Oh, surely. Let’s treat this single, individual man exceptionally unfairly and harshly, so that the state can send a collective message
-(if you wish to finish this sentence as a Conservative) to all other wrongdoers.
-(if you wish to finish your sentence as a Labourist) to some minorities, that their protection is prioritized.
The prosecutor doesn’t actually need to prove intent to secure a conviction under terrorism laws, so whether he built it “because he was bored” should be totally irrelevant
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or
(b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind.
If I’m reading that correctly, doesn’t that mean a person could be guilty of an offense if they just looked up how to build a bomb, without even actually making it? Or looked up the price of gas masks, or the page for “terrorism” on Wikipedia, or anything else that could be deemed “useful” to committing a hypothetical terrorism act?
There is this:
(3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for his action or possession.
but that sounds pretty subjective.
I think the problem here is not how this one guy was treated by the law, but how the law would treat a Muslim in similar circumstances. It’s probably true that he had no intention of setting of this device, so the charges against him are appropriate - but we all know if he was a Muslim this would have gone down very differently.
The positive way to react to this sentencing is to treat is as precedent, so the next time someone from a minority is charged with something similar we can insist that they’re treated the same way.
Great post. There is so much blathering on the internet due to what people feel is the correct course, informed by their emotions and context compared to what the justice system can substantiate. Witness this, Ferguson, OJ Simpson. Do I think OJ killed people yes - however that was the not finding of court of law. Obviously a lot to talk about around these issues however the thrust of my agreeing with your post is the disconnect with what commentators feel they want and the reality of a burden of proof.
Prosecutors’ wet dream law. Gotta love them.
I wonder if it includes collecting air crash videos and anything and everything related to industrial disasters. And military tech…
Because EVERYTHING is dual-use.
That’s the beauty of it punitive laws enforced subjectively provide the underpinning of the peculiarly British form of tyrrany we have on these shores
RTFA “McGee also pleaded guilty to possessing a document, namely the Anarchist Cookbook, containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.” He was convicted under the very act you link.
Presumably the complaint is that he wasn’t charged with “Preparation for Terrorist Acts” - but that specifically requires the prosecutor to be able to prove intention. If that intention isn’t demonstrable, beyond reasonable doubt, then bringing the charge is irresponsible. In contrast, there appeared to be good evidence that Nawaz, whose solicitor complains of differential treatment, was in Syria for terrorist training, not least the photos of them at a terrorist training camp and the video of them crossing the border saying they were going for “jihad”. Both criminals support abhorent ideologies - but their crime is not their ideology, but the actions taken or not taken in pursuit of it.
“Ryan McGee told police he made the bomb when he was bored AND because he did not like mass immigration.”
Emphasis on the “AND” added. I would interpret that as having two reasons for making the bomb, Boredom and dislike of mass immigration.
“When he was interviewed by police, McGee said he made the bomb while on leave “out of boredom” AND he was interested in rightwing politics because he did not like mass immigration.”
Another “AND”. Again, dual reasons.
“Ryan McGee, 20, described by his defence team as ‘a bit of a loner’, wrote in a journal: ‘I vow to drag every last immigrant into the fires of hell with me.’”
That could be interpreted as intent, at least in the U.S.
The Anarchist Cookbook is about as useful for preparing a terrorist act as Operation is in preparing for surgery.
Some of the recipes should be labeled as Darwin-endorsed.
Ferguson is a poor example, because it has happened hundreds of times before. If hundreds of neo-nazis built hundreds of bombs and none of them were tried as terrorists, the analogy would be stronger.
In the states, it’s abortion clinic bombers who get immunity from the terror laws. Same basic idea: If you’re going to pander to people’s hatreds in order to gain and keep office, then it just won’t work to prosecute the worst haters under the terror laws, no matter how appropriate that would be.
To everyone pointing out possible racism in this case, remember, this is the UK where we’re more concerned by your class than the colour of your skin.
This guy is clearly a lower class chav and so won’t have had an easy ride of the courts just by virtue of not being brown.