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Sunday, October 09, 2016

European Court of Human Rights rejects paedophile’s claim that his trial was unfair

 writes: In 2012, Mr Shabir Ahmed stood trial for being a member of a paedophile gang operating in Bolton. He was convicted in relation to a variety of criminal offences (including conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children), and sentenced to 19 years in prison.


] Some of the authorities relied upon,  mirror activities, by other unconnected persons, in Peterborough.]


Mr Ahmed complained that his trial was unfair. The right to a fair trial is protected under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which takes effect in UK law through the Human Rights Act. The European Court of Human Rights dismissed his complaint.


The criminal trial and Mr Ahmed’s complaint


Mr Ahmed’s criminal trial attracted a lot of media attention. Far-right groups emphasised the difference in racial origin of the accused (Asian) and the victims (white British). Far-right groups – the British National Party (‘BNP’) and English Defence League (‘EDL’) – also protested at some of the early court hearings.
Furthermore, before the jury had made their decision, British politician and leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, tweeted rumours that the jury had delivered a guilty verdict.


Similar rumours also appeared on the websites of far-right groups.
Juries are not allowed to include their own views or outside information in their decisions. They are also not allowed to research the case they are deciding outside of court.


To add an extra safeguard – because of the particular difficulties in this case – jurors that had indicated an affiliation with far-right groups were excluded and the case was moved from Bolton to Liverpool.


Mr Ahmed argued that the jury had shared information about their verdict to the far right groups. He said this showed the jury was biased against him and that this was a breach of his right to a fair trial.


He also complained that the case against him had been tailored by police to fit anti-Muslim prejudice, and that media coverage of the trial had made it unfair and infringed his right to a private and family life. He also claimed that he had been discriminated against on grounds of race and religion.

The decision of the European Court of Human Rights


The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) dismissed his complaint, saying there was no evidence that the trial had been unfair. The Court gave two reasons.




First, the original judge and the Criminal Cases Review Commission in the UK had investigated whether the jury had been biased or passed the information to the far right groups. There was no evidence to suggest this was the case.




Second, the ECtHR attached a lot of weight to the English Court of Appeal’s assessment, as the Court of Appeal judges have greater experience of English jury trials than the European Court and were better placed to determine whether a trial involved unfairness.


The Court of Appeal had looked carefully at the process of the trial. The European Court agreed with the Court of Appeal’s finding that there were particular safeguards present at the trial, which were enough to ensure that the jury had been impartial. It therefore found that there was no evidence to suggest the jury had been biased or the trial unfair.




In respect of the wide range of other complaints, made by Mr Ahmed (those relating to the right to private and family life, and racial and religious discrimination), the Court noted that none of these had been raised before the Court of Appeal. Moreover, the Court found that none of the evidence demonstrated the merit of these claims. The Court therefore dismissed Mr Ahmed’s complaint entirely.




You can read the full decision here.


http://rightsinfo.org/your-rights-infographic/fair-trial/





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OUR HUMAN RIGHT TO LAMPOON AND CRITICISE POLITICIANS

THE HIGH COURT has ruled....People have a right to lampoon and criticise politicians and public officials under the Human Rights Act, the High Court has ruled.

We have the full High Court judgment, saved as a page on here. l

ampoon (lampoon) Pronunciation: /lamˈpuːn/ verb [with object] publicly criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm: the actor was lampooned by the press noun a speech or text lampooning someone or something: the magazine fired at God, Royalty, and politicians, using cartoons and lampoons.

Derivatives: lampooner noun lampoonery noun lampoonist noun Origin: mid 17th century: from French lampon, said to be from lampons 'let us drink' (used as a refrain), from lamper 'gulp down', nasalized form of laper 'to lap (liquid).

NUJ CODE OF CONDUCT

NUJ Code of Conduct

The NUJ's Code of Conduct has set out the main principles of British and Irish journalism since 1936.

The code is part of the rules and all journalists joining the union must sign that they will strive to adhere to the it.


Members of the National Union of Journalists are expected to abide by the following professional principles:

A journalist:

1 At all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed

2 Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair

3 Does her/his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies

4 Differentiates between fact and opinion

5 Obtains material by honest, straightforward and open means, with the exception of investigations that are both overwhelmingly in the public interest and which involve evidence that cannot be obtained by straightforward means

6 Does nothing to intrude into anybody's private life, grief or distress unless justified by overriding consideration of the public interest

7 Protects the identity of sources who supply information in confidence and material gathered in the course of her/his work

8 Resists threats or any other inducements to influence, distort or suppress information and takes no unfair personal advantage of information gained in the course of her/his duties before the information is public knowledge

9 Produces no material likely to lead to hatred or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age, gender, race, colour, creed, legal status, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation

10 Does not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial product or service save for the promotion of her/his own work or of the medium by which she/he is employed

11 A journalist shall normally seek the consent of an appropriate adult when interviewing or photographing a child for a story about her/his welfare

12 Avoids plagiarism The NUJ believes a journalist has the right to refuse an assignment or be identified as the author of editorial that would break the letter or spirit of the code.

The NUJ will fully support any journalist disciplined for asserting her/his right to act according to the code

The NUJ logo is always a link to the home page.

(As modified at Delegate Meeting 2011)