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A ‘Fourth Amendment’ is badly needed, back in the Old Country

King George III’s troops and excise men outraged many of the colonialists (AIUI) with their searches and seizures, leading to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Back in old England, no such definitive right exists, so the Queen’s men may find you not so secure in your person, and may make ‘unreasonable searches and seizures’, you might conclude.

I call my first ‘witness’:

A prisoner suspected of hiding drugs by swallowing them has been sent to hospital after managing not to defecate for nearly seven weeks.

#Poowatch ends in VICTORY for suspected drug dealer as he’s released on bail after 45 DAYS without going to the toilet

Yes, the unfortunate Mr Lamarr Chambers was held as a prisoner for 45 days by Essex Police, hoping that he will drop himself in it, as it were, as he was suspected of having swallowed an item which would eventually emerge, and which might incriminate him on drugs charges (and I note, we don’t have a Fifth Amendment here either, but we do have some rules of evidence against self-incrimination).

The story so far:

The 24-year-old from Brixton, South London, was held on January 17 and appeared in court the next day.

At that hearing, and in seven subsequent hearings, the court authorised the further detention of Mr Chambers under section 152 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 to enable him to pass drugs he was suspected to have inside him.

So a Court has authorised this epic buttock-clenching saga, under legislation dating from Mrs Thatcher’s period in office.

However, the police, presumably feeling themselves up against a brick wall, relented.

On Monday the decision was taken by Deputy Chief Constable BJ Harrington, following medical and legal advice, to release Mr Chambers from custody.
The Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the charges against Mr Chambers in relation to possession with intent to supply a Class A drug and driving matters.
He was immediately rearrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug and released on bail and then taken by police car, in company with a medical professional, to hospital for treatment.

I can’t help but be disgusted by a country in which a police force can comment on Twitter about a prisoner’s bowel movements, or lack thereof.

Perhaps we need a change in the law? No holding people until evidence emerges, but charge on the evidence lawfully and properly gathered.

Or perhaps Mrs May might suggest that the Crown will be able to seek a writ of habeus caco, ordering a prisoner to defecate?

I suspect that there’s only one thing Mr Chambers needs now more badly than the Fourth Amendment.

And what do the police say?

‘We will also not shy away from talking about the unpleasant truths that go hand in hand with the drug dealing lifestyle, from the violence often perpetrated by those involved to the expectation on dealers to “plug” drugs to avoid capture.’

I find a police force watching a man 24-hours a day for 45 days to see him defecate (on these allegations) far more unpleasant a truth, a truth about the state of freedom in Britain today.

21 comments to A ‘Fourth Amendment’ is badly needed, back in the Old Country

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly the 4th Amendment is not enforced in the United States – and it was “conservative” judges who undermined it. Now property can be seized without the need to prove in court (beyond all reasonable doubt) that it is the profits of crime. Indeed property can be seized in the United States from people who the state has not proved committed any crime at all – and good luck trying to get it back in the courts (without your bank account frozen).

    No basic liberty is safe from a “legislature” (John Locke was quite wrong to say that a legislature creates the law – courts, including the high court of the monarch in parliament should seek to find and uphold the law – NOT make it) This we know from Enoch Powell being almost the only Member of Parliament to oppose property being seized from drug dealers without it being proved that the property was the profits of crime – he warned this would become a general power, and it has. But basic liberties are not safe from bad judges either.

  • Alisa

    a police force watching a man 24-hours a day for 45 days to see him defecate

    A shitty job that in a sane world no one would want to do.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    “watching a man 24-hours a day for 45 days to see him defecate”

    Channel 4 television executive: ‘I’ve just found the next big reality show! Is Mary Berry available to host, or failing her, Sandi Toksvig?”

  • Eric

    I would have just taken the rap.

  • bobby b

    “I find a police force watching a man 24-hours a day for 45 days to see him defecate (on these allegations) far more unpleasant a truth, a truth about the state of freedom in Britain today.”

    Not a problem. You put him in a cell with a stainless steel collection toilet, with a collection bag inside, and the water flow turned off. And a sensor that tells you to check on him before he can re-ingest the evidence.

    Fairly common.

  • Bruce

    Any trained medical folk here like to expound, in detail, on what would happen to a, presumably, natural rubber container of ANYTHING during its (interrupted) passage through the alimentary canal?

    Idiots who swallow the “evidence” in this manner often die spectacularly when the natural rubber packaging breaks down in the gut and the contents flood straight through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.

    Never mind the potential long term self-harm this bloke is inflicting on himself by retaining, quite painfully, a large amount of toxic stuff that should be expelled on at least a daily basis.

    Are the cops just feeding this bloke three squares a day, waiting for him to either do a “Mister Creosote” or collapse and require a trip to the emergency ward, where any evidence will be “obtained”, “consent” or no.

    And what would be the “follow-up” were the “suspect” to die and for the “suspected drugs package” turn out to be a “joke” gone wrong by said suspect? The “usual”?

    Any medical imaging practitioners have any advances?

  • John Galt III

    and a police force, government, social services , Corbyn’s Fascist Party that allows and does little to stop the rape of British girls by “Asians.

    You Brits are in a war. Do you know that?

  • Runcie Balspune

    Don’t the customs people have X-Ray machines for this sort of thing? Why didn’t they pop down to the south coast and run him through the normal process for mules?

  • Were these anti-laxative drugs that the suspect was smuggling into the country?

    Is it possible that our brave boys in blue include a bad apple who, on the graveyard shift of watching this guy, was induced, for a share in the profits of his vile trade, to look the other way and then remove the evidence? If not, could this villain be one of those enemies of superheros who also have unique abilities that further their nefarious careers? Will no-s**t man join marvel’s superbaddies?

    Was he actually watched 24 hours a day? I was reminded of the prison scenes in Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Decline and Fall’ where the Labour-appointed bleeding heart liberal idiot of a governor is advised by the chief warden, who is, shall we say, the exact opposite (except he’s probably not that bright either).

    You could put him in the permanent observation cell. [Your predecessor] was a great believer in permanent observation. I’ve known prisoners that were not that mad – you’d hardly notice it – but after a few days on permanent obs, they was raving lunatics.

    I am willing to offer the state a deal:

    In exchange for removal of 15-year-old law letting the state interfere with what comes out of his mouth, British man will tolerate state’s legal ability to monitor what comes out of his other end.

    but whether I could rival the prisoner’s achievement – a sort of reverse hunger strike – as a protest to make my point is quite another matter.

    As readers will appreciate, my sense of humour is interfering with my sense of outrage on this one. 🙂

  • terence patrick hewett

    @John Galt III

    I rather think we have noticed!

  • bob sykes

    The reality is that Brits don’t have any rights: not freedom of speech; not freedom of the press; not freedom of religion; not the right to peaceably assemble to protest grievances; not the right against self incrimination; not the right against unreasonable; unwarranted searches or seizures; not the right to keep and bear arms; not the right to educate one’s own children …

    The fact is that the UK, like the rest of Europe, is a police state, allied in spirit and practice with the old East German Stasi. Hell, Angela Merkel is a former Stasi informant, and was likely well-know to Putin while he was a KGB agent in East Germany.

    Right now, the closes things to a representative democracy in Europe are Switzerland and Russia. Turkey has more freedom than the UK.

    I am so glad my grandparents had the sense to leave England in 1910.

  • John B

    The Common Law protects property, particularly the most important private property, the person. The US Constitution and its amendments do not confer Rights, they rest on the Common Law and merely codify the Rights already guaranteed by it.

    Of course if the Common Law is trampled…

    The problem is Parliament/Congress whose primary purpose is to protect the Common Law, instead by their legislative incontinence undermine Common Law and remove the protection from the State it gves to the citizen.

  • phlyarologist

    Believe me we would like a Fourth Amendment too. All it takes is for Officer Plod to say “I smell Marijuana”, and vast sections of the Constitution disappear instantly.

  • James Higham

    Ugggh, just had lunch.

  • Mr Ed

    Here I sit,
    Banged up by Plod,
    But I’ve only farted!’

  • Bruce

    I think it was Mark Twain, or Gideon Tucker, who wrote something like:

    “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe whilst the legislature is in session”.

    These days it is even worse. Unelected, unaccountable mandarins in the “civil” services have the power, without an airing on the floor of the house, to “make regulations” under any law in their fiefdom. Those “regulations” are the “teeth” of the law.

  • Bruce

    When Mel Brooks portrayed “Hedly Lamaar” in “Blazing Saddles”, he was being WAY too kind to politicians

  • Auralay

    Hmmm. Late to this but have to wonder. If he had moved his bowels would the police have searched thoroughly, or just gone through the motions?

  • Laird

    @ John B: “The US Constitution and its amendments do not confer Rights, they rest on the Common Law and merely codify the Rights already guaranteed by it.”

    Close, but that’s not exactly right either. The Declaration of Independence invokes natural law (“the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God“), not common law, and the Bill of Rights lists a representative sample of those rights but it is explicitly not all-inclusive (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people“). That is not a codification, merely a description.

  • Paul Marks

    John B and Laird.

    As you know the Common Law (at least in the days of Chief Justice Sir John Holt and others) was an effort to find natural justice in individual cases – natural justice, i.e. natural law (“to each their own”). Most certainly it is built over generations – but precedents most be carefully chosen.

    When modern scholars point out (as if was a scandal) that Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke picked some precedents and ignored others, they totally misunderstand what he was trying to do. The Chief Justice was not just trying to find precedents for a particular case – he was trying to find JUST precedents, being able to understand the basic principles of private property natural justice (jurisprudence) is at the core of what a real Common Law person (in past centuries) did.

    When the left (such as the Marxist “Critical Jurisprudence” crowd) say that being a judge is a political role – they are actually correct, but not in the way they think they are. What matters is not “serving the capitalist class of the rich and big business”, what matters is serving the natural law principles of private property REGARDLESS of whether they favour a rich person or a poor person. To justice it does not matter who is rich and who is poor – what matters is whether force or fraud has been used.

    For example, the modern Tort Law concept of “Deep Pockets” (basically – “he is not really to blame – but he has got lots of money, so lets loot him!”) is an outrage against natural justice. One of many modern outrages.

  • Thailover

    Laird said,

    “Close, but that’s not exactly right either. The Declaration of Independence invokes natural law”

    Exactly, our founding documents and the government they represent “secures” these rights. Rights cannot come from laws or law givers because that which can be granted can be just as easily revoked, which contradicts the notion of a right and the term unalienable.