We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – we’re ruled by ghastly shits

Andrew Malkinson has been badly done by. Very badly done by.

I was wrongly imprisoned for 17 years. Then the state released me into a legal maze

Andrew Malkinson

Nine months after a court quashed my conviction, I’m living on universal credit. Why is it so hard for victims like me to get compensation?

I do not know any of the details of the conviction, the exoneration and do not care to do so. For the only important point to make here is that the system, at the end, agreed that it made a mistake. Whether that’s a mistake of the process, the procedure, getting the wrong person, just one of those fucks ups, matters not. There was, in that system, a mistake, a man then lost 17 years of his life as a result.

Then the bloke gets fucked about because we’re ruled by ghastly shits.

Tim Worstall

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – we’re ruled by ghastly shits

  • Edward

    And then, when people actually do get compensation, they find the State knocks a bit off the money they’ll begrudgingly pay them. Because, get this, they charge you for room and board! Never mind that you were forcibly detained unjustly, you got three hots and a cot courtesy of His Majesty’s fine hotels, so you owe them…

    Political satire is dead, because reality is already more screwed up than any satirist could possibly imagine.

  • bobby b

    I’ve done two of those (US version) petitions for exoneration comp. You end up partially at the mercy of the prosecutors, who are never thrilled to be shown up. But those same prosecutors are the ones you see at the other table in court for these proceedings.

    If the exoneration involves an affirmative showing of true innocence – your client Bill didn’t do it, Joe over there actually committed the crime – then the prosecutors drag their feet in the process and it takes a long time, but it can and does happen. (In Minnesota, the defendant then gets an average of $100,000 per year imprisoned.)

    If the exoneration involves some evidentiary problem that now makes the old conviction faulty – but without that affirmative “he really didn’t do it” showing – then the process becomes almost impossible. You end up having to try to prove, not just that Client wasn’t “Guilty”, but that he was truly innocent.

    Which is a far harder threshold to meet than “not guilty.”

    Prosecutors hate being proven wrong.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Prosecutors hate being proven wrong.

    I find this a chilling statement. Not because I didn’t know it or think it true, but how very wrong it is. Prosecutors should be delighted to be proven wrong. Their job is the execution of justice not hanging scalps on the wall. Of course I understand their frustration when someone who is obviously guilty gets off because of some mistake in the process. But if a person is truly shown to be innocent or the conviction truly unsafe, then a prosecutor should be delighted. Criminal defense lawyers are partisan, prosecutors should only seek justice. Surely Peter Parker’s admonition should be hung around the neck of every prosecutor: “with great power comes great responsibility”.

    However, people are people, so why should I expect anything different.

  • John


    There is no shortage of compensation for the right sort of actual or self-identified (today’s gold standard) victims. However Mr Malkinson ticked no boxes – other than being innocent which simply doesn’t cut it. He will not be benefitting from his own taxpayer-funded human rights lawyer.

  • Paul Marks

    Some places may be well governed – but the United Kingdom is, sadly, not one of those places.

    Perhaps Guernsey is the nearest place that is well governed – but my learned fried Mr Ed sadly informs me that modern perversions are invading even the legal systems of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

    Still there is Liechtenstein.

    I am quite serious – most major nations now have legal systems that should not be relied upon, and that is a terrible situation to be in.

    Mr Andrew Malkinson is all of us – what happened to him could easily happen to any of the people reading this.

  • Paul Marks

    There was a demand that more “rapists” be punished – there was a similar demand in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and the English-Welsh system reacted in the same way the Soviet system did, they started to convict people of rape who had not committed rape.

    You have got the fill the quota.

    Ditto with fraud trials – the “low conviction rate” was not met by the question “why are we charging so many innocent people?” it was met by the question “how can we increase the conviction rate?”.

    A friend of mine, who now lives in Northern Ireland, was caught up in this wicked insanity.

    The “fraud” case against him was absurd – the “fraudulent expense claim” was not even in his hand writing (it was obviously forged – that was the real crime, Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice – but no was interested in that), but the only advice he got, even from his own lawyer, was “plead guilty – you will get a reduced sentence”.

    The fact that he was innocent was not relevant – the quota of convictions had to be increased.

    The case collapsed – but only because nasty people who did not “care about the system” got involved.

    Bugger “the system” – it is unjust.

  • Tim Worstall

    “And then, when people actually do get compensation, they find the State knocks a bit off the money they’ll begrudgingly pay them. Because, get this, they charge you for room and board! ”

    No. English law (ie, common) is clear about compensation. You must be put back – as best as can be done – into the position you would have been in without the wrong done to you.

    So, what were your lost wages from being in chokey? Yes, higher paid people will get higher compensation. OK, tot all that up. Damages for wrongful conviction are a different thing note.

    OK, have you had to pay for food and board while in pokey? No. But you obviously would have if outside. So, to put you back into that position you would have been in that compo does not include some minimal amount that you would have paid in bed and board.

    They’re really, really, not charging for the cell.

    Sure, we can say that this still isn’t right. But to change it you’ve got to change the whole common law approach to damages for a tort. And no, passing a specific law about damages for prison time doesn;t do it either. We’ve had at least two of those in the past couple of decades and that’s how we’ve ended up with this system – because we’re ruled by the vile, recall?

  • Paul Marks

    Tim Worstall – yes indeed Sir, the principles of the Common Law have been under attack for a very long time, do even the judges believe in them now?

    Even the late Lord Denning gently mocked jurisprudence – seemingly not understanding that without principles (jurisprudence is about the study of principles – in order to understand them and apply them to individual judgements) legal judgements are arbitrary.

    One advantage a Code (yes a Code) has is that its principles are clear – the principles may be bad (false), but at least they are out in the open. Whereas, for example, American law has become a mass of vague (and often absurd) statutes – and arbitrary judgements from judges.

    Sadly our own country is going the same way – as Katie Hopkins (among many others) have made clear – “the law” is often utterly unclear, and legal judgements determined by whether the judge thinks that the person facing the court is “one of us” is “on our side”.

    This has not just hit the Civil Law, it is also hit the Criminal Law – with people being prosecuted on the basis of their political opinions rather than what they have done (in a recent case a man was sent to prison for putting political stickers on a few things – there was no evidence that he had actually done this, and people are, anyway, not prosecuted for putting stickers on things, but he was a “Fascist” – and that was all that mattered, the principle of equal justice for all was discarded – as it so often is now).

    The most depressing feature of all this is that some juries, in the United States and the United Kingdom, go along with it. It is not just the elite who are corrupted.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>