Friday, August 15, 2003

Police incompetence leads to proposal for new law (revisited)

A point I should have made about the situation regarding the "comedy terrorist" has been made very eloquently by the White Rose blog in this article.

As an exercise for the reader to illustrate the point about the number of laws being created by UK govts, I invite them to total up the number of clauses in all the Acts of Parliament created since 1997 by the Parliament in Westminster. You can find all Acts of Parliament passed since 1998 online here. Now ask yourself how many of those clauses you were aware of prior to the exercise, how many you can memorise in one go and, for those willing to spend a ridiculous amount of time on it, how many you can actually understand without reference to earlier laws...

And now ponder the consequences of the idea that ignorance of the law is no defence in criminal trials...

NB for a simpler exercise one might take particular note of the number of bills related to criminal justice, terrorism and policing have been passed since 1997, but then how do you know that other bills haven't created offences you need to be aware of?

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