Monday, 2 October 2017
Dodgy lawyers and judges - and lowering the Bar
Dodgy lawyers are hardly something new in society. The liar-for-hire almost a prerequisite of the job description. Even Shakespeare urging a cull of lawyers.
Clearly something has gone wrong though in the UK Justice System - the expensive network of courts and clerks that lawyers and barristers and judges rely upon to make their living is broken.
Not just the absurd million pound fees - essentially the courts as a lawyer ATM to issue and costs they like - Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court once again cited in yesterday's Sunday Times as "the apogee of weak corporate governance" for his role in the BHS scandal. Secret shareholders for a UK plc – Grabiner resigning and followed by an exodus of senior management.
Dynamic MP Frank Field cited previously being after the whale of Philip Green (now paying £363M of the BHS pensions leaving only £1BN or so missing) as well as the sprat of Dominic Chappell who bought BHS for £1 from Grabiner-Green.
The scandal of payments for secret shareholders for a plc distorting their report and accounts yet to fully emerge - and hardly different from NZ corporation Infratil and the Manston monitors/fines crimes and scandal distorting their NZ share price.
As an aside the Monarch airline largest ever peacetime repatriation following on from the Infratil collapse and evacuations. While Riveroak with Tony Freudmann again hidden by a Delaware tax haven company that seems almost obligatory for the largest East Kent public sector projects eg Pleasurama and Dreamland – requiring reform.
But a fish rots from the head and Lord Grabiner is apparently still a judge in the High Court as well as the controlling interest of One Essex Court perhaps Britain's most corrupt set of barristers.
I’m fortunate to have witnessed their courtroom antics with Guy Hollingworth the part-time magician(!) - you couldn’t make this stuff up could you - pulling more than a rabbit out of his top hat or barrister's wig with fake invoices for his costs.
A veritable Ali Bongo of the Bar.
As well as similar fake costs from PB Law's Steve Palmer - the go-to firm for rather spurious claims against online traders it seems from their latest activity. You know the sort of thing: cease trading against our client who’s paid us £50 for a letter or we'll sue you for millions.
In the courts you fund from your tax.
That sort of thing.
Bizarrely Grabiner trying to cover the mess up as well as elderly QC Ian Glick his deputy previously in the dodgy firm. And even more bizarrely Glick and Grabiner - for lavish payments - advising parliament on tax issues.
I’d trust neither of them as far as they could throw Philip Green.
The Hollingworth magic even failing slippery clerk Darren Burrows given the previous clerk - an MBE no less - had to be resigned over the matter.
Obviously they’re ignoring their Bar oath to keep as shtum as possible. Even Peter Leaver QC who had no involvement in the case keeping silent as the One Essex Court deputy – and Deputy High Court judge.
A rather bizarre conflict of interest from the heavyweight QC.
Clearly reform of the High Court is long overdue - not just the sacking and striking off of dodgy barristers and judges and lawyers such as Grabiner and Glick and Hollingworth.
But also the UK courts essentially the most stagnant part of the UK with until the last few months almost no BME judges and officials and extremely elderly duffers that even Kent's councils would reject.
Elderly MP Roger Gale declaring himself mentally agile as ever - stop sniggering at the back! Daft old Roger is amazing and we could never manage without him and his Sirhood for something or other - as UK prepares for another sudden election as the party conferences stumble into silence and The Maybot 9000 goes on the fritz.
With Britain's most corrupt council surely Bayford and Iris and Homer and Bensted will be volunteering to service in the foothills of Afghanistan for local council reforms? It's been a long time with no improvements for lavish salaries and pensions.
Perhaps the quietly capable Philip Hammond and Justine Greening - neither from Kent but nothing's perfect, and Kent's quietly capable Damian Green and Greg Clark and defence attack dog Michael Fallon (more bite than the RAF Regiment apes or feeble RN Resilience efforts under review) would be on hand to offer advice - would make an interim PM and Deputy PM administration through to a full election (another one!) next year.
Fallon is vigorously active on the Bombardier trade dispute with USA that may give new Ambassador Woody "Guthrie" Robert Johnson a headache that only several Tylenol could resolve (other brands are available but they’re not as good).
One overlooked facet form Belfast aviation job losses (in the DUP magic money tree backyard) is Derby job losses too - but Bombardier Rail there perhaps keeping UK-USA trade on track given POTUS Trump (it must be too soon surely to raise both POTUS Kaine and Zuckerberg nominations?) has cited the weakness of USA infrastructure.
And with the expansion of the Chevenings Scholarships surely there's a revisionist need beyond the torpor of the public sector for say The Trevor's based on Archbishop Wilmott who leads the Church of England when the Archbishop of Canterbury is down the pub. Something more broadly based whether religion or civil society, Trevor speaking out on the contribution of Buddhists to Kent whether Ramsgate’s Pav Temple or not in his previous Easter message.
That no mean feat given the rise and fall of Ukippery and narrow anti-Moslem hatred. Kent’s Henry Bolton my erstwhile rival in the 2014 Kent Police Commissioner campaign narrowly averting a UK Nazi Party as Farage attends AFD meetings in Germany with relatives of Hitler’s Finance Minister.
Farage cosying upto the Bundestag Nazis in celebrating German troops achievements in WW2 - no doubt from the barns of Wormhouldt to the ravines of Babi Yar to the fields of Malmedy.
Nein danke Herr Farage or his tame Rupert,Henry.
Henry a nice enough chap, aiming for 3rd place but getting the booby prize of winning the UKIP leadership, and already criticising East Kent UKIP and dropping like a hot cake his Manston links.
And Labour mired in a repulsive anti-Semitism against Jews in general, beyond concerns over Palestine or wider Israeli government policy. Israeli efforts on the StartUp Nation or expertise on demolishing nuclear reactors from Dungeness to Damascus to the Yalu could be lost to UK.
While Eire's Ambassador Mulhall in Washington penning a verse or two of poesy in the Irish theme pubs of Washington and New York. Even dynamic Virginia's Governor of Cork Terry Mcauliffe staring into the foam on his brew - or a misty glass of Argentine red - and wondering of the possibilities of USA-Eire-Scotland trade with UK and a Southern Eire deepsea port and hispeed rail through to Dublin and Belfast and Glasgow within the day, while avoiding Southern England's crowded ports and railways.
A wider question beyond new Hispanics such as Cruz or Kaine or Rubio is whether Hillary would have done anything different but better?
A 219% Bombardier trade tariff putting America First rather than the Special Relationship and proving more of an issue than 1,000% credit tariffs to the public or crackgambling machines. Germany manages with just 9.9% APR: UK when not if?
NHS dynamic doctors such as Sarah Waldron and Liam Fox must want to test the temperature of UK trade or at least take a firm hold of UK plc's trading prostate. No Tobacco Plan? No DNA rollout? Nothing on Cancer and University synergy? Lebanon and Algeria and Morocco left adrift? USA flyover country from South Carolina to San Diego? Berlin to Bahrain?
I’ve long argued for EKFOS – the East Kent Film Office and Studio as Kent’s Hollywood with a Buddhist temple at the Pav rather than the drab and deafening motorway service station once the Brexit mullet-rascal Tim Wetherspoon has left. His incoherent Brexit views suddenly backtracking at losing both cheap Eastern European labour or Continental lagers.
They must be laughing at us in Chorley. `Laughing at us.
Impossible some would say to regear the Kent economy as conservatism slides into stagnation and the bierkellar boys emerge in a recession again. Impossible.
Kent's Leo Quinn and Balfour Beatty already moving beyond the Ashford Hitachi railyards to begin work in USA. And the eloquent Lord Bridges - amid the rubble of the DEXEU Brexit dept with 20% resignations evne the dynamic Antony Philipson of Singapore now housed in New York as Consul - remarking, as he would named after infrastructure, on bridging the gap between UK and USA and Asia.
If only Lord Bus and Lord Trainstation and Lord Deepseaport even Lord Johnny Appleseed would speak up too: POTUS Trump dipping his fries in UK's tomato ketchup (Heinz and not HP sauce) in ASEAN this week and in November as the US pivot moves apace and UK is left debating the Brexit guff of how many bureaucratic trade negotiators can dance on the head of a pin before agreeing it's all been silly. Time lost never to be reclaimed.
My erstwhile rival for Kent Police Commissioner, the perfectly pleasant and invisible, Henry Bolton (he remains silent on the Manston corruption I campaigned on or securing Europe's leaky borders as a former EU official - I promise I’m not making any of this up. One of his first acts to lambast TDC and Leader Wells here in East Kent as the only (just) UKIP council as incompetent and worthy of resigning.
Do NOT mention the Infratil monitors or aquifer, Henry.
But let's hope he's vigorous on UK reforms in Afghanistan and USA support with only Kent Ghurkas as America's spear carrier now - the Taliban Ho Chi Minh trail if you will - through the safe haven of Pakistan. And ISIS resurgence in South East Asia.
Certainly Farage exhibiting his Midas touch in reverse as the great white hope of UK politics in helping Trump's government collapse - I struggle to see how $100,000 worth of supposedly Russian Facebook ads makes any difference to a US election other than reviving McCarthyism to oust Trump. Although the Hillary memoir provides more detail on Russian Trump investments.
I don’t think Trump is a particularly good President by any stretch of the imagination but he narrowly won fair and square. And to his credit, as with The Maybot 9000, he’s cancelled all his absurd policies and repulsive advisors in just over 6 months.
Maybe fox-hunting is what 21st century America could borrow from Britain rather than democracy and rule of law?
Perhaps Andrew Conway could be the lawyer of choice to make up a new law to do it if Magic Guy is otherwise detained - and speaking to the AFD Nazis including relatives of Hitler’s Finance Minister(!) - you just can't make this up can you.
Conway the sort of lawyer happy to pose as an HMRC Customs official.
Again straight from the dodgy lawyer playbook Conway is rather keen to state that I live in Thailand rather than UK to his client the Benenden Healthcare Finance Director in York. He remains silent as to how I stood for MP in Kent. They certainly wouldn’t allow these sort of lawyer shenanigans in Thailand.
Clearly not enough dodgy lawyers are being jailed or struck off.
Lord Haddingfield jailed for £13k of expenses fiddling or Kent MEP Peter Skinner for c.£5k – for four years - are a precedent for crooked politicians but not the crooked lawyers it seems. Presumably Judge Leavor will preside over any One Essex Court case?
But let's hope Ambassador Woody now he's touched down in London doesn’t hesitate in promoting NFL and NBA even a bit of baseballrounders.
On the NBA surely Steve Balmer's LA Clippers, with the good folks of existing sponsors MBNA, would be ideal to promote the new Clipper ferry service between East Kent and the City along the Thames? Dynamic Lord Hezza's Thames Gateway gradually creaking open. Microsoft's dynamic Balmer, the Red Adair of UK-USA trade, can't sit in his Foundation skyscraper looking glum and watching out for North Korean missiles over the Puget Sound.
England expects. As do the good folks of Pfizer at what was USA's largest inward investment project in Europe just down the road from Ramsgate here in east Kent at Discovery Park. 5,000 jobs out of 7,000 still missing but thrown a lifeline by former Chancellor George Osborne on the board and now at Blackrock. And of course Sittingbourne Science park (plus the triumvirate of the Glaxo site in Dartford)for failure - look at the shitty mess of Southern water.
And both Jo Johnson the more capable brother of Boris and dynamic Lord Adonis – perhaps a Lord Infrastructure - have raised concerns over tuition fees - undoubtedly back to free as in Scotland and Chancellor salaries. Half a million quid for the Bath university chancellor? Plus the bloat salaries and pensions of their reams of assistants for a middling at best university?
The Sunday Times University league table exposing some weaknesses in both Kent University and Canterbury Christchurch University that no doubt the new Nottingham Karen Cox will be vigorously active on such as the Broadstairs campus.
Frankly not enough barristers and lawyers are being jailed or struck off.
Imagine any member of the public passing fake invoices in High Court or blatant porkies and misleading judges. Yet contemptible layers such as Grabiner and Glick and Hollingworth aren’t just missing out on Pentonvile porridge at the moment but continuing to access and use the public’s courts for their frauds.
Grabiner is a Lord and mere twerp and corruptioneer, and the rest only judges hired by the public until they are redundant.
The clothcap QC Keir "Hardy" Starmer (Keir Hardy not Ollie Hardy) delaying on legal reform and handicapped by legalese in trying to square the circle of Brexit being cancelled as unutterably daft, if not the worst UK foreign policy since Suez. Certainly his efforts on ending the Caribbean death penalty are overdue being completed as merely a legislative technicality given the Queen as Head of State and parliament and Supreme Court as final arbiters of many Commonwealth nations.
The ludicrous Hollingworth - Britain's best barrister for bank robbers or drug dealers looking for excuses - even citing Vanuata law in his fraud (it's somewhere in the Pacific and not as unpleasant as the paedo islands of Pitcairn or West Falkland) law at one point in a summing up that was more a clutching of straws as invoices tumbled out of his case.
All that was needed was one of those long trains of handkerchiefs appearing out of his sleeves. A distraction for any jury that would have the temerity to enter the closed courts.
And separately one interesting aspect of the Koh Tao murders of two UK backpackers in Thailand was UK Special Branch police being criticised unfairly for assisting Thai police as Thailand has the death penalty. A fact lost in translation that as in the Caribbean the death penalty in Thailand is a legislative technicality in abeyance and unlikely to be used.
The UK also stumbling on instigating a UN-wide death penalty ban and ignoring last month's UN ban on nuclear weapons. Certainly any UK sailor and supplier must be concerned at potential war crimes charges for aiding or deploying - not even using nukes. Certainly without a parliamentary debate on the issue as well as the hidden details of UK nearly nuking Disneyland before the Trident debate.
One of my favourite barristers James Turner QC (JTQC his legal abbreviation) usually with something interesting to say and exhibiting a sense of humour beneath the impenetrable verbiage that tongue-tied m'lud-grovellin' lawyers often substitute for sense.
Too often Parliament's laws exploited as a common language for lawyers to boost their fees or betray their clients - a quirk of the legal system being lawyers are responsible to the courts and government not the clients that fund them.
Equally clearly the Supreme Court couldn’t follow Magic Guy and pull a rabbit out of a hat and instigate reforms only being established in 2009 and anyway reporting to Parliament as the UK’s Supreme Court to hire and fire any judge and instigate or revoke any legislation or act.
And certainly the oversight mechanisms of the legal profession in the Solicitors Regulation Authority/Law Society and Bar Standards Board/Bar Council, are tame beasts funded by lawyers to whitewash lawyers.
Even the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal a cod-court of solicitors hiring solicitors to represent them against a hearing by other solicitors rather than a professional standards body rooting out dodgy lawyers such as Conway. Tame.
Or the Bar Inns self-regulation with feeble-minded feeble clerks refusing to hear of concerns and asking - via email - for paper correspondence.
As old-fashioned and corrupt as Grabiner's set of fraudsters.
At one point I had to remind the repulsive Conway that a cod-court of self-selected property lawyers wasn’t a court and that they did need to go through the pretence of citing an actual law and crime - not just using the courts to seize what they wanted.
After two or three attempts he came up with something top write on his forms and give it a whirl in court on the off-chance Judge Langley was asleep.
Perhaps Conway is a legal genius and should actually head up the Government Legal dept as Attorney General. Stop tittering. It’s possible.
The worst kind of liar-for-hire and theft by fountain pen that the Judge Cocklecarrot series on Private Eye should do more of.
Steve Palmer of PB Legal, now in hiding, is the worst kind of greasy-haired lawyer too sweatily- incoherent to speak for himself (his written explanation of his costs, over two pages of densely written and contradictory cobblers is extraordinarily special. But he believes it so don’t mock even if he puts your children on trial. Judge Mann will get them off. No?) and having to hire a barrister to prance around the courtroom for pay.
Even those lawyers that represent the best of their profession such as Thailand’s Klity Creek justices or even JTQC the crime fighter - for a fee - citing his work on the General Pinochet case a few years ago. At best raising the gruesome crimes that littered Latin America through the brutal Chile and Argentine and Brazil juntas - but at worst merely a day in courts on the rates gasbagging to no effect for a fee.
Pinochet merely jetting away from the tainted court to continue his crimes against humanity.
London’s courts as with the Magnitsky case essentially funded by the UK public for Russian oligarchs to excuse the murder of brave lawyers such as Sergei Magnitsky or excuse Putin's executions of dissidents by low-yield chemical weapons in your polonium sandwich.
Assad or butchers such as Kony in Sahel, or Obiang in Equatorial Guinea - his parades a cakewalk for American oil companies such as Total now banned in Kent for Myanmar war crimes - no doubt reassured by the lowering of standards in UK courts and fall of the Bar. Obiang's son being prosecuted in French and USA courts for various crimes.
The French and USA courts and police more active than UK in African cases - UK more fettered by its last remnants of colonial past in Africa and Caribbean.
And again the Sunday Times citing the ICC International Criminal Court failure in its lawyers working for the Libyans they were investigating for war crimes(!).
Clearly guns-for-bungs- deals such as Sangcom with BAE et al and the dodgier Arabian kingdoms won't be held in UK courts any day soon. Weak judges such as Mann hiding behind the farce of cases having to be brought to them rather than initiating anything.
And closed courts a recipe for corruption with say Conway and Langley splitting the proceeds of any deal - although I don’t think for a second think they have but it’s feasible. And certainly feasible with Mann and Hollingworth having secret court sessions unlikely to be a review of magic tricks. Perhaps Judge Man distracted by a cloud Hollingworth’s magic dust.
Hollingworth, as Britain’s best corrupt barrister, is available for birthdays, bar mitzvahs and so on - legal advice or magic tricks – although it seems American high school students can replicate his tricks Izzy Wizzy he needs to get busy on some new ones.
Certainly he’d make a marvellous Pinocchio in the Kent Police Xmas pantomime - perched on Geppetto elderly Glick's knee -watch his nose grow as he delivers an ace or five up his sleeve. See the invoices and his clerk's career disappear in a puff of smoke.
The Police though are cowed with the much-vaunted Action Fraud by City of London Police meant to increase UK cyber-security feeble (of far more use than aircraft carriers on Windows XP or Private Eye citing one submariner concerns expressed to PM may at his sub having to resurface to download his porn).
Kent's Adrian Leppard Deputy Chief formerly Chief of City Police before retiring and now replaced by xxxx but Action Fraud merely the online equivalent of an empty bucket with a hole in it - fraud complaints are merely redirected back to the local force to be lost in their statistics without sight of CPS etc.
Weak judges such as Grabiner or the porridge-faced faced Jock and Judge Mann seem the norm. Even the eccentric Suitcase Smithy involved tangentially in the case before being sacked after threatening to jail the British Airways CEO in a separate BA case - because Smithy went on holiday and lost his suitcase containing his underpants and selfie-stick even though it was all returned a few days earlier. The underpants possibly even washed and ironed. Or not. Let’s hope he;s not inconvenienced by Monarch going bust.
And the Teacups Judge randomly stating in open court "you'll never get Glick". Obviously his best mate around his china cups.
While Kent has seen political judging at its best with the trial of Craig Mackinlay for UK’s biggest electoral fraud over the Battlebus raised a fortnight before the June election and then bounced away for another year to another court after it.
I don’t think for one moment Craig had anything or even much to do with the Battlebus fraud - and is certainly innocent until proven guilty even in the UK’s tainted courts - that was simply imposed upon him and other candidates from Central office by the now defunct May/Timothy/Hill government.
Far too many judges are twisting Parliament’s carefully-crafted laws beyond any reasonable interpretation and the courts a publicly-funded playground for fees rather than justice. Kent's courts normally has sound oversight of many of the legal issues and certainly a review of court sentences, and even use of closed courts is overdue.
And when did jury trial become a rarity rather than barrister-judges as Grabiner and Glick playing both sides of the public's coin?
But the epidemic of dodgy lawyers means the Bar has already lowered if not fallen through the floor.
Time for Change