LIBERALISM, they say, made the modern world. But every so often, a story comes along that makes the law-abiding want to rail against its more wishy-washy excesses.
Whether he is innocent or guilty, Joseph McCann is facing 21 charges which include eight rapes (one of an 11-year-old boy) six other sexual offences, four kidnaps, two false imprisonments and a charge of assault.
PA:Press Association A judge had to go to prison to conduct Joseph McCann’s preliminary hearing after he refused to leave his cell
Yet, when the time came for him to face these charges in a preliminary hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week, he refused to emerge from the cells below and was returned to Belmarsh prison. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot then tried to get him via video link from jail, but he again refused to participate.
In 2017, when 32-year-old Toronto woman Rehab Dughmosh refused to appear in court on terror-related charges, even liberal old Canada issued an “extremely rare” legal order for the wonderfully phrased “cell extraction”.
Five officers were given the authority to, if necessary, restrain and drag her to court by the scruff of her neck even if, as one court official put it: “It may require shackles on the hands and feet.”
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
So, did 34-year-old McCann, from Aylesbury, Bucks, get the same treatment? Dream on. Instead, the judge, court clerk and prosecution and defence teams were all forced to up sticks and travel 15 miles to the prison with, don’t laugh, the official court crest in an Argos carrier bag.
There, the judge visited McCann in the healthcare wing, where he refused to confirm his name, wouldn’t stand and, at one point, reportedly turned his back to the impromptu hearing before stating he had “been stitched up”.
And it seems he’s not alone in this disgraceful behaviour that’s being indulged by our pathetically weak “justice” system.
RIGHTS OF VICTIMS
Last year, Gloucester’s top judge, Jamie Tabor QC, said it has now “become fashionable for defendants to refuse to come to court”, noting that the worrying trend started around two years earlier.
Yet as far back as 2008, convicted drug dealer Amir Ali refused to attend a confiscation hearing at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex because he feared losing his cell to another inmate while he was away and claimed it was a breach of his human rights.
At the time, Judge Richard Hayward lashed out at the “barking mad” rules stemming from the 1998 Human Rights Act. He added: “I didn’t know that prisoners could choose whether or not to come to court. I just assumed they would be scooped up by a burly prison warden and dumped in the back of a van.” So did we, Judge. So did we.
Yet here we are, 11 years later, still allowing the human rights of an alleged criminal to run roughshod over the court’s authority.
Grace, 70, must stir Mr Bond
IT’S rumoured that 70-year-old Grace Jones may be filming a scene with Daniel Craig for the upcoming 25th Bond movie. Cue much excitement about unleashing the power of the older woman, yada yada.
Getty – Contributor Grace Jones could star in the next James Bond movie
Bring it on. But let’s hope Ms Jones’ character fares better than the last time an “older actress” was announced, amid much fanfare, for the movie Spectre.
It was 51-year-old Monica Bellucci (who looks about 25) and the scene involved her being groped up against a wall by Daniel Craig, who then left her languishing in a basque and stockings while he went off and fell in love with someone younger.
The earth may well have moved for Monica’s character, but ground-breaking it was not.Maddie candle of hope
MADELEINE McCANN would have been 16 on Sunday. Sweet 16. The age when girls start to blossom into young women, steal our make-up and clothes, have myriad crushes and secrets we might never find out about.
PA:Press Association Madeleine would have been 16 on Sunday
Instead, her parents Kate and Gerry have passed another torturous year of not knowing whether she’s dead or alive.
Wishing their daughter a happy birthday on their Find Maddie Facebook page, they added: “We love you and we’re waiting for you and we’re never going to give up.”
Spending a quiet day at home with their other two children, they reportedly placed presents in Maddie’s room and blew out the candles on a commemorative cake.
To not celebrate would perhaps feel like an abandonment of hope. My heart goes out to them and all the other parents of missing children. What they’ve been through – and continue to endure – is unimaginable.
Meeting in person
THE first rule of “modern friendship”, apparently, is never failing to “like” or comment on a pal’s social media posts.I prefer what’s presumably now seen as the old-fashioned rule of friendship. Meeting in person to really see how they are.
Dive out of harm’s way
PRINCE CHARLES is advertising for a gardener to tend the herbaceous borders of his house on Scotland’s vast Balmoral Estate.
Getty Images – Getty Prince Charles is looking for a gardener
Their skill set should include a love of the outdoors, green fingers and, presumably, the ability to dive out of harm’s way should Prince Philip ever choose to drive over for a visit.
A GP surgery in Cambridgeshire has hired staff who speak a record 15 languages to cope with patients born abroad.Can’t they just use Google translate like everyone else?
GENTLEMAN JACK actress Suranne Jones reveals that producers brought in an “intimacy director” to make sure the TV show’s sex scenes “do right by the lesbian community”.
An ‘intimacy director’ was used on Gentleman Jack
Nice work if you can get it. In fact, The Bloke is suddenly considering a change of career.A blatant plug
ARE you feeling a bit down? How about a week at a £900-a-night retreat set in 13 acres of tropical gardens on the island of Mustique?
Handout Mentioning The Cotton House on the SussexRoyal Instagram account was a blatant plug for a friend’s luxury bolthole
The Cotton House is run by an old chum of Meghan – now the Duchess of Sussex – and was mentioned on the royal couple’s Instagram account as part of their desire to “shine a light” on those doing “amazing work for mental health”.
Hmmm. One of the key factors in being a successful royal is to sympathise with the plight of the less well off proles, or at the very least pretend to.
This blatant plug for a friend’s luxury bolthole fails on both counts.
Social engineering, or merit?
LONDON Mayor hopeful Shaun Bailey says university quotas for black students would be ultimately “debilitating” because it would make them feel they didn’t have people’s “respect”.
PA:Press Association Shaun Bailey says university quotas for black students would make them feel they didn’t have people’s ‘respect’
He’s right. I feel the same way about women-only shortlists.
Chances are you’ll get what you’re after by being the best candidate.
But if you rule out other potential competitors on the basis of race or gender, you’ll be forever blighted by the whispers of numpties insinuating you got it by social engineering, rather than merit.
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EVER wonder why some of those pregnant models flogging you maternity clothes don’t look bloated? It’s because many of them aren’t “with child” at all. They’re wearing a fake bump.
We already have to tolerate those ads for disability aids that feature a thirtysomething with the agility of a mountain goat simply because companies clearly feel that showing hair loss, wrinkles and bunions is a little too much reality.
Now we’re being flogged the illusion that if we buy certain maternity clothes, we too might swerve the plight of swollen ankles and Popeye arms.