Thursday, 17 September 2009

The story of the Baroness and the maid

The UK Border Agency announced that it would conduct an inquiry after receiving a complaint which said that Baroness Scotland appeared to have contravened legislation that she herself helped to steer through parliament.

Downing Street said that Gordon Brown had "full confidence" in Scotland and that she had hired the housekeeper in good faith. (He also had full confidence in the Speaker Michael Martin and Hazel Blears and Lord Myners)

Baroness Scotland, who is the government's legal adviser, hired Loloahi Tapui, 27, over the last six months to look after her family home in west London.

But she was forced to sack the Tongan national yesterday after it emerged Tapui had overstayed on a student visa. That meant Tapui was no longer entitled to work in the UK.

The incident is embarrassing for Scotland because, as a Home Office minister in 2006, she helped the government to bring in legislation tightening the law on illegal immigrants. (Maybe she forgot)

The Immigration, Nationality and Asylum Act says employers can go to jail if they knowingly employ an illegal immigrant.

But they can also be fined up to £10,000 for unknowingly employing an illegal immigrant if they have not carried out proper checks. The act spells out in detail what checks are required, and employers have to see certain documentation, such as a passport, and keep a copy.

Steve Lamb, Regional Operations Director of the UK Border Agency said, We will not tolerate illegal working, .... - it undercuts British wages, exploits vulnerable workers and hurts legitimate law-abiding businesses. 'As long as there are illegal jobs, the UK will be an attractive place for illegal immigrants.

Well, actually he did not say it about Baroness Scotland. I found the entry on the UK Border Agency website under the heading, 'Employer faces £10,000 fine'.

Any bets on the Baroness getting off 'scot' free

Friday, 4 September 2009

Not all Judges are out of touch...

Ministers have been urged to change the law after a top judge said prison sentences for dangerous and violent criminals were too soft.

Judge Ian PEARSON, says he and his colleagues often found their hands tied when it came to handing down hefty jail terms.

Sentences for GBH and dangerous driving, in particular, should be substantially increased, he said.

Judge Pearson, who has sat at Portsmouth Crown Court for four years, said: 'Dangerous driving is a maximum of two years when it should be at least five.

'You can get 10 years for killing by dangerous driving but only two if you maim them for life.

'Grievous bodily harm is a maximum of five years, unless made with intent which can be life. There's an argument for there being a mid-range offence carrying 10 years.

'If someone is glassed in a pub and badly scarred, unless you can prove it was with intent, you can only really give them three years.

'If you can prove it was with intent you can give them life - it's an anomaly.'

Judge Pearson, who has more than 35 years experience in the legal profession, said prison acted as a deterrent and that the courts 'shouldn't shirk away from imposing prison sentences when appropriate'.

'Obviously crown court judges can only sentence in accordance with the law and in accordance with the views of the appeal court, so we would like frequently to impose heavier sentences,' he said.

Judge Pearson also said offenders who breached community penalties, such as those who fail to turn up for unpaid work, had to be punished quickly.

'The public, rightly in my view, have some concern over community penalties,' he said. 'It shouldn't be a soft option. If they step out of line they will come back to court straight away.'

Somebody tell the Home Secretary, - whoever it is this week.