A toe in the water
Friday, August 06, 2010
How I have missed you, gentle readers. My problem (see last post) is not yet resolved. Perhaps it never will be. But there is hope. Mrs Paine and I are visiting Dublin and looking forward to some time together after many months apart.
Mrs P told me a revealing story of a mutual acquaintance. Un femme d'un certain age, she went out four times with a chap she met as a customer at the jewellery store where she works (the store where Mrs P and I have bought most of our modest family treasures over the years). He stopped calling and it turned out that this was because he was in gaol. She found out because the police interviewed her as an associate and accused her of complicity with his crimes (he is - though she had no idea - a drug dealer). Her bank accounts were frozen as suspected proceeds of crime. After some months of living on family loans, she was acquitted and the funds released.
Months later she sold two high value watches to two men who came into the shop. She had never met them before. They paid cash and it turned out they were drug dealers laundering their profits. Again, she was accused of complicity. She is a salaried employee and earned no commissions on the sales. She had no reason to be suspicious. Indeed if anyone should have reported the transaction, it was her employer. I am guessing he did, which is how the police became involved.
Again, her accounts were frozen. After more stressful months (she is a meek, gentle soul) she stood trial. The prosecutor sneered in cross examination about her ruby ring (a gift from her employer for 30 years' service) and her villa in Tuscany (bought from a divorce settlement). Despite a favourable direction from the judge a jury of envious Scousers in Liverpool Crown Court convicted her. She served a community service sentence and now has a criminal record.
I would bet my life she is innocent. Her employers must agree as they have taken her back. That's just as well as she is unemployable elsewhere. She is understandably disillusioned about British justice. I am convinced she is a victim of a miscarriage of justice driven - in my guess born of long knowledge of the area - by class envy. Though a mere "shop girl" she is well dressed and well spoken. Her Tuscan Villa (more a cottage) and her jewellery were all the evidence her Liverpudlian jury needed. Were I wrongly accused, with my honestly earned Maserati and collection of serious watches, what chance would I stand?
Retirement to my Northern homelands is clearly not an option. The new government (whose writ barely runs in these strongholds of envy and malice) has much to do to make Britain fit for honest folk again.
I'll say a prayer for her. In the meantime, tell her not to bother with the National Lottery....
Posted by: Rob F | Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 10:20 PM
Very pleased that you are back, Tom. Your eloquent posts were missed. As regards your tale, one thing puzzles me. You may not have all the fine detail but did the prosecution establish some connection between your friend and the launderers. Otherwise, it seems to me that anyone accepting any amount of cash, even as an employee on behalf of an employer, is vulnerable to prosecution.
Posted by: Phillip Downs | Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 01:57 PM
Welcome back TP. Is there any good news out of the UK you might like to share with your readers at all or is that outside your mandate for this blog?
Enjoy your visit to Dublin and don't hit any sheep with your Maserati. I hear they think they own the roads in Ireland.
Posted by: JMB | Monday, August 09, 2010 at 09:21 PM
Great to hear from you again, and sorry to hear that your problem remains.
This blog has long lamented the decline of jury trials, and with good reason, but it's good to see recognition of the pitfalls. Your article highlights a question I've long pondered, and which goes to the heart of Libertarianism: can the common man be trusted?
My feeling is that people can and should be trusted to look after their own interests, but should as rarely as possible be put in a position of power over others. This applies to Philosopher Kings as much as lowly plebs.
In legal matters, I assume the solution is to make laws as few and simple as possible. What would be the answer in this case? Should money laundering be a crime? Certainly the sale of drugs should not.
Posted by: Suboptimal Planet | Monday, August 09, 2010 at 02:54 PM
Posted by: Carter | Monday, August 09, 2010 at 12:46 AM
As other bloggers fall by the wayside, many it seems struck down in some kind of post-labour mass extinction event, unable to adapt to the new environment, it is good news indeed if Mr Paine is returning to action.
Posted by: Trooper Thompson | Sunday, August 08, 2010 at 01:10 PM
Welcome back online or off again if required. Yourself and family come first. I look forward to your posts.
Posted by: Kinderling | Sunday, August 08, 2010 at 11:13 AM
Welcome back Tom you have been missed.Hope things turn out for the best. In 70 years I have been in court three times as a witness only. Once as a terrified twelve year old I spoke the absolute truth and the criminal got off on a technicality, twice in civil cases where the lying fraudster won the case. Justice is truly blind in the UK.
Posted by: Peter Whale | Saturday, August 07, 2010 at 11:51 AM
Glad to see you posting once more, but not to hear that you still have worries in the background .
Sadly I have had to close down my blog, I hope temporarily but fear it may have to be for good. It is never good to see you are under surveillance by the State, and after my experiences of the last four years, I now know that British Justice is long dead and buried, and the Star Chamber has been quietly reintroduced.
Posted by: Guthrum | Saturday, August 07, 2010 at 11:28 AM
We missed you.
Posted by: Colin Campbell | Saturday, August 07, 2010 at 02:14 AM
A toe in the water or a foothold on dry land?
Posted by: jameshigham | Friday, August 06, 2010 at 10:25 PM
Very glad to see you back.
Posted by: Johnny Howson | Friday, August 06, 2010 at 04:50 PM