Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Crazy World We Live In

Just how crazy are we in the UK? I read the following story with my mouth open in amazement! Why do we allow a convicted child killer to waste the taxpayer's money on a ridiculous court case like this? It seems pretty obvious to me that when Peter Chester raped and strangled his seven-year-old niece he forfeited any Human Rights he might have had.

Anyway, read the story and see what you think.

Dark Justice is almost done. The theme is police vigilantes and the more I research it the more I think that vigilantism done properly is perhaps not a bad thing. I was thinking of starting a vigilante website and putting up the details of men like Chester.... release dates, home addresses etc. Maybe people might start behaving a little better if they thought that there would be repercussions when they behaved like animals...

A convicted child killer is to take the Government to court over its refusal to let him vote.

Peter Chester, 54, was jailed for life in the 1978 for raping and strangling his seven-year-old niece Donna Marie Gillbanks, in her bed in Blackpool.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years at Wakefield prison, but has now been behind bars for 12 years longer than his tariff, having been repeatedly turned down for release.

He is now challenging the law that bans serving prisoners in the UK from taking part in elections, claiming it violates his human rights.

Serving prisoners are banned from voting under the Representation of the People Act, 1969, but legislation forfeiting prisoner's right to take part in elections stretched back as far as 1876.

Chester, also known as Peter Chester Speakman, has filed a claim against Wakefield council and Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw, which is due to be heard by the High Court in London in October.

He claims that the statutes preventing him from voting conflict with the Human Rights Act, by preventing him from taking part in free and fair elections.

Chester's lawyer, Marcus Farrar said he should be able to vote as he has served the punitive part of his sentence. Mr Farrar told the Yorkshire Post that Chester was "hopeful of voting in an election some time."

But June Gillbanks, Donna Marie's mother said the killer gave up any rights he had when he murdered her daughter. "I think prisoners have enough rights and victims very little," she told the Yorkshire Post. "The scales of justice are balanced more towards murderers."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We can't comment on ongoing court proceedings."


Anonymous said...

You are right Stephen that our British soft sentencing procedures are really at the heart of some of our worst social and criminal problems. They fail to deter miscreants. I note that many of our young feral killers just can't accept when they are first caught and interviewed that they will be punished and incarcerated. Their previous crimes having gone unpunished. By the way you seem not to have commented on the David Carradine death in Bangkok. Conspiracy theories abound, what is your gut feeling on this one: 'murder' or 'suicide'? Cheers Paul.

Stephen Leather said...

I was a huge fan of David Carradine and loved the Kung Fu series. No need for a gut feeling, it was an accident, pure and simple. A pal of mine saw the case file and his belongings (including his thong!)in a Bangkok police station and there's no doubt that he did it to himself. Tragic. But at least he died happy and doing something he enjoyed, which doesn't happen to most people!

Ricky said...

I'm all for the vigilante website idea!!

Anonymous said...


Picked up Solitary Man from Tesco's and just finished reading it. Loved Hutch and a great story. Was writing a review for Amazon and researching your other books when I came across your website, which is brilliant. And a blog!

Am off at lunch to get the latest book to see if your writing style has changed in the twelve years since Solitary Man?

Anonymous said...

I think that although most of us would dearly love some evil bastard to get his just desserts, we have to consider that power corrupts even the best of intentions.
Having trapsed the streets of N.I. where community justice is dispensed on a regular basis, I can say that vigilante groups trade justice and fear for control and power. You can say the state is no different, but at least with them, there is the possibility of reasonable practice and a (flawed)appeals process.


Jes said...

I agree with what you said Stephen and there are too many monsters roaming around free to continue to commit the most horrific crimes against innocent human beings. The government are too soft and there are too many "do gooders" fighting for the rights of these monsters. What about the rights of the victims? Why are we paying good money to keep these killers alive? I don't think we should even consider just jailing them and as for paedophiles, terrorists, murderers, rapists etc., we should be giving out the same punishment that they gave their victims, and then throw them into a dungeon, not a soft cell with colour tv and all the home comforts they get. Get rid of the soft governments and vote for people who will deal with criminals as they should be dealt with, if they kill their victim, end their lives in the same manner. Vigilante....yes, yes, yes

MJS said...

Human rights is a contradiction in terms, because it can become a Catch 22 situation, where your human rights deny my human rights.

It hasn't been thought through and while it has achieved some good, it has done a lot more harm.