Nice try, bastards.
Via Captain Ranty I see that the Troughtastic Four of Lord Hanningfield and Messrs Morley, Devine and Chaytor, or as I think of them Mister Troughtastic, The Human Snort, The Visible Whine, and That Fucking Thing, cannot claim that their expenses are parliamentary proceedings and protected by the Bill of Rights, and are therefore able to be tried for the crimes they’re accused of. Not only that but there are some absolute gems in there.
The judge said he accepted that the processing of the expenses was part of the workings of parliament, but that there was no reason to extend parliamentary privilege to expense claims.
“There has to be a line drawn and it has to be drawn somewhere,” he told Southwark Crown Court in central London, the Press Association reported.
“I can see no logical, practical or moral justification for a claim for expenses being covered by privilege; and I can see no legal justification for it either.
“In my judgement, the conduct alleged against these defendants is not covered by parliamentary privilege and is triable in the Crown Court,” he said.
“The principle that all men are equal before the law is an important one and should be observed unless there is good reason why it should not apply.”
Yes, good call. Allowing the submission of false expenses to be included as ‘Parliamentary proceedings’ and therefore protected by the Bill of Rights would have been insane, not to mention have set a very iffy precedent, and a nice reminder of the principle of equality before the law to wrap things up. Excellent stuff.
But it’s not all good news. The judge gave them leave to appeal and they’ve said they’re going to – needless to say that’ll cost the taxpayer another small fortune, but the country’s so far up shit creek money-wise that another few hundred grand is like a dropping a spoonful of water on a drowning man. I suppose it’s better to allow the appeal now so they can’t play it later, and if equality before the law is to mean anything it has to apply to cockstains like these too. Also disappointing was that my wish that on the way out of court they should fall down the stairs and land on their bollocks didn’t come true, but I’m not too upset about that since they still might end up re-enacting some of the more graphic scenes in The Shawshank Redemption.