John Upton

John Upton is a lawyer who lives in London.

A black cloud of Islamist terror is said to be hanging over the Western world; and specific causes of violence and discontent have disappeared into it. Instead, we promote the idea that all acts of political violence involving Arabs or Muslims, if seen from the correct (that is to say US-inspired) angle, will fit together like a jigsaw to form an image of Osama bin Laden.

David Blunkett’s latest Criminal Justice Bill, this Government’s 12th piece of such legislation since coming to power in 1997, will go a long way to producing a caste of untouchables in this country: those accused of committing a crime. It will strip away safeguards that have taken centuries to accrue, and alienate criminal suspects further from society as a whole. It is an appeal...

“The Anderson ruling took a way from the Home Secretary the power to make the ultimate decision as to how long a mandatory life prisoner should serve; instead, it became one for the courts and the parole board. It was this judgment . . . together with the subsequent tabloid outrage, that provoked David Blunkett’s latest strike against the criminal justice system. He announced that legislation would soon be introduced severely to restrict judicial participation in determining the length of sentences for murderers, a group whose harsh treatment is considered by the Labour Party far too valuable a political currency to be left to the perceived lenience of the judiciary.”

From the outside, –– magistrates’ court looks like a leisure centre. It is built from big blocks of yellow stone and its metal window frames are painted a garish red. There is a cement plaque set into the façade which states that it was officially opened by a Lord Lieutenant. A large plate-glass door opens onto a vaulted vestibule. On the door there is a sticker which...


Bloody Sunday

11 July 2002

Muray Sayle’s piece on Bloody Sunday (LRB, 11 July) is dotted with ambiguities and inconsistencies, and it would be useful to have his clarification in a number of areas. First, there is the issue of whether or not there were any shots fired by the IRA. Sayle states near the beginning of his unpublished Sunday Times article of 3 February 1972, written with Derek Humphry, that ‘we can find no evidence...

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