Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Prosecuted for criminal damage ... to hamburgers.

It seems that when Stephen Morgan's hamburgers failed to arrive with the rest of his food delivery he did something that has led to a criminal prosecution for :-
criminal damages to hamburgers, worth £5
Stephen will be appearing in Swansea Magistrates Court on 10th October.

Mrs Rigby can't imagine the CPS pursuing a prosecution that is neither in the public interest nor value for money, so presumably the case will either cost less than £5 or assaulting hamburgers is a dangerous pastime. Otherwise it would be a waste of taxpayer's money - right?

Mrs Rigby had a quick rummage through the depths of the internet to see if anybody had been taken to court, and been given a criminal record for something that cost even less. Here you go ...

Court case over 90p Oyster Card bus fare to cost £10,000

Mrs R is delighted by this ongoing vigilance, rapid intervention, charge and appropriate punishment of lawbreakers. She's pleased to know that anybody who breaks the rules or tries to get a free ride will be prosecuted - no matter how little the sum involved. After all, the Rigby family pay their way, so why shouldn't anybody else.

Ah, it doesn't always work that way.

Following Sir Thomas Legg's decision that Jacqui Smith," ... wrongly classified her main family home in Reddich as her second home ..." she is not to face prosecution. Her punishment was to stand up in Parliament and say, "Sorry!" and then go home with a clear conscience, and without a stain on her character. There will be no criminal record for Jacqui Smith for taking around £117k of taxpayers' money, and she's not being forced to pay it back - yet. (Mr Brown might change his mind because Dave C ordered Tories to repay any over-claims or face the sack.)

All this is nice for her and her family, and they won't face penury. No doubt it's something of a relief too, because it would be awfully unpleasant and very demeaning for an MP to be questioned by the Police, have their DNA harvested, and face criminal prosecution. Ah, but it happened to Damian Green, and Jeffrey Archer was sent to prison in 2001, after he was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice (that's 'telling lies under oath', and 'fabricating or disposing of evidence') - such a terrible thing that prison was the best place for him.

But wait!

It doesn't always work out like that, because although Lord Ahmed killed somebody when he was using his mobile phone whilst driving his car he didn't go to prison. Harriet Harman is said to have driven away after hitting a parked car whilst using her mobile phone, but she might get away with a slapped wrist. A certain Mr Blair is known to have shredded all sorts of documents before he left Downing Street, I wonder why?

Mrs Rigby wouldn't mind betting that Stephen Morgan would be delighted to be able to say sorry, or be sure of getting away with a slapped wrist for assaulting a hamburger, but the Police and the CPS won't let him.

Mrs Rigby believes that it shouldn't matter what political party anybody belongs to, or who their friends are, especially if they've broken the rules and used somebody else's money as if it's their own.
Because of this she thinks it IS in the public interest to at least attempt to recover the money misappropriated and treated as personal spending money by Jacqui Smith and other MPs of all political colours.

We are, as even Gordon Brown himself says, "... facing difficult times ..." and the country's broke. The country's so broke that we're selling bits of it off to the highest bidder.

Wouldn't you think that these MPs would be proud to 'do their bit' for their country? They expect the rest of us to, and to use a phrase oft quoted by a well-known supermarket, "Every little helps!"

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