Many of you will only have yesterday learned about Lauri Love, however a rising number of people have been supporting him over the months as he has faced trial after trial in this matter. I suggest that given this case has been largely silent in mainstream media, we are seeing another measure of inequality in the UK.
It is important to remember sub judice, which is a rule in law, basically stating that publications should not deal with matters which are before the court. The point being that influence can be brought to bear on juries, adjudicators and judges potentially. We will therefore only mention two key facts, one that he is facing extradition to the United States of America for alleged hacking, which carries a potential 99 year prison sentence. The other is the Rule of Law, which encompasses 3 principles as defined by Dicey, namely:
Rule of Law - Principle 1
'no man is punishable or can be lawfully made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts of the land. In this sense the rule of law is contrasted with every system of government based on the exercise by persons in authority of wide, arbitrary, or discretionary powers of constraint'.
Rule of Law - Principle 2
'every man, whatever be his rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals'.
Rule of Law - Principle 3
'The unwritten constitution in the UK could be said to be pervaded by the rule of law because rights to personal liberty, or public meeting resulted from judicial decisions, whereas under many foreign constitutions such rights flowed from a written constitution.'
Yesterday, it was a reality check to hear that in Lauri Love's case, his UK solicitor (Karen Todner of Kaim Todner Solicitors Limited) was working pro bono. Yet this man is essentially facing a life sentence, as 99 years would signify that to most of us, without consideration of even prison conditions.
The Human Rights Act 1998 affords each citizen a right to legal representation and a fair trial. However, this case is being fought by a solicitor who clearly has belief of the inequality of system, and is working for free as she is a partner in her firm. Just imagine how many other individuals have not be able to attract any media attention, to gain help to fight a whole government with unimaginable resources. This whole situation arguably represents an inequality of arms.
We are indeed heading for a time, when justice will be available to those with wealth solely. Furthermore, with the current balance of power as it stands, there is scope for much abuse of power and dictatorship, with one side holding the keys to wealth, data and the executive.
Sadly, the media has a huge part to play in this issue. Furthermore, it must be examined and challenged as we no longer have a free press in most regions of the world.
People have lost empathy and care, given the behaviour of our leaders and the media. Irresponsible reporting has built a climate of fear and hostility. Many make assumptions based on what they are told, rather than examining the facts in a balanced way.
It used to be the case, that the British public would support the 'underdog'. Lately, an underdog has become a 'thorn', where care is not afforded to them. We have been bystanders to months of attack on the vulnerable, whilst at the other end of the spectrum we have been shown MP expense fraud, election fraud and the Panama Papers. Even before this we had the banking crisis and tax avoidance by big business. Whistleblowers are now hunted rather than commended and protected for exposure of the wrongdoing of big business or government.
We must ask ourselves why we are so quick to judge in a negative way. People have changed and their perceptions more so. There is a belief that it somehow will improve things to be self-centred, not to care and in the case of some, their own lives will be better if the life of others is worse.
This morning I watched a news report from France 24, which discussed data mining from fibre lines under the sea. Equally that the telecommunication companies were aware that this was happening and were turning a blind eye. It has widely been reported that many world leaders had their communications hacked by intelligence agencies, and yet to my knowledge no charges were faced. This link gives more information about governmental hacking.
The BREXIT vote showed 17 million people wanted to reclaim their sovereignty. However, this could be perceived as not being just from Europe, as the United States must be given consideration too. This vote was one where the people wanted control back within their own borders. The public wanted decision-making on their own shores and not by outside foreign entities.
The public were persuaded by the 'Leave Campaign' that the UK should have power to extradite terror suspects in the future. The current Prime Minister has campaigned long and hard on this point, so surely the converse should apply in an equal society with its own newly demanded sovereignty.
Many extraditions in recent years have been postponed and not happened on the basis of Human Rights, particularly on the right to a private family life. Courts were persuaded that where family existed in the UK, it would be a breach of these rights to deport or extradite certain individuals.
Lauri Love seems to fit those criteria, in that he is British with his sole family network here. However maybe we are seeing an inequality here, as these are quite different allegations. We must equally always seek to place evidence before a person facing charge. Otherwise, they will be unable to fight and prove their innocence, especially if charge(s) and evidence are not presented in full view.
There is another element to loosely consider given we are dealing with information technology, which is a rapidly changing medium. Careful consideration must be given as to where the alleged crime was committed, as to where prosecution (if any) should take place. It does somehow undermine partnerships, when the world is supposed to be working together within government, to still extradite individuals to face prosecution under harsh or simply foreign regimes.
Lauri Love is an inspirational man, who is shouldering the burden for each one of us in the face of legislation like the Snoopers Charter, and our basic rights and freedoms in a fast-changing modern society.
It is clear that there is much inequality already in this case, especially when facing an opponent holding all the cards. The anxiety must be phenomenal for Lauri and his parents as demonstrated in this short video. Please click here to view this video of Lauri Love and his father.
Consideration must be given as to whether punishment is the best way, and in this case potentially revenge. The UK has in recent years, recognised the importance of rehabilitation over punishment, which in the past caused a gridlocked prison system. Trust must be a consideration too, as several cases of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay resulted in huge payouts by the UK government. We cannot always rely on others in determining the truth as those parties clearly had other agendas at play in the past. We must never follow a "Minority Report" style justice, judging individuals for future crimes; which is why evidence must be readily available to substantiate claims, and of course, to defend against them.
Compassion is a big word, but a simple principle. However, this case involves much more than just this. We must all be inspired to make a difference, inspired to learn more and most important inspired to care.
Legal cases cost phenomenal amounts of money, and I can only imagine this case will be costing large amounts for solicitors and no doubt barristers too. A link to the Courage Found website is attached here, where you can find out more about helping Lauri with this battle.
Clearly, this case needs publicity so please follow on social media, and make sure to share and retweet to keep the case in the public eye. This way we can all do our part to ensure a just and fair conclusion for Lauri Love.
Comments will be approved before showing up.