Justice

A justice system that works for all?

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David Lammy MP has been a powerful advocate for justice following the Grenfell Tower fire, calling for corporate manslaughter charges to be brought, and he has spoken out regularly against racism. Last month his review of how black people are treated in the criminal justice system grabbed headlines for highlighting discrimination, but does it go far enough? Claire Dissington assesses his proposals.

As someone who works in the criminal justice system, I was excited to see the publication of David Lammy’s report into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals within it. It rightly grabbed headlines last month for highlighting the hugely disproportionate number of ethnic minority people in prison.

Still fighting for justice

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Tony Stock

Author Jon Robins spoke to Matt Foot about the decades old campaign to clear the name of a man wrongly jailed for robbery in 1970.

The case of Tony Stock is one of the longest running miscarriages of justice and encapsulates all that is wrong with the criminal justice system. Stock was convicted in 1970 of an armed robbery and sentenced to ten years in prison. Juries get it wrong because the evidence they are presented supports a conviction. Invariably this is because the evidence itself has been distorted, or important evidence is ignored or hidden. The witness who identified Stock did so after being driven 71 miles with the investigating officer to Stock’s home.

After the inquest into Mark Duggan's death, police are racist to the core

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The killing that sparked the 2011 summer riots has exposed the reality of policing of black, Asian and working class communities. Brian Richardson looks at the inquest and its aftermath.

The police and political establishment must have feared the worst when an inquest jury announced in January that they did not believe that Mark Duggan had a gun in his hand when he was fatally shot by police officers in Tottenham, North London, on 4 August 2011. Ultimately, however, they must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when the jury concluded that the killing was lawful.

Hillsborough: truth, now justice

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Seldom does the struggle for justice intrude on, let alone dominate, media sports coverage, but the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel did.

The facts can be briefly stated: 96 Liverpool fans died, crushed behind steel fences at Sheffield's Hillsborough stadium. Many died from asphyxia where they stood. The list of victims reads like a war memorial with 37 teenagers, 60 under 25.

Most football grounds then had high fences barring pitch access and more fences cordoning off terrace enclosures. Hillsborough was a regular venue for semi-finals and a regular scene of potential disaster. A crush in 1981 left 38 injured. There was serious overcrowding in 1987 and a crush again in 1988.

Justice For Trayvon

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In late February George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. That much is not in dispute - Zimmerman and his lawyer admit it. It's a scandal, but not for the reasons most of the media are telling you.

Zimmerman is a neighbourhood watch "captain" in a gated community. Martin was a 17 year old African American wearing a hoodie and visiting relatives. Zimmerman thought maybe Trayvon Martin was a prowler. So he called 911 (the American 999) and followed Martin, talking to the 911 operative as he did so. On the tape of the call, Zimmerman says to the 911 dispatcher, "He looks [...pause...] black."

I rest my Casey

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Louise Casey, former Asbo tsar, is recommending that the government curtail the right to request a jury trial for some offences. Matt Foot exposes the injustices at the heart of Britain's justice system.

Governments come and go but tsars remain. Like some awful nightmare, the former anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) tsar, Louise Casey, has returned - this time as the commissioner for victims and witnesses. The Con-Dem government was quick to close all sorts of quangos (many useful), but has inexcusably promoted this unelected has-been as spokesperson for reform of the criminal justice system.

Growing up with racism in Britain

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The threat posed by racists on the streets and fascists at the ballot box shows that racism has not gone away. Zita Holbourne, Weyman Bennett, Hesketh Benoit, Marcia Rigg and Assed Baig discuss their experience of racism and how to fight back.

"Let's tackle the roots of racism" - Zita Holbourne

Growing up in 1970s London, I was viewed as a strange phenomenon by many. Frequently my mother was told to "go back home" and called a "wog". People tried to apply labels to me and called me "half caste", "half breed", "half pint". Some didn't know what my race was but knew they disliked me because of the way I looked and called me "Paki", "Greek girl" and "Chinese girl".

State violence exposed

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The death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London last month has reopened the debate on police accountability. Filmmaker Ken Fero remembers those who have died while in police custody and his fight to show the truth with his documentary, Injustice

Ian Tomlinson's death on 1 April during the G20 protests in the City of London was tragic and his grieving family and friends are demanding to know how and why he died. Establishing the cause of death is just one of many painful experiences that they will go through in order to find out the truth. Like the families before them who have lost loved ones after coming into police "contact" they will now have to suffer the indignity of Ian's body having three post-mortems.

Carpentaria

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Alexis Wright, Constable, £16.99

This is a truly wonderful book. Written by an Australian Aboriginal woman, it tells the epic story of the inhabitants of the fictional town of Desperance, a godforsaken dusty red-earthed settlement abandoned by its river in northern Queensland.

The Westend Pricklebush people, led by the Phantom family, are engaged in battles with Joseph Midnight's Eastend people as well as the white community of Uptown and a multinational mining company.

J is for Justice

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Bob Dylan's song "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" begins with words that are the cornerstone of justification for the justice system in model capitalist democracies.

"In the courtroom of honour, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom."

The system, it is argued, is just, fair and equitable, and everybody is treated equally, tried by their peers having been given a fair hearing.

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