Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.




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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

FROM EAST TO WEST



Immigration is a topic which is now rarely out of the news.  Perhaps if it had not been off limits for politicians of all parties for so long it would not now be newsworthy when every ramification of the previous government`s blind eye to the numbers and origins of incomers seems to be coming back to haunt us from the vastly under estimated numbers coming here from Eastern Europe after 2006 to the latest prediction of schools running out of capacity owing mainly to the fertility of immigrants of the last decade.  Immigration mainly from Pakistan has opened a door to the cultural manifestations of a society which were virtually unknown to many in these islands twenty five years ago.  In general there is a tolerance and harmony of which we and  our newest citizens  can be proud.  However when people are uprooted by war and civil strife and are forced to bring their familial traditions to these shores from east of Suez a court can be the place where these are revealed to a wider audience.



Ameera and her large family of parents and five siblings had been forced to leave their native country earlier in the last decade because of continuing civil  unrest which had become life threatening.  Her father was in court charged with assault.  Ameera who had just the  slightest trace of an Arabic accent was eighteen years old and appeared as the complainant and only CPS witness. She was wearing clothes common to any girl of her age; neatly pressed jeans and a modest top.  Her long black hair was uncovered.  She took the oath on the Koran. Her evidence of life under her father`s roof revealed that he was an authoritarian for whom religion, culture and tradition were inseparable.  Repeatedly wiping away her tears she described the alleged assault.  When Abir entered the witness box he was accompanied by an interpreter.  His evidence was full of contradictions.  He was proud to tell the prosecutor  that he was a devout Muslim and admitted that   he found living in the west had put a strain on family relationships all the while denying the charge.  The evidence was clearly against him and we found him guilty.  Prior to adjourning for pre sentence report we were informed that he had been cautioned a year previously for assault on his wife and earlier this year had been convicted of assaulting Ameera. 



We had been given an insight into the innermost conflicts within a family trying to adapt to life in a very foreign country and with little likelihood of their ever being able to return from whence they came.  Probably repeated within  thousands of households many such events are unlikely to come to court but are likely to remain commonplace for a very long time.

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