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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Thursday, 14 August 2014

THE SPIRIT AND THE LETTER



From time to time in this job I have been involved in cases where the letter of the law and the spirit of said law do not coincide.  Starting from first principles it appears to me that the spirit arrived before the letter the latter being an expression in written form created by minds who were harbouring the spirit in their thought processes and who subsequently encapsulated those processes in what we now term “legislation”.   These points came to me as I read of two matters from the sports pages.  The first concerned  Celtic Football Club`s reinstatement in the Champions League subsequent to the opponents who thrashed them on the pitch being thrown out for a technical error in fielding an ineligible player.  It seems that in this case it is no contest: the letter must reign supreme over the spirit  however unfair it might at first glance appear.    The other case is closer to home in a blog written by a magistrate.  A star player of Sheffield United was convicted of rape a couple of years ago and is shortly  due to be released on license with his apparently having been offered his old job back at an annual wage of about one million pounds.   This seems to be a case of rehabilitating  somebody, who having committed and paid for a despicable crime, needs to find a way back to being a worthy citizen.  If he were a tradesman being accepted back into his old job there would be murmurs of praise for his employers giving him another chance.  Does the same not apply to somebody in the public eye despite being overpaid in a market where his talents reap their rewards?  60,000 people, some of  whom  are club supporters, have indicated their opposition to his return to the club.  If rehabilitation means anything at all they are misguided.  However as with most matters associated with top class English football the final decision on his employment will be based on the club`s balance sheet.  Will sponsors and supporters withdraw their support if he rejoins?  I think not such is the basis on which our national game is played and where this time the letter and the spirit are in harmony.

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