Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A novel defense of the indefensible

Remember the story out of England last spring, when it was revealed that up to 400 current and former members of Parliament had been brazenly using large amounts of public dollars for such unallowed personal expenses as upkeep on their lavish country manors? Some of those esteemed politicians even went so far as to maintain "phantom" employees and offices, which led to the shameful resignations of quite a few in that body.

Well, the indictments are beginning to roll in, and at least three of the cookie-jar bandits (liberals, of course) have come up with a novel defense - we can't be prosecuted for our crimes because a 1689 law protects us from such action:

"Their lawyers are understood to maintain that the Bill of Rights of 1689 makes them immune to prosecution."

From anything? How about murder? Would sexual assault go unpunished as well?

Here's but a sampling of the alleged deeds of the members in question, which clearly illustrates that the charges they face aren't the sort of free-speech political witchhunt that the Bill would seem to offer politicians protection from:

"Mr [Elliot] Morley and Mr [David] Chaytor both claimed thousands of pounds for "phantom" mortgages they had paid off. Mr [Jim] Devine submitted invoices for electrical work worth £2,157 from a company with an allegedly false address and an invalid VAT number."

Here's the relevant line from the Bill itself that the good barristers seem to be referencing when attempting to prevent their clients from getting what's rightly coming to them:

"That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament"

We sure don't see anything there about blanket immunity from prosecution from any crimes whatsoever.

Being a liberal British MP apparently means never having to apologize for one's transgressions, much less face the same sort of sanctions for blatant fraud they hypocritically require ordinary British peasants to endure.

Once again, the rules are different for the ones in charge. How nice for them.

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

If the 1689 Bill of Rights can be inferred to confer immunity from prosecution to Parliament, then the clear language of that document also prohibits all of England's gun laws. This could get very interesting if there are some enterprising gun owners out there.....