Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Legal Calculation

When I make a few remarks on the British legal system, one of the things I have to explain to the uninitiated is how numbers just mean different things in Britain. Take the case of Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal. He's the guy who preached serious hate and went to jail for a hefty nine years. four years. And now he's out and sunning himself in the Caribbean (which, after all, is what he should have stuck to).

According to the BBC at the time "The judge recommended that el-Faisal, from Stratford in east London, should serve at least half of the sentence and then be deported."

Maybe we're there now, taking into account custodial time before the trial. Or maybe we're not. And maybe that too is a point worth arguing. In any case, it's simply absurd to append the tag "nine years" when we only mean four.

But that's me naively assuming that a crime carries a price, rather than prison as being a form of social management. We're all part of that continuum.

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