• Grenfell Tower: The sword is ever suspended.


    The Right Honourable David Lammy PC, FRSA, the Member for Tottenham being interviewed by Nick Robinson on BBC Radio recently.

    It is to François-Marie Arouet commonly known by his nom de plume Voltaire, who famously wrote, “Life resembles the banquet of Damocles; the sword is ever suspended.”

    The news that the Metropolitan Police have launched a criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy was of course inevitable.

    The two things that Mr Lammy and the many victims of that “towering inferno” can be absolutely sure of are:

    1. London Fire Brigade will conduct a thorough investigation into the fire and WILL find out the cause and WHY it spread so rapidly with such disastrous results.

    2. The Metropolitan Police WILL find out WHO did WHAT, WHERE and WHEN in relation to the refurbishment and the maintenance of the building.

    It is not unlikely that arrests will be made. However, as any criminal defence solicitor will quickly tell you, there is a very great difference between being arrested on suspicion of committing an offence and being charged with committing an offence and being convicted of committing that offence.

    These distinctions however are lost on many members of the general public however.

    In the event of arrests being made but no charges being brought against individuals suspected of committing an offence but found not to have committed an offence great anger on the part of the families and friends and neighbours of the victims is almost certain.

    It is not unlikely that some form of civil disturbance could follow.

    The problem for the politicians in these circumstances will be that many of these people will be demanding that the people involved in the management of the apartments and the firms involved in the refurbishment be “held to account” and “brought to justice” which of course is code for “sent to prison for a long time” and yet they will not be able to do so as the individuals “The People” want sent to prison would not have broken the criminal law.

    This is not going to end well.

    • This is a first: I have not in the past commented on my own articles. However the two comments cause me to do so. We must avoid jumping to conclusions. The bodies are yet to be collected from the ruin that is Grenfell Tower. IF the law has been broken then prosecutions will doubtless follow. However, it is very important not to speculate. Let the proper authorities conclude their investigations and let matters take their course.

    • As I am involved, with many others, in trying to get The Edward Han Hospital in St. Ives re – opened, I am hardened to being ‘ sent round and round and round the houses ‘ under The Freedom of Information debacle. NHS England constantly refer me to private companies for the information I seek. NHS England won’t ( or can’t ) give the information itself. It is a process designed to constantly frustrate narrowing down who is responsible for what.

      So, I suspect, similar may apply to this enquiry as to who is ultimately to blame for allowing inflammable parts of Grenfell Tower to be fitted – if in fact that is the reason for the ghastly fire spreading upwards at such a rate.

      Businesses, politicians, individuals may duck and weave and squirm out of every responsibility in the book.

      But when all is said and done. The Grenfell Tower fire MUST be the last, after numerous high rise fires all over the world.

      With 21st century technology, surely we have learned lessons by now. We owe it to those who died so horribly and frighteningly – and their many families and friends..

      Stuart Guppy

    • Another good post from the BG. Keep it up!

      What I fear is that the nation’s justice system is getting nearly as corrupt as it’s political system.

      I agree with your suspicion that individuals will be arrested vis-à-vis the tragedy but fear that the politicians and the apparatchiks in the police, the CPS and the courts will take the view that “The People” – and we all know which particular group of people – will feel it is politically essential that someone be “held to account” and will therefore not only arrest but eventually charge a person or persons will corporate manslaughter and the CPS will prosecute the case in any event – even when a lawyer would suggest that there is no realistic hope of a conviction.

      I reckon we could have a situation where our judges have become so hopelessly politically correct that a trial judge may reject a defence barrister’s request to direct the jury to acquit – when it would be clear in law that that would be the course of action he or she should take but would persist in letting the jury judge the issue.

      The authorities would of course be hoping that the jury will not judge the case on the basis of the legal case but on their own feelings and convict.

      What the authorities will want is to see men and or women go to prison.

      The authorities will content themselves with the knowledge that those convicted will be able to appeal the verdict on the grounds of misdirection – i.e.; the trial judge should have accepted the defence counsel’s request to direct the jury to acquit.

      The authorities will of course arrange the timetable so as to ensure that around 6 months or so will pass between the date those convicted in the Crown Court are “sent down” and them appearing before the Court of Appeal and their subsequent acquittal.

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