Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Turd Way Watch

WHAT do you give someone who’s been proved innocent after spending the best part of their life behind bars, wrongfully convicted of a crime they didn’t commit?

An apology, maybe? Counselling? Champagne? Compensation? Well, if you’re David Blunkett, the Labour Home Secretary, the choice is simple: you give them a big, fat bill for the cost of board and lodgings for the time they spent freeloading at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in British prisons.

Paddy Hill figured spending 16 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit was bad enough, but now, to add insult to injury, the Scotland resident is being charged by the British government more than £3,000 for each year he was incarcerated to cover the cost of his housing and food.

And Hill is not alone. Many others wrongly convicted are receiving similar demands from London.

Britain's David Blunkett, the Labour home secretary, sees nothing wrong with charging an innocent man for what he cost the government in upkeep, reported Scotland's Sunday Herald.

In fact, Blunkett is scheduled to fight in court tomorrow for the right to charge victims of wrongful convictions.

This has to be one of those urban legends, doesn't it? Perhaps not:

A judge’s ruling which increased compensation to two men wrongly convicted for the murder of paperboy Carl Bridgewater was being challenged in the Court of Appeal today.

The independent assessor asked by the Home Office to work out the scale of compensation is appealing against parts of the High Court judgment which includes the quashing of his 25% deduction for “board and lodgings” while in jail.

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