View previous topic | View next topic

Brexit Liar faces Prosecution

Page 1 of 5
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

PDR
1321828.  Wed May 15, 2019 2:11 am Reply with quote

Boris Johnson is probably to face a private prosecution for Misconduct In Public Office for the demonstrably untrue claims he made during the brexit referendum campaign. A judge has cleared all but the final stage for the prosecution to go ahead.

After hearing and rejecting the legally contentious aspects in private hearings, next week there will be a public hearing at which a judge will finally determine whether the criminal prosecution should proceed.

PDR

 
GuyBarry
1321829.  Wed May 15, 2019 2:38 am Reply with quote

What criminal offence has he been accused of? The article refers to "misconduct in public office", defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as follows:

Quote:
The offence is committed when:

a public officer acting as such;
wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself;
to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder;
without reasonable excuse or justification.


Boris Johnson was Mayor of London for the early part of the campaign but for most of it the only public office he held was that of MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. He didn't enter the Cabinet until after the referendum.

I'm no legal expert but it's hard to see how anything an MP says during a referendum campaign can count as neglecting to perform one's duty or an "abuse of public trust". If he had genuinely lost the trust of his constituents then they had an opportunity to vote him out at the 2017 general election.

 
PDR
1321830.  Wed May 15, 2019 3:02 am Reply with quote

AIUI the prosecution relates tpo things he said whilst still mayor of London.

I *my* opinion (IANAL) It is also arguable that an MP would be expected and trusted to have access to accurate information on these matters, so in knowingly disseminating untrue information the MP would be abusing that public trust. But I don't know whether this argument is legally sound in the context of this prosecution.

PDR

 
GuyBarry
1321834.  Wed May 15, 2019 3:27 am Reply with quote

Lying during a referendum or election campaign is not, as far as I know, a criminal offence. If someone tells lies during a political campaign then it's the responsibility of their opponents to call them out on those lies. Ultimately the judgement is made by the public at the ballot-box.

Since Boris Johnson didn't stand again as Mayor of London in 2016, it's very hard to see what charges could be made against him that would stick. This strikes me as a bit of a stunt.

 
PDR
1321837.  Wed May 15, 2019 3:43 am Reply with quote

Well if so it's a stunt that has already passed several legal hurdles withjout getting thrown out, so clearly the judges' views tend more to the idea that someone who holds public office who deliberately misleads the public for political gain at least spawns a criminal case that should be heard.

GuyBarry wrote:
Lying during a referendum or election campaign is not, as far as I know, a criminal offence.


It looks like there is a legal argument that, for someone who already holds public office, lying very much COULD be a criminal offence. Would that be a bad thing?

Lets see what they decide next week.

PDR

 
Alexander Howard
1321849.  Wed May 15, 2019 6:03 am Reply with quote

If an MP can be prosecuted for lying, then they will need 650 new cells in the Scrubs.

 
Alexander Howard
1321853.  Wed May 15, 2019 6:35 am Reply with quote

What are we going to do with all those in public office who swore blind that a 'Leave' vote would trigger an immediate recession and outflow of investment, or a Chancellor of the Exchequer who say, in his office, that he would bring an emergency budget with major tax rises? What of those who said that the EU had no plans for a European Army? Dig those dungeons deep.

Then there are MPs and MEPs who after the vote openly conspired with a foreign power to damage the British negotiating position. In wiser days we would see their heads on spikes on London Bridge.

But I get ahead of myself - words mean different things to different men, and in today's parlance a "lie" is "an opinion with which I disagree".

 
GuyBarry
1321856.  Wed May 15, 2019 6:41 am Reply with quote

I think there's a distinction to be drawn between what politicians say in the course of their duties and what they say when campaigning.

The claims of Boris Johnson (and others in the Vote Leave campaign) did not go unchallenged; on the contrary, they were challenged vociferously by the other side and were the subject of intense debate during the campaign. It was up to voters to decide which side they believed.

If this prosecution does go ahead, then it'll set a precedent for an awful lot of other similar cases.

 
tetsabb
1321865.  Wed May 15, 2019 8:26 am Reply with quote

I have heard of this claim about a Euro army, but not seen any evidence for it.
Should we leave NATO? Expensive, not very democratic, and it makes us pretty subservient to a foreign power, one could argue.

 
PDR
1321869.  Wed May 15, 2019 8:46 am Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
What are we going to do with all those in public office who swore blind that a 'Leave' vote would trigger an immediate recession and outflow of investment, or a Chancellor of the Exchequer who say, in his office, that he would bring an emergency budget with major tax rises? What of those who said that the EU had no plans for a European Army?


There is a world of difference in making a prediction that fails to transpire and making a statement of objective fact which is, and was known to be at the time, demonstrably untrue. It is my understanding that it is statements in the second class which are the basis of this prosecution.

Quote:
...and in today's parlance a "lie" is "an opinion with which I disagree".


No, in today's parlance a lie remains what it has always been - an objective statement which was known to be untrue by the person who uttered it at the time it was uttered.

Personally I find the idea that politicians could face criminal sanction for deliberately giving fake facts to be quite reassuring. It might be a start on the road to regaining the electorate's trust, leading to greater public engagement in the democratic process.

Heads on spikes may be a little extreme - I think a simple "stand there" followed by "Dracaris" would be more than sufficient.


PDR


Last edited by PDR on Wed May 15, 2019 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
suze
1321874.  Wed May 15, 2019 11:15 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Boris Johnson is probably to face a private prosecution for Misconduct In Public Office for the demonstrably untrue claims he made during the brexit referendum campaign.


Come on now, there's a certain amount of spin in that sentence. Mr Johnson might face prosecution for that alleged offence, but to say that he probably will is perhaps an overstatement.


PDR wrote:
After hearing and rejecting the legally contentious aspects in private hearings, next week there will be a public hearing at which a judge will finally determine whether the criminal prosecution should proceed.


Before that hearing happens, how likely is it that the judge will be visited at home late one evening, and a conversation which never took place will occur? In that conversation, the judge will be told that she has decided that there is no case to answer.

I wish I didn't believe that, but ...

 
PDR
1321885.  Wed May 15, 2019 12:11 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
but to say that he probably will is perhaps an overstatement.


Perhaps, but that is the way several non-tabloid newspapers described it. The times actually omitted even the "probably", so I was (and still am) comfortable with the way I described it.


Quote:
Before that hearing happens, how likely is it that the judge will be visited at home late one evening, and a conversation which never took place will occur? In that conversation, the judge will be told that she has decided that there is no case to answer.


How likely? somewhere between 0 and 1 I guess. Let's wait and see. From the report on the radio this morning the "potentially contentious" bits were not (as I had assumed) further charges, but were actually the arguments put by Boris's legal team for having the charges dismissed without a hearing.

So you may be right, but we'll have to wait and see.

PDR

 
GuyBarry
1322922.  Wed May 29, 2019 5:10 am Reply with quote

Boris Johnson will be summonsed to court for a preliminary hearing to face accusations of misconduct in public office:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/29/boris-johnson-appear-court-eu-referendum-misconduct-claims

 
Alexander Howard
1322925.  Wed May 29, 2019 5:42 am Reply with quote

I do hope those bringing the prosecution have the funds in hand to pay the court costs and Mr Johnson's legal costs.

Private prosecutions are a safeguard against tyranny, but those who attempt them unwisely must bear the consequences.

 
GuyBarry
1322928.  Wed May 29, 2019 5:50 am Reply with quote

They've raised over 200,000 through crowdfunding, apparently. No idea whether that's likely to be enough.

 

Page 1 of 5
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group