Tuesday, December 21, 2004

"Ignorance of the law is no defence"

The title of this bloglet is a bog-standard response that is widely known
but perhaps little understood (at least by me!)

As someone who doesn't buy newspapers as a matter of course and then takes
the contents with a pinch of salt, I am probably hugely ignorant of the law
when it comes to all sorts of things that might make a jobsworth policeman
or beurocrat get a gleam in his eye.

I have a house full of all sorts of tools that could cause injury for a
burglar intent on causing harm, although fortunately for him (& it is nearly
always a him) I haven't got much of a clue where they actually are in the
house at the best of times, let alone in a struggle.

I will certainly have some unsavoury images on my computer & backup archives
that may well include illegal stuff involving children or donkeys. I know
this because it constantly arrives in my spambox and doesn't always get
deleted, either automatically or manually. I don't go looking for the stuff
but everyone who has been on the net for a while is in the same boat.

I don't know when lighting up times are, or indeed if they are still
published. I turn my car lights on when visibility is reduced, the best
measure for this is when I can't read my dashboard easily as it is heavily
cowled and tricky when dusk approaches.

I gather it used to be legitimate for a vehicle driver to tinkle against one
particular wheel, something dating back to horse and cart transport. Which
wheel it is and whether it has been subsequently repealed escapes me.

I used to be of the view that the Police Force were there to uphold the law,
banging up the scum of society whilst leaving us law abiding types alone.
Having read the coppersblog I'm not quite so sure of that, someone put it as
the new role of the Police Service to be mediation between offenders and

I used to believe that a policeman had to have "just cause" to stop a
motorist. After having read the Speccy three weeks ago, I'm not so sure and
unclear whether my Victorinox penknife is an offensive weapon (or indeed,
where it is in the house or garage!). Fortunately I don't have any
collapsible batons but have wondered whether a baseball bat might be a good
investment. It could be an engraved trophy fixed to the wall along with my
other certificates & memorabilia but if I put it upstairs I'd want it to be
held in place by spring clips....

How do we ordinary people know them we are on the wrong side of the law,
particularly when our value system is no longer a useful pointer to the
right course of action against bad law?

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