On the Wing

Flying in the face of widespread left wing extremism!

Legal Upheaval.

Posted by Exile on February 18, 2007

The cat is really amongst the pigeons in the legal halls of Denmark after the acquittal of three of the four men charged with planning terrorist activity. Both “sides” are complaining bitterly about the case, not least of all the District Attorney. He is now pressing the Public Prosecutor to determine if and when he can raise new charges against the three.
The whole charade started after a jury had found all four suspects guilty of planning a terror action, The three judges hearing the case rescinded the decision and acquitted three of the men. Jørn Vestergaard, an associate law professor at the University of Copenhagen said, and I quote; ‘It isn’t enough to raise the probability that someone is radical, fundamental or doing something suspicious.’ And that is exactly the problem. How does one prove intent? I mean, beyond doubt. Our laws do not allow for that.
The nub is, that planning a crime is not a crime. It is only after you commit that crime that you are outside of the law. We have to illegalise the planning and intention to commit wrongful, especially terrorist, activity.
I am not alone in this opinion.
Jyllands Posten had this to say in its article on the Copenhagen Post:

The controversial outcome of Denmark’s first court case involving new strict anti-terrorism laws has generated a wave of opinion from both supporters and critics of yesterday’s decision. Some suggest it could lead to changes in the Danish legal system.

After a jury had found all four suspects guilty of planning a terror action, the three judges hearing the case rescinded the decision and acquitted three of the men. The fourth suspect, Abdul Basit Abu-Lifa, 17, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. If sentenced as an adult, he could have been punished with life in prison.

“Some suggest it could lead to changes in the Danish legal system.” I say, it must lead to changes in the Danish legal system. It must also lead to changes in all the other legal systems all over the western world as well. If prevention is better than cure, then we have to have legal tools to prevent with. Jørn Vestergaard’s “probability that someone is radical, fundamental or doing something suspicious” has to be enough.

The Islamisk Trossamfund, the national organisation representing Denmark’s Muslims, is playing the victim card again, protesting that the sentencing of the one man merely underscores the present bias against muslims, adding that the conviction could fuel further prejudice against Muslims. Which is both typical and predictable. After all, we all know that Islam is the religion of peace, yada-yada, ad-nauseam. However, the organisation did express concern that the young men, some of whom were born in Denmark, had adopted fundamentalist views.

Well, it’s about time.

I’m going to keep an eye on this. Any change in the legal system is always interesting. I want to see how our politicians are going to respond.

Link: Copenhagen Post. English version.

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5 Responses to “Legal Upheaval.”

  1. Mikael said

    The nub is, that planning a crime is not a crime. It is only after you commit that crime that you are outside of the law.

    That’s not entirely true.If you stand in front of a bank putting on a ski mask and doing a final spell-check of the stick-up note, you will face serious hard time if a passing cop sees you!

    Having radical ideas, however, is not, and should never be a crime. We have need for a thought police in the western world.

    I have no problem with the outcome of the case. It shows, that the system works. Seven years imprisonment is a very serious punishment of a 17-year old. Besides two of the three acquitted where convicted of other crimes discovered during the investigation, one of them for stealing 100.000 kroners (some 18.000 USD)

  2. Exile said

    I disagree. In the instance you mention, what would the police charge you with?
    Possession of a ski mask and a piece of paper? Sorry, no crime. The policeman can warn you off, but not do anything more. If arrested, a defence lawyer would merely ask ‘what crime has there been committed?’ Answer: none.

    I believe you meant to say that we have “no need” for thought police. I agree.

    Planning to kill hundreds or even thousands of people is not merely a “radical idea”. It is planning mass murder.
    That must be made illegal.

  3. Mikael said

    First: I believe you meant to say that we have “no need” for thought police.
    You are of course right. Thanks for catching that one.

    Second: I disagree. In the instance you mention, what would the police charge you with?
    Possession of a ski mask and a piece of paper? Sorry, no crime.

    Yes and no. here is the relevant section of the Danish Penal Code. I’m no lawyer (at least I can make that defense when facing my maker) but I cannot read it any different than an attempt to commit a crime is punishable.

    Of course, it’s a lot harder to prove intent in the courts than it is to prove an actual crime.

  4. Exile said

    Ok. I looked at this with my tame policeman. You are refering to Punishment Law, Chap. 4, Attempt and Accompaniment, para. 21.
    “Actions which are aimed at furthering or abetting the commital of a crime, is punishable, when it (the crime) is not carried through, as an attempt. (Or attempted crime.)

    [My paranthesis and rough translation…]

    Yes. But you have to have attempted the crime. And failed to carry it through. Mere planning and preparation is not enough. You have to physically attempt the crime first. Attempt to “carry it through”.
    E.g. “attempted robbery”. You have to have attempted to rob someone. That is a crime. Merely planning, or preparing for the attempted robbery, is not.
    The legal eagle will have you out and sueing for wrongful arrest in seconds!

    The law is far too vague here. Had it stated that “Actions, the planning of actions, or making preparations, which are aimed….etc.” then we would at least have some measure of leverage. And that is my point. Intent has to be involved.

    (I hope I explained that as well as I think I did!)

    We should discuss this over a beer. I don’t think we will ever probably fully agree, so it might be interesting if we were to sit together on a jury!

    Your arguement is well taken, I applaud the interest and I accept your point. Many thanks.

    BTW, I am no defence lawyer either! God forbid!

  5. Mikael said

    We should discuss this over a beer.

    I’ll have a beer with you anytime! On me.

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