Sunday, 9 August 2009

Fruit and nuts

The British government has just spent £20,000 taking a man to court for allegedly stealing a banana worth 25p. Clearly the unauthorised handling of a banana is a particularly heinous crime that calls for the full force of the law to deter other banana-abusers.

Never mind such trivial misdemeanours as racist attacks, gay-bashing or sexual assault. They can wait. We're talking serious offences that have to be stamped on mercilessly. The heights of human depravity.

And forget any misguided leniency. When James Gallagher was challenged about the banana by the Birmingham deli, he promptly offered to pay for it. But of course the shopkeeper refused. The police could have simply warned him not to do it again. Naturally they didn't. No funny business, my son, you're nicked.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the cost of the item was irrelevant. The only question was whether there was good enough evidence for a court case and whether the case was "in the public interest".

I fail to see how subjecting Mr Gallagher to a meandering two-day trial and nit-picking arguments by lawyers could possibly be "in the public interest". And as for the evidence - he was acquitted!

It's not the first time huge sums of money, and court time, have been wasted on footling offences that could have been disposed of in ten minutes.

I'm sure the average member of the public, if asked, could think of any number of better responses to the errant banana, not involving bewigged judges and pompous courtrooms. They could also think of better ways of spending £20,000. Like locking up a few more drunken thugs.

It's the person who sanctioned the court case who really needs to be prosecuted - for wasting police time, wasting taxpayers' money and bringing the law into disrepute.

Photo: James Gallagher

17 comments:

Grannymar said...

Sure the poor legal eagles need the money! ;)

Nick said...

Grannymar - The lawyers must love unnecessary trials like this one. They're the only ones who benefit....

Baino said...

It does seem an incredible waste of money. Here he probably would have had his day in court too and end up doing community service. Perhaps picking bananas! That would sate his appetite!

Leah said...

Good lord, that's a frivolous one. I must say, in places where the courts are backed up into the next millenium (like NYC), that sort of thing would never make the cut. Although I imagine Birmingham must be somewhat busy too? I simply cannot believe that one made it to trial.

Quickroute said...

back in the day a man could be hung for stealing a banana - ok it was actually a horse but geez a hanging would cost less than this farce

Nick said...

Baino - Yes, picking bananas would be good! Or rather, picking apples in our case.

Leah - The courts are pretty backed up in England too, but nobody cares much about the backlog, even when a rape victim has to wait years to go to court.

Quicky - Well, a hanging would still need a trial of course. And in this case, he was found not guilty anyway!

Rummuser said...

Sure thing. The same thing happens here too.

Nick said...

Ramana - Is that the waste of money, the pointless prosecution, the backlog of cases, the sidelining of serious crime, or all four? I suspect all four....

Liz said...

Shocking!

Nick said...

Liz - How very succinct of you. But you're not shocked surely? This sort of legal overkill happens regularly. And nobody steps in to call a halt.

Hullaballoo said...

I'm left wondering where he hid it when he legged it out of the store.

Megan said...

How Dickensian! (Wait, is that even a word?) ;)

Nick said...

Hulla - Ooooh you are awful - but I like you.

Megan - Dickensian is very much a word, a rather over-used word in fact. Anything remotely old-fashioned or down-at-heel is invariably described as Dickensian.

conortje said...

The mind boggles! How I've missed reading your blog :-)

Nick said...

Conor - Thank ee kindly, good sir. The mind boggles indeed. How do these absurd cases pass through so many hands without someone putting the brake on?

Wisewebwoman said...

I think he should have been deported to a penal colony in Australia.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - Oh absolutely. No good taking half measures with these reprobates. We don't want scum like that in England's green and pleasant land.