Everyone a Law Unto Himself

The absurd and ludicrous Cambridgeshire, England court decision acquitting a Green Party parliamentary candidate of obvious vandalism is assailed by Theodore Dalrymple in a City Journal article.

The socially destructive effect of this judgment, if it were to be generalized, hardly needs emphasis. The judgment made honestly held belief, however absurd, a defense against what would otherwise be a criminal act, and it therefore made everyone a law unto himself. It is difficult to see how daubing council offices with paint could have any practical effect, other than an additional cleaning bill for the council.

One thought on “Everyone a Law Unto Himself

  1. Colin Green

    I think the point is the comment “If it were generalised…” – I can’t imagine that happening. Indeed, I’m sure this is a one-off from a particularly silly magistrate.

    It’s a bit like when people say “If everyone did that what kind of a world would we have?”. The fact is they don’t, and there’s no chance they will, so no need to worry. From time to time, magistrates make the wrong decision, which is why there’s an appellate process, though I’ve no idea if the CPS appealed here. One instance does not make a trend. From time to time TD is not beyond a bit of scaremongering. It makes for a better story.


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