Professor David Ormerod, Barrister (Bencher of Middle Temple) is also Professor of Criminal Justice at Queen Mary’s University.
On behalf of the Law Commission, he commissioned this Consultation into Misconduct in Public Office – with a deadline for contribution of 20 March. The email for commenting is firstname.lastname@example.org
Misconduct in public office is a common law offence: it is not defined in any statute. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The offence requires that: 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. Our reform objectives are to decide whether the existing offence of misconduct in public office should be
- or amended
- and to pursue whatever scheme of reform is decided upon.
Well, dear Professor Ormerod, from my experience as systems analyst and my perspective of having published 739 posts and 93 pages on Victims Unite since August 2010, my conclusion coincides with former MP John Hemming’s observations:
- everything seems to be ‘policy’, i.e. everybody is ‘just doing their job‘;
- there is ‘no accountability‘;
- “not our remit” is the most frequent excuse;
- furthermore, Royal Charters are the ticket to immunity from prosecution;
- and the spectrum is wide from ignorance, incompetence and laziness to intentional misconduct and abuse of power and position;
- also, the institutional gaps are deep between:
- The Rule of Law and its Enforcement;
- the proverbial right hand and the left hand in organisations;
- good intentions and bad implementations.
By way of example: I expect to be arrested tonight – for the fourth time – for ‘failure to attend court‘. Why did I not go to Blackfriars Crown Court at 9.30 this morning ?
- Because Judge Paul Worsley said in a public hearing on 26 February to another case but related to mine, that my hearing today was ‘vacated’:
- that there would be a ‘joint hearing’ on 08 April of three hours;
- and that there would be a ‘joinder bundle’ between that case and mine.
However, after 11 o’clock I got a phone call from my solicitor’s secretary asking why I was not in court. I had told the solicitor about the Judge’s decision, but he seemed to have forgotten to tell the barrister and was unwell today.
The court seems to have forgotten to tell me and my solicitor. When I phoned Blackfriars Court, I got a lady who still had my case listed for today.
There she was told that it would not stop an Arrest Warrant, if one had already been issued by the CPS. Given that last time I was arrested after midnight with forced entry, I am now prepared… The message from the barrister via the solicitor’s secretary was:
You are not in trouble, but the Police may come round to tell you that you have to be in court on 08 April.
A retired police man said that an arrest for ‘failure to attend court’ is very likely. So I took my rings and earrings off to be prepared. And thus the ‘People Processing Industry’ is fuelled by what’s dishonest with our money system.
If only the gap between money as a carrot and a stick was narrowed… But Public Servants worry about jobs, promotion and pension! Is there a magic bullet? Barter money as an app to go to the root of all evil!
For redefining ‘misconduct’ will not stop people mis-behaving. Threatening with more than ‘life imprisonment’ is hardly possible.
The answer may lie in the moral, ethical and spiritual realms: may your conscience guide you to do the right thing! Right in the sense of all professional oaths!
Maybe ‘monitoring one-stop panels’ should be set up? Maybe Ethics and Justice Panels for Public Accountability could include elected AMs, MPs and MEPs to scrutinise salaried Public Servants?
Maybe a register of membership in secret societies might be effective?
Would you consider it ‘misconduct in public office’ when a Local and a High Court judge conduct criminal proceedings in secret family courts?