Thursday, February 10, 2005

Anti-Social Behaviour Order

PublicOrgTheory has a must-read post on England's grotesque, neo-Stalinist attempt at curbing "anti-social behavior," which includes...well, just about anything other people do that you happen not to like (starting illegal wars excepted, of course):

Troublemakers as young as ten years old can be barred from entering neighbourhoods, ringing doorbells, using public transport and mobile phones or even uttering certain words for a minimum of two years. Securing an ASBO is easy. Hearsay evidence, for instance, is admissible in court. The consequences of stepping out of line are weighty: a maximum of five years in prison for doing something that is not necessarily an offence in law. Not surprisingly, such a powerful weapon is popular: more than a thousand ASBOs were handed out in the first half of 2004.
All together now: "If you're innocent, you have nothing to fear!"


Aquaria said...

Good grief, what would they make of the LJ spawn, who often greets me with, "Hey, puta, how ya doing?"

I know, I know... I'm a bad parent, letting my kid talk that way. To me. And maybe it's not a good idea to answer with, "Just fine, asswipe."

I don't know how we got started on that...

Republic of Palau said...

This makes us UK lawyers just spit with anger. an ASBO is a civil order which can be applied for by local government or the police, the burden of proof is 'on balance of probability' yet the sanctions are criminal. ASBO's are merely a cynical means of sidestepping the necessity of proving a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and have led to many miscarrioages of justice. ASBO's also seem to be used disproportionately more against minorities and the poor.
One young man was even banned from his own flat for 3 months recently because the neighbours complained about a party, and young people have been banned from their parents homes and the vicinity or even from their schools. One man was ASBO'd for having a row with his wife. More on ASBO's and UK law here