Avoid Flawed US Justice

We’ve suggested Brits model their post-revolutionary Constitution on the US version while avoiding its flaws. One such flaw is the abuse of state power in the US plea-bargaining system.

This concerns the NatWest Three, Brits the Blair government allowed the US extradite to Houston 15 months ago in spite of:

a) the US refusing to extradite convicted IRA murders now living in the US.

b) The alleged crimes being committed entirely in the UK.

c) The UK authorities having investigated the alleged crime and declined to file charges.

These men have been stuck in Houston, where a US judge granted them the right to work – but they’re skilled investment bankers and have no chance of finding jobs equivalent to those they had in London, the world’s financial capital. And of course they’ve been cut off from their families.

The Feds’ objective of the has thus been to torture these men in agreeing a plea bargain, and they’ve succeeded:

The NatWest Three, the trio of bankers accused in America of fraud linked to the Enron scandal, have started negotiations over a possible plea bargain under which they would admit some charges in return for others being dropped, according to legal sources…

But now, they are understood to be weighing up the idea of a plea bargain � even though they are almost certain to face imprisonment.

The trio are thought to be close to conceding that if they try to fight their case to the bitter end, they are unlikely to win.

Their trial has been repeatedly postponed. It is now due to open in January.

If they are convicted on all charges, the men could in theory face as long as 35 years behind bars…

The failure of the NatWest Three to persuade ex-colleagues to travel to America to testify has hampered their defence.

This and other legal abuses by the its tort bar* have harmed the US – causing foreign companies to stop listing there, triggering the defeat of NASDAQ’s bid to buy the London Stock Exchange, causing European companies to de-list in the US (most recently Ahold after a drive-by shooting by US tort lawyers), and to cause foreign financial institutions and specialists to avoid the US.

This has been London’s gain and America’s loss, adding to the weakness of the dollar (which can only stay strong if people want to buy it).

So the new Brit constition should stick firmly to English and Scottish Common Law, protecting the liberty of the subject and forbidding torture.

* Disclosure. I’m involved in a US civil lawsuit in which the plaintiffs’ lawyers are confessed crooks who the judges have allowed to keep secret the identities of their witnesses – a practice prohibited (except in extreme cases ) by the Magna Carta.

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