I may not know much about the law but I know an ass’s arse when I see one. Two in fact.
The first ass’s arse belongs to Justice Minister David Ford. He’s been called on several times by different groups to release Brendan Lillis. Mr Lillis was a former life sentence prisoner who got his licence revoked in 2009 because the cops figured he was connected to a kidnapping. He was never convicted of this crime because he was too ill to stand trial. So here we are two years later and Mr Lillis is still in prison and now so ill, he’s down to less than six stone. So will David Ford allow him to be released? Uh-uh. Ford said he’s “been advised” there aren’t sufficient grounds for freeing him. I don’t know what that means but I don’t think people should be in prison for two years for crimes they haven’t been convicted of. Nor do I think that a sick man whose weight is heading towards five stone would be a danger to the public. Mr Ford appears to think otherwise. Either that or he knows Lillis is no threat and is innocent until found guilty, but he’s afraid the Alliance Party will be seen as soft on crime, so tough luck, Lillis, you stay behind bars. What was that line from Pope (the poet, you fool, not the pontiff): “And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine”. Indeed.
And if you think that’s a picture of an ass’s arse I’ve just sketched, try this. UTV and other media organisations have been told they must give their footage to the police of last July’s rioting in Belfast. Judge Piers Grant says this must happen because it could be used to help identify rioters. Well doh. That’s the very reason it SHOULDN’T be given to the police. Not because you don’t want the cops to catch criminals but because you don’t want the cops to catch criminals by any old means they like, let alone go on a fishing expedition. UTV have made noises about this court ruling, saying it’ll put their reporters and camera people at risk. Too right it will. Next time out, they’ll be seen as the photographic arm of the police and treated accordingly. Put it another way: they’ll be unable to do their job, which is to let the public see and hear what is going on. You might call that gagging the media. I’d call it a huge ass’s arse sitting on the notion of a free press/media, farting loudly.