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article imageOp-Ed: Crime, punishment and reward in the UK

By Alexander Baron     Oct 1, 2011 in Crime
Three teenage girls are shot in a London street; a 19 stone thug admits killing a 4 foot 11 woman; and a ‘corrupt’ police officer walks out of prison back into his old job and is immediately suspended on full pay. Welcome to madhouse Britain.
The shooting of three girls was a big story yesterday, especially because one of them was carrying her young son. The attack happened in Kensington; eighteen year old Jessica Crichlow and her two friends do not appear to have been the intended targets of the four youths who rode up on bicycles and fired into a crowd that was holding a party in the street. What sort of psycho fires into a party?
Fortunately, if one may use that word, the weapon was a shotgun, and the pellets did less damage than a more precision weapon. Although no one was killed, there was soon a heavy police presence at the scene, including officers from Operation Trident. All the victims were black, as were three of the four perpetrators; the fourth was white. Well, it sure is nice to see that attempted murder is an equal opportunities profession.
From attempted murder to successful; the headline in London Metro was I crushed her to death. Jia Ashton was petite, at only 4 feet 11 inches tall; David Simmonds weighed 19 stone, and when their paths crossed in a secluded area, he subjected her to what a detective called “a sustained violent and brutal attack”.
The murder happened in March, and Simmonds denied any involvement until he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court when he finally admitted to this terrible and senseless crime. He is due to be sentenced on October 7; the 21 year old was described as an “habitual liar” and was also said to be homeless.
His lying may well persist, but he will have a roof over his head for probably at least the next twenty years when he will be able to contemplate both his honesty and the enormity of his crime.
If it is difficult to understand why anyone would want to batter to death a defenceless stranger, the life and times of Ali Dizaei have been quite extraordinary. The Iranian-born Metropolitan Police officer was once regarded as potential Chief Constable or even Commissioner material, but like John Galliano he didn’t understand that people of a certain stature are held to higher standards than the rest of us. It was however, one thing to hobnob in night spots with wealthy Iranian exiles and to repeatedly break his marriage vows; it was quite another to take bribes, use illegal drugs, and spy for Iran.
If some of the allegations levelled against Dizaei sound far fetched, the Metropolitan Police left no stone unturned in trying to substantiate them. In the end, Operation Helios, which had used over fifty officers, cost a total of £7 million (of taxpayers' money). To put that in its proper perspective, that is a million pounds more than the estimated cost of the Milly Dowler murder investigation, which lasted 9 years and ended with the conviction of Levi Bellfield. If they had really wanted to get rid of Dizaei so badly, it would have made more sense to offer him a million pound bribe to resign. None of the wilder allegations against him were proved – ie he was most definitely not an Iranian spy, and he survived formal allegations of perverting the course of justice, and misconduct in public office, and the CPS decided not to proceed with charges of submitting false mileage expenses claims, possibly because this latter is a widespread practice in the police and indeed in any profession which pays such expenses.
Dizaei became President of the National Black Police Association, even though he isn’t exactly black, and got one over on the Met when Lord Morris concluded that the investigation into his alleged wrongdoings was disproportionate, a conclusion that no rational person could argue against.
After many more misadventures including a libel action, all of which saw him coming up smelling of roses, Dizaei self-immolated. Like any aspiring Police Commissioner, he had to have his own website, and in between spying for Iran, visiting casinos with prostitutes, giving Operation Helios the runaround, and doing actual police work, he had no time for mere HTML, so he hired a fellow Iranian/Iraqi to design one for him. The word hired implies payment, and when the web designer was not paid the £600 he was promised, there was an ugly scene at a restaurant which resulted in Commander Dizaei arresting Waad al-Baghdadi, claiming he had been assaulted. The result was that Dizaei ended up in the dock instead of his protagonist, having apparently inflicted injuries on himself on which to base an assault charge.
Commander Ali Dizaei appeared at Southwark Crown Court in January last year, and on February 8 he was convicted on both counts: misconduct in a public office, and perverting the course of justice. Sentenced to four years in clink, and refused leave to appeal, it seemed all over for Britain’s most investigated and turbulent policeman, then there was another remarkable twist in the story when it turned out that Waad al-Baghdadi was not Waad al-Baghdadi.
On May 16 this year, the Court of Appeal quashed his convictions; the full judgment can be found here, but the bottom line was that as well as walking out of prison while awaiting a retrial, his case went to a secret meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority’s professional standards sub-committee, who reinstated him at his old rank. No sooner had he been reinstated than he was suspended, and on top of that he is now on full pay and will be paid back pay for the time he was in prison.
Although most people including not least police officers realise there are some privileges money can’t buy, even the Metropolitan Police have been left astounded by this turn of events.
Commander Dizaei continues to protest his innocence – as he is entitled to do – though it will of course be for a jury to decide if the credibility of his accuser has been so diminished that his testimony regarding the assault claims is unworthy of belief. Since these extraordinary revelations, Dizaei has appeared on TV not only to protest his innocence but to suggest that he could go back to work in the meantime doing some sort of non-contention desk job. That suggestion is imminently reasonable, but is unlikely to be realised.
We await with baited breath the retrial, and it has to be said that whatever the final outcome of this case, Commander Dizaei has been subjected to both extremes of British justice. At every stage he has been scrutinised both intensely and fairly to the Nth degree, more so than any mere member of the public.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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