By Amit Roy
BORIS JOHNSON is said to be toying with the idea of fixing the legal system so judges in future will no longer have jurisdiction over decisions taken by (Tory) governments, such as prorogation of parliament.
That seems the slippery slope towards becoming a banana republic.
Meanwhile, justice, dispensed by independent judges, magistrates and tribunals, should not only be seen to be done but also ensure punishments are proportionate to the crime.
Should Shamima Begum be allowed back? Since she has lost all her children, I probably would readmit her on humanitarian grounds, but she left in 2015 to join Daesh (Islamic State) of her own free will when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl. So I can see why the government wants to use her as a warning to others.
She has just lost the first stage of her appeal, with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruling that she will not be rendered stateless because Shamima, though UK born, is “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent”.
The reality is that the girl from Bethnal Green has never set foot in Bangladesh, which has announced she will be “hanged” if she does. Under this ruling, dozens of home-grown terrorists and members of grooming gangs could also be considered “citizens of Pakistan by descent” and deported.
It is hard to quibble with the three life sentences given to the Indian origin GP, Manish Shah, 50, who will have to serve at least 15 years for 90 sex offences against 24 female patients.
He cited the cancer cases of Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to trick 24 women into unnecessary and invasive tests.
Quoting one of his victims, the judge Anne Molyneux QC told him: “You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic.”
Perhaps most intriguing is the decision by Citigroup to suspend Paras Shah, 31, a million-pounds-ayear trader, allegedly for pinching sandwiches from the office canteen in Canary Wharf.
The trader, who lives in north London with his wife, Aarti, would not open his front door to even his cousin, Dinesh, who revealed Paras was especially fond of cheese and pickle sandwiches.
In the Financial Times (FT), Henry Mance wondered: “Is Citi mad? The trader was rumoured to be highly successful. A minor larceny would have been dwarfed by his morning’s profits.
“What about the employees who take Biros from the office stationery cupboard? ….. Are we – I mean, they – all to be fired? Sadly, it pains me to conclude that Citigroup was probably in the right.” Matthew Vincent asked, also in the FT: “Was Citigroup trader’s sandwich the costliest City lunch?”
He recalled: “Until this week, the record for most costly City lunch was arguably shared by ravenous financiers from Barclays and RBS. In 2001, dealmakers at Barclays Capital spent £44,007 on a celebratory meal, including £12,300 for a bottle of 1947 Petrus and £9,200 for a 1900 château d’Yquem …Five of the six diners paid with their jobs.
“Then, in 2008, RBS bankers were persuaded to manipulate interest rates by offers of ‘steak’ and ‘sushi rolls from yesterday’. RBS paid $325m [£252m] to settle with US regulators.
“But this appetite for risk and day-old fish must now be compared with that of Citigroup bond trader Paras Shah, whose alleged theft of canteen food has led to his suspension from a £1m-plus job. His colleagues tell City Insider he took selfservice a tad too literally on ‘a few occasions’. But Citi’s HR department might wish to put it in perspective, as Twitter user @thecdstrader did: ‘Historic banking losses: 1995 Barings, $1.3bn [£1bn]on Nikkei options… 2008 SocGen, $8bn [£6.2bn] on equity index… 2019 Citi, £4.50 on a cheese sandwich.’”
Maybe Citigroup should reinstate Paras, but halve his salary and tell him to bring his own sandwiches from home.