‘They’ll have a fit when they discover where common law offences come from’
Social media users couldn’t resist indulging in a spot of Twitter-based teasing yesterday after The Times newspaper called a piece of well-known criminal legislation a “Victorian-era law”.
The description, spotted by 1KBW’s James Turner QC, appears in a short report about a 16-year-old male accused of carrying out six acid attacks in London last month.
The boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, is facing 13 charges, six under the widely known Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (OAPA). This piece of legislation covers everything from GBH to minor assaults and features at the very beginning of LLB syllabuses.
— James Turner QC (@JamesTurner37) August 15, 2017
Cue the jokes, starting with Michael Brown, a police inspector and mental health expert:
Now that is genuinely hilarious – imagine how appalled they be at 14th century laws being relied upon by the police, every single day?! ?
— Michael Brown OBE (@MentalHealthCop) August 16, 2017
The common law is very, very old:
They'll have a fit when they discover where common law offences come from.
— Rodney Joseph Burns (@rodney1710) August 15, 2017
A printed newspaper! How quaint. Its like being in 1620s Amsterdam!
— James (@Jameslawyer99) August 15, 2017
Boy, they are going to shit when they find out about that bearded chap coming down a mountain with some stone tablets…..
— Mr Conor Magee FRCS (@mageefrcs) August 15, 2017
Apparently, divorce law actually dates back to the Age of Aquarius:
Not me. I'm too busy dealing with the Age of Aquarius-Era divorce law
— Byron James (@byron_barrister) August 16, 2017
Though the OAPA has been and still is the go-to legislation for criminal assaults, The Times’ report appears to feed into the recent calls for new acid attack-focused laws. A spate of assaults using corrosive substances has prompted the likes of Theresa May and Sadiq Khan to float tougher sentencing guidelines and statutory reform, rather than rely on legislation enacted when acid attacks were less prevalent.
Some Twitter users don’t seem on board with this:
Newspapers only like 'new' laws like the ones they insist must be introduced every time something bad happens
— Jonathan Little (@Vectis64) August 16, 2017
Seriously?! So they need to do this to put a spin on the public about there needing to be 'new law' ?!
— Lucinda Nicholls (@LuNicholls) August 16, 2017
For others it was all just too much:
Legal journalism now just makes me quite sad ?
— Will Da Force (@WilberDaForce) August 15, 2017
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