"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Friday, April 21, 2006


An interesting item which dropped into my inbox today. Read on.............

This is a story to give one confidence in the impartiality, decency and fairness of our police and judicial system. On 14 November 2002 octogenarians Paul Carlisle and his wife discovered a small fire in the boiler-room at the back of their large farmhouse near Hay-on-Wye. They applied fire extinguishers and called '999' before starting to remove valuable pictures and belongings from the far end (West) of the house. Two policemen answered the emergency call within minutes and ordered the owners to stop entering the house and to leave immediately although the fire had not then spread anywhere near to where they were rescuing their valuables. Capt. Carlisle quite reasonably remonstrated, whereupon he was physically manhandled into a cage at the back of the police vehicle on his head with his feet in the air. He was to remain in this uncomfortable and undignified position for about twenty minutes. His wife was locked in another police car and driven off to a neighbour at her request. Meanwhile a posse of eight police and three ambulance drivers stood around and watched the fire slowly spread through the house. Several neighbours who had gathered to help, were also told to keep away. Over half an hour after the first police arrived, they deigned to call the fire service and within ten minutes a local amateur crew arrived, the Brecon fire service being on strike at the time. By now the fire had spread and taken hold. The firemen failed to control the blaze; the house and most of its contents were destroyed. The insurance cover was inadequate and the Carlisles are some £750,000 out of pocket, besides having lost irreplaceable heirlooms. They contend that the police acted unreasonably by forcibly and falsely imprisoning the owners in the first place, instead of allowing them to remove valuables when there was no physical risk whatsoever; and negligently by failing to call the fire service immediately so that the fire could have easily been brought under control, in which case both house and contents could have been saved. Capt. Carlisle further suspects that because over many years he has felt compelled to take issue with the local police in person and in the press over alleged minor driving offences, he is being deliberately and vindictively victimised. He has been harrassed on a number of other occasions. He also finds it curious that a number of law firms have declined to represent his claim for damages against the police. Meanwhile the police are pressing for his case to be struck out as 'having no reasonable prospect of success' whereas in an age of natural justice the reverse would probably be true. In support of their claim they have submitted evidence that Capt. Carlisle considers bears little relation to the facts. For example they have defended their decision to prevent entry alleging that thick smoke was pervading the house, whereas there was no smoke at the time and a strong SW breeze was blowing away from the house, according to eye-witnesses. One police statement has claimed Capt. Carlisle was arrested, but he denies he was formally cautioned before being manhandled. They claim they were trying to save the Carlisles, as was their duty, but are they seriously suggesting they were prepared to incinerate themselves for property however valuable? It seems highly unlikely! One is therefore entitled to ask whether this is a reasonable way to 'assist' two distressed elderly citizens witnessing the entirely avoidable destruction of their home, by ensuring no one did anything to save it until it was too late. 'Nil combustibus pro fumo ' (Michael Flanders) The hearing has been transferred from Brecon to the High Court in Cardiff and is listed for 2pm on Thursday 27th April.


Flighty said...

It's little wonder that even older people no longer have much faith in, or respect for, the police. I know I don't! Reading this merely reinforces my views. That is a sad reflection on life today.

Jennyta said...

It is indeed, Flighty - very sad.


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