Friday, November 18, 2005

Benson-Pope decision due next week

The police will finally release the results of their investigation into historical allegations of assault by Cabinet Minister David Benson-Pope next week. Good. And if the evidence supports those allegations, I expect him to be charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The behaviour alleged was not legal even in the 80's, and there is no excuse for such sadism in the classroom. And if the report comes back that the allegations are true, but that the passage of time and the fading of memory has made a prosecution unlikely to succeed, I expect Benson-Pope to resign; former sadists have no place in Parliament either.


If we accept for a moment your implied definition of sadism, I/S, is it not likely that a majority (or at least significant minority) of male teachers in high schools until the mid-1980s were "guilty"? I'm thinking of the routinized cruel and unusual punishments, including for minor uniform infractions, and for events which transpired beyond school boundaries but over which schools' eroneously asserted jurisdiction: I recall driving to school being one of the crimes.

Schools still act inappropriately in the latter area. Ultra vires, anyone?

Posted by dc_red : 11/18/2005 12:41:00 PM

Almost certainly. But if they didn't violate the law, then there's nothing we can do about it.

As for schools acting beyond their power, unfortunately testing that would require a court case and therefore a large amount of money...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/18/2005 01:09:00 PM

Straight up I do not accept that DBP's alledged bahaviour amounts to "sadism". It is much too strong a word for what may amount to a single incident of poor judgement.

This whole matter would never have seen a moments attention if Benson-Pope was not a Minister. Just because someone enters public life, I am wary of the idea that this mean s the rest of us can then judge them to a higher standard than we would apply to ourselves. As a 15 year old a certain currently very well-known personality threw an entire box of chalk the length of the room and struck me full on the right ear...damm stupid of him, and of me not to see it coming...but it would not enter my mind in a million years that I should take this trivial "assault" to prosecution.

Have you ever attempted to teach a class of stroppy, loud-mouthed adolescents? From all accounts DBP was a committed and effective teacher, there are reams of testimony supporting him. To destroy a man over an incident as minor as this strikes me as itself, a form of sadism.

Hearing the term "I expect him to be charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law" from anyone, always has a chilling effect on me.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/19/2005 12:56:00 AM

Logix - well said.

I/s - I suspect that a great deal of what occurred was illegal, even by the standards of the day. Both isolated incidents and routinized punishments that could now be pursued to the full extent of the law. Consistency would suggest 1000s of prosecutions. But as Logix notes, Benson-Pope is currently being singled out.

Now if only the Police would investigate a certain MP's confessions of feline abuse.

Posted by dc_red : 11/19/2005 10:32:00 AM