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UK: Boris pictures highlight discriminatory, disproportionate and shambolic coronavirus enforcement regime

Article by Fair Trials

New photographs of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured drinking at a Downing Street party in the midst of the second national lockdown have highlighted the discriminatory, disproportionate and shambolic coronavirus enforcement regime in the UK.

Griff Ferris, Fair Trials’ Senior Legal and Policy Officer says: “The aggressive criminal justice response to the pandemic has exposed the true two-tiered nature of the criminal justice system in the UK, where the privileged and powerful few get away with blatantly breaking the law while ordinary people get fined for minor infractions.

“Many of those fines were unjust or unlawful, and often issued in a discriminatory way but most people didn’t have the resources to challenge them. Instead, they faced the risk of prosecution and a criminal record or financial hardship through fines that were issued arbitrarily.”

This revelation comes ahead of civil servant Sue Gray’s finalised report into the numerous parties at Downing Street during lockdown and raises questions around discrepancies between fines issues to the general public and those at the heart of government.

The Prime Minister, Chancellor and other civil servants were given time and legal assistance to prepare a defence, and were not given cumulative fines but instead fined £50 separately for repeat offences, unlike members of the public who were afforded none of these privileges.

Ferris added “It has clearly been one system for the powerful, and another for the powerless. This is not justice. Fair Trials are calling for all covid prosecutions to be dropped, all fines refunded, and criminal records deleted.”

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