Guilt By Association

by Quinn

According to The Scotsman

THE “great train robber” Ronnie Biggs is making a fresh bid for release from prison on compassionate grounds, his legal advisor said last night.

The 75-year-old, who has suffered several strokes and minor heart attacks and can no longer speak, is being held at Belmarsh, a category A prison, where he receives 24-hour care.

My first instinct, perhaps harshly, is that Biggs is taking the piss. He happily evaded justice for years, then when it suited him he flung himself upon the mercy of the British judiciary and taxpayer. However, I am not exactly a hard-liner when it comes to prison conditions, and perhaps there is a case for compassionate release and house arrest; what purpose is achieved by keeping a frail old man in prison?

But wait; what is this?

His legal advisor, Giovanni Di Stefano, said Biggs “did not belong in prison”. He added: “If the Home Secretary can release the most supposed dangerous terrorists from Belmarsh, why cannot he let this old man go?”

Oh dear. Quite apart from the fact that the Home Secretary didn’t want to release the Belmarsh detainees (who, unlike Biggs, haven’t been found guilty of, or even charged with an offence) my heart always sinks when I hear Di Stefano’s name in a news report. Perhaps you shouldn’t judge someone by the company they keep, but Di Stefano’s list of associates makes quite some reading. What next? Biggs’ publicity to be handled by Max Clifford?