He Hasn’t Changed A Day

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bincheyWilliam Binchy, legal advisor to the pro-life movement went on Tonight with Vincent Browne .

Certainty in a world gone mad.

Vincent Browne: “Is it your view that a woman if she proceeds with a termination of pregnancy ought to be imprisoned?”

William Binchy: “Of course not. Of course not.”

Browne: “I’m sorry. William, William, just answer that.”

Binchy: “Can I answer the point?”

Browne: “Yes, yes.”

Binchy: “Of course not. And can I invite you to stay in the world of reality and the world of truth because you tagged on there an imprisonment of the woman. You know, Vincent and I think you should remind your viewers of this too that there is no prospect whatsoever of a woman being imprisoned in such circumstances.”

Browne: “How do you know I don’t know? I don’t know that. I don’t know. If it’s the law that she may be imprisoned up to 14 years then it seems to be that at least there is a prospect that that would happen. Are you happy with that?”

Binchy: “Do you think so?”

Browne: “I think there is a prospect. Of course there is.”

Binchy: “All I say is that I disagree with your legal assessment there, Vincent and I think frankly…”

Browne: “Tell me how that is legally mistaken. Tell me how I’m mistaken.”

Binchy: “If you give me an opportunity to speak.”

Browne: “Yeah.”

Binchy: “In the worst case scenario to hypothesise imprisonment is irresponsible to your viewers. Irresponsible.”

Browne: “William, how is it legally mistaken?”

Binchy: “I’ll tell you why because no woman is actually prosecuted. The abortionist is prosecuted in very rare circumstances. That’s the way the law operates.”

Browne: “But the law is that the women, woman can also be prosecuted. That’s the law. So how is what I said legally mistaken?”

Binchy: “Because you have to stay in the world of reality.”

Browne: “So it’s not actually legally mistaken?”

Watch here.

Back in hairier times:

binchy1

“To assert to the Supreme Court in those circumstances would grant an injunction against a woman going to England is to assert that the Supreme Court is composed of imbeciles.”

 

 William Binchy, 1983 following the passing of the pro-life amendment, the constitutional ban on abortion.

Previously: And So It Came To Pass

(TV3, RTE)

53 thoughts on “He Hasn’t Changed A Day

  1. Atticus

    Himself, and in particular, the other clown that they had on VB last night just proved what a bunch of lying fools that the Pro-life movement are.

    1. PaddyIrishMan

      The other clown was Cora Sherlock – a property solicitor and pro life head case.

  2. Blobster

    Interesting.

    VB is using the same argument as pro-lifers who say that the bill allows for abortion up until birth (or delivery at an early stage leading to serious medical conditions for the child): “If it’s the law that……”

    So if one believes a woman COULD go to jail for procuring an illegal abortion (because it allows for it in the bill) then the lack of a time limit in Section 9 must also mean that a child COULD be delivered dangerously early or an abortion carried out very late in the pregnancy (becasue it allows for it in the bill).

    1. ReproBertie

      Similarly, if the pro-life movement’s legal expert tells us that no woman will face jail for having an abortion, despite it being in the bill, then we can also take it the the lack of a limit does not mean people will be getting 8 month abortions.

      1. Blobster

        So who do we believe? Or do we just rely on the goodwill of prosecutors and doctors never (not even once) to utilise the full extent of this new law?

        Maybe it would be better to have a better bill? Maybe this bill is flawed?

        1. droid

          You’re right, the bill is flawed. It should include terminations for medical reasons and in cases of rape and incest, in line with the wishes of over 80% of the electorate.

          I would be in favour of sending this one back for redrafting – if not for the massively distorting effect of American money (and a tiny minority of fanatics spending that money) on public discourse around this issue.

        2. realPolithicks

          What we need is for you and and the rest of your knuckle dragging anti choice neanderthals, to go back into your caves and allow women to make their own decisions regarding their lives!

    2. Sido

      Will we have to put up with your stupid observations, after the bill has been passed – I wonder?

        1. Drogg

          Tom your back i have been missing you the last few days. I was wondering would you be back so i could celebrate the pro-life loss with you.

        2. Sido

          It’s a serious question Tom.- One that applies to you as well.
          Have you thought where you will go to be a pointless whining attention whore, once this legislation is passed?

    3. Sgt. Bilko

      It’s very easy to set out a realistic scenario in which a pregnant woman who has procured a termination would be prosecuted. I haven’t seen a similarly realistic scenario outlined in which a late term abortion of the sort that the Pro-Life campaigners have been warning against would be procured under this legislation.

      1. Jandals

        Exactly. Especially when that “late-term abortion” will in reality be an induced birth/caesarean.

        1. ABM's Bloodied Underwear.

          If it’s an induced birth/caesarean, is the baby (as they are now “born”) living? taken into state care? Is that even classed as abortion?

          I wouldn’t be for late stage abortion except in extreme cases and don’t really understand the workings of this part of it.

    4. cluster

      Yes, an abortion can be carried out very late if the life of the mother is at risk.

      Not controversial.

      1. Sgt. Bilko

        +1, being the number of times per year it’ll probably be an issue, given the certainty that this legislation will give the medical profession from months beforehand.

    5. Oldmanfitz

      spot on.

      When i had a look at it i interpreted it as not abortion up to 9 months but more designed to allow the delivery of a pregnancy late on where its viable. Sure it allows for women who have gone through something traumatic to avail of a termination early on but the way it is written can also be interpreted to provide an early delivery or caesarean etc.

      either way you look at it some sort of legislation on the issue is long over due.

  3. BazzaR

    Point of information: Binchy was quoting J.M. Kelly, who used the term ‘imbeciles’ – these were not Binchy’s words himself.

      1. Tom

        JM Kelly was a liberal and still perhaps the foremost academic constitutional authority (or at least his book is). So it was obviously the standard view at the time.

        FWIW the Supreme Court didn’t grant an injunction, the HC did.

          1. jungleman

            Binchy is one of the smartest academic lawyers in the country in fairness now, whether you agree with him on this or not. Nothing to be gained from implying he’s an idiot when he’s clearly far from that.

          2. Sgt. Bilko

            @jungleman – I’m not implying anything, I’m being quite explicit. It’s a farcical error, although not as farcical as using that error to cover for how wrong he was on the underlying issue, as some here are seeking to do. His reputation is massively overblown. He has a handy auld number in Trinity and a pretty decent book on the Irish law of tort. He practiced for a total of 2 years at the Bar, he then farted around in a load of state sinecures and eventually turned up in Trinners. He has been spectacularly, embarrassingly wrong about the constitutional issues surrounging abortion. You could lob a brick over your shoulder in the square hall in front of the Law Library on a quiet Friday afternoon and hit someone smarter.

          3. jungleman

            His book is far beyond pretty decent. I never said he was a top barrister, however any sc or jc (or judge for that matter) worth his salt will invariably refer back to Binchy’s book in matters of tort, therefore his academia has a vast hand in one of the busiest areas of law in the country.

            As regards what he said, yes in hindsight he was wrong. I don’t genuinely believe that the scenario discussed in VB last night would occur and I reckon Binchy is right on that one. It just wouldn’t happen. But on that basis, its completely ludicrous that there is legislation for it. The legislation should reflect the true intentions of the legislature.

            I was merely making the point that you were attempting to discredit Binchy on the basis that he was some sort of fool who did not know what court would grant an injunction. Of course you failed to consider the possibility that he was referring to a scenario in which the SC would uphold an injunction, effectively granting one.

            I do not agree with much of the pro-life campaigners. However, I would say the involvement of the Catholic Church serves to discredit any sane argument, it is not a religious matter, it is a moral one. I think the general approach of the pro-choice campaign has been to ridicule and discredit anyone who questions the new bill. There’s enough ammunition for the pro-choice argument without having to stoop to the low of playing down the intelligence and knowledge of one of the few credible pro-life campaigners.

          4. Sgt. Bilko

            “His book is far beyond pretty decent.”

            It’s no Street on Torts, let’s not get carried away here. It’s not like there’s a whole pile of competition in Irish texts on tort. It’s comprehensive, but it’s on a fairly uncontroversial area.

            “I never said he was a top barrister…”
            I never said that you did.

            “…however any sc or jc (or judge for that matter) worth his salt will invariably refer back to Binchy’s book in matters of tort, therefore his academia has a vast hand in one of the busiest areas of law in the country.”

            Like I said above, it’s comprehensive about a largely settled and uncontroversial topic. Everyone refers to Wylie as well, mostly because one has paid so much for the flipping thing, when it’s actually pretty useless in practice.

            “As regards what he said, yes in hindsight he was wrong.”

            He was wronger than kissing your own sister.

            “I don’t genuinely believe that the scenario discussed in VB last night would occur and I reckon Binchy is right on that one. It just wouldn’t happen. But on that basis, its completely ludicrous that there is legislation for it. The legislation should reflect the true intentions of the legislature.”

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-19621675 – Of course it could happen, don’t be daft. There will be a bead-rattler waiting in the long grass bursting to make sure that it happens.

            “I was merely making the point that you were attempting to discredit Binchy on the basis that he was some sort of fool who did not know what court would grant an injunction.”

            I didn’t attempt any such thing. He stands discredited on the central issue, completely and utterly. Anyone else with a hint of self respect would have withdrawn from the field long ago.

            “If course you failed to consider the possibility that he was referring to a scenario in which the SC would uphold an injunction, effectively granting one.”

            I failed to do no such thing. I’m dealing with the miserable excuses being made on his behalf by his fellow travellers. It was nothing but the greatest good fortune that the timing of X’s pregnancy allowed for an appeal from the High Court to the Supreme Court to be heard.

            “I do not agree with much of the pro-life campaigners. However, I would say the involvement of the Catholic Church serves to discredit any sane argument, it is not a religious matter, it is a moral one. I think the general approach of the pro-choice campaign has been to ridicule and discredit anyone who questions the new bill. There’s enough ammunition for the pro-choice argument without having to stoop to the low of playing down the intelligence and knowledge of one of the few credible pro-life campaigners.”

            Oh bull. All the kudos in the world that he earned as an academic on torts do not give him some sort of magical shield from criticism of his cavorting around like an eejit in relation to abortion. He couldn’t be less credible if he turned up in a Napoleon costume with a parrot on his shoulder.

  4. Orla

    It was the high court that granted the injunction in X. Supreme court overturned it. It’s still a fair point that fintan o’toole made recently in his IT column; why have a law on the books with no intention of informing it.

    1. cluster

      It is easy to say that it is on the books but in reality, it will never be enforced.

      It only takes one lunatic DPP, say if one of the YD lawyers we see rolled out in the media became DPP.

      1. Sgt. Bilko

        Given the recent intervention of a former DPP, who himself was at the centre of the sordid embarrassment that led to the X case, it’s a very real danger.

  5. Ray

    Well obviously it will never happen.
    Because him and his friends are going to say _lots and lots_ of rosaries and then the magical sky fairy will make it so that nobody ever wants or has to have an abortion again. No abortions, no prosecutions, no 14 year jail terms.
    Thanks magical sky fairy!

  6. Hugo

    Binchy is correct in his assessment in the 80’s Supreme Court did indeed over turn such an injunction

    Oh dear broadsheet!

    1. Sgt. Bilko

      The fact that Binchy didn’t appear to understand that the Supreme Court doesn’t grant, and cannot be petitioned for, an injunction, says a lot for his credibility. Instead, it was the High Court that actually did grant an injunction in precisely those circumstances, requiring a teenage girl who had been raped to appeal that monstrous decision to the Supreme Court. Binchy should stick to what he knows, which is wibbling in Trinity about the largely academically uncontroversial law of torts.

      1. Hugo

        Supreme Court struck it down as he claimed. To read into his post and accuse him of not understanding the functionality of the court system is a bit much. He said the SC wouldn’t allow such a thing and it didn’t!! Twisting it to discredit him is ridiculous.

        Go to town on him for what he said last night but the addition of his quite from the 1980’s makes no sense

        1. Sgt. Bilko

          He said the following: “To assert to the Supreme Court in those circumstances would GRANT AN INJUNCTION against a woman going to England is to assert that the Supreme Court is composed of imbeciles.”

          That is what he said. Not something else, that happens to now be more convenient. The High Court DID grant such an injunction. That it took the extremity of an appeal to the Supreme Court to correct such a monstrous eventuality was a disgrace. Heaven and earth had to be moved to allow for an appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court in a timely fashion. That Pro-Lifers are now seeking to use Binchy’s own legal ignorance as cover for just how wrong he was speaks volumes for their own credibility and that of the always-wrong-all-of-the-time Binchy.

  7. Vivo

    Ah, but all roads lead to 1983 and the ill-advised and overtly religiously inspired referendum, championed by Binchy. This is exactly why, as had been foreseen by the Attorney General and many others at the time, we ended up with the X-case, the inevitable rare cases and those women who perished because of that referendum, obstetricians cowed, fettered and confused in the performance of their duties and the current legislation, which is, admittedly, far from perfect.

    Taking account of medical realities and the gut-wrenchingly hard but inevitable cases, a grown-up and ideology-expunged solution should be the availability of both life and health saving terminations with term limits but of course 1983 prevents this. 1983 will continue to haunt the government and I would wager the Supreme Court and possibly the ECHR are going to have to deal with a fatal foetal abnormalities case.

    While I (somewhat grudgingly) support The Protection of Life Bill, let there be no mistake, it is simply a charter for the poor, the desperate and the marginalised.

    The 8th amendment to our Constitution was probably one of the most heinous, life-endangering, religious clap-trap inflicted on Irish women flying in the face of medical need and obstetric freedom. While our population was in the main largely poor, disadvantaged and kept in check by a peculiar brand of Irish Catholicism afflicted by contagions of puritanism, pietism and insularism, still beloved by certain commentators such as David Quinn and Senator Ronan Mullen.

    1. Vivo

      (Last bit missing) , it is refreshing that both educational and social progress has brought about a sea-change in attitudes in relation to this issue.

  8. nellyb

    Cora Sherlock succumbed to usual hyper monologue-ing with no effort to listen to anybody. W.Binchey should really take time to coach her on PR – softer appearance, rehearsed pretense of interest in others’ opinion and stop looking so incredibly defensive and, sorry to say that, desperate. Given the amount of money Vaticaners throw at them, they should really invest into proper PR training. Or people skills as known in business, which it is.

    1. Sgt. Bilko

      Why anyone gives a tuppeny feck about what some auld conveyancer has to say on the topic is beyond me. She must have picked up a load of constitutional law while drafting replies to reqs on title. Not as embarrassing to wheel out as Caroline Simons, I suppose.

      1. Vivo

        The only thing which somewhat irks me about Cora Sherlock, Caroline Simons, Maria Steen (nee Davin, who despite practising for only a handful of years, uses the appellation “barrister” to add gravtias to her views), Berry Kiely, etc. etc. is that each of these women is religiously devout yet no mention is made of the impact of this on their views about abortion which they would have you believe is secular and “human rights” based. It doesn’t mean that their views are irrelevant but simply intellectually dishonest. Say what you wish about Youth Defence, but they are unashamedly “crusaders for Christ”.

        1. Sgt. Bilko

          Exactly, they’re trotted out as “experts”, rather than as advocates for one side of the argument. Simons doesn’t even have a practice. Sherlock is a conveyancer, she might as well be an architect or an air traffic controller. As for another of their ilk, I was under the impression that there was legal and/or regulatory bar on holding oneself out as “Barrister at Law” without being a member of the Law Library.

          1. Vivo

            Barrister-at-Law requires membership of the Law Library. Maria Davin, now married to Neil Steen BL, doesn’t style herself using the “at Law”. One is entitled to call oneself simply “barrister” having passed King’s Inns examinations and subsequently being called to the Bar. Paying Law Library fees and practising adds the “at Law”. My point is that “barrister” is used to add gravitas to views, which are essentially religiously based but there is admittedly nothing wrong with this. it does, however, lead people to wrongly assume a legal practice and sanitises religious based standpoints.

          2. Vivo

            Interestingly, William Binchy is back practising at the Law Library having retired from his professorial chair at the TCD Law School. So he is, if you like, a barrister-at-law.

          3. Sgt. Bilko

            @Vivo – Ah, I see re. BL. But we agree on the central point, that these people are seeking to fallaciously argue from authority.

            Off topic, God, that’s some pairing…

    1. nellyb

      Quality trolling is a dark art, but an art nevertheless, takes long time to master. Keep practicing.

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