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Topic Summary

Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: August 07, 2009, 12:41:41 AM »

And Biggs has just been released from jail.
Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: July 07, 2009, 01:58:17 PM »

Berkoff has a letter in The Sunday Times, 5 Jul 2009 about train robber Ronnie Biggs.

Biggs was one of a gang who stole millions from a train in 1963- the train driver was serious injured in the robbery.  Biggs was later caught and sentenced to 30 years in jail but escaped after a year.  He lived for years in Brazil and returned to Great Britain in 2001 when he was rearrested and he served his jail sentence. He recently applied for parole which was accepted by the parole board but rejected by Justice Minister Jack Straw.

Berkoff writes "...Jack Straw’s dismissal of the recommendation by the parole board for the release of an ageing and sick Ronnie Biggs can only appease the puritan and the self-righteous, and those with a lust for punishment... The sheer injustice of [a thirty year jail sentence] would compel any spirited human being to escape, which of course he did... Apparantly Biggs didn’t cringe enough or take up some worthy hobby in prison to show his reforming ways."

Berkoff also shows his shift from the Labour party "In my younger days the Labour party represented not only a dedication to justice, but also honesty, and, not least, mercy. It is plain to see that most of these qualities have been chucked out of the window".

Berkoff of course appeared in the film Prisoner of Rio about Biggs.