Thursday, 10 July 2008

False Witness

Much concentration, and rightly so, on the denunciation by Baroness Manningham-Buller and others of the plan to bang people up for six weeks without even so much as charging them with anything.

But almost unremarked upon has been this week’s jaw-dropping, and predictably cross-party, legislation to validate six hundred unlawful orders permitting people to be convicted without the opportunity to confront their accusers in open court, and providing for an unlimited number of more such orders. There has been no comparable assault on liberty since well before living memory, and quite possibly since the reign of Charles I.

Every argument for this simply assumes a weak and feeble criminal justice system. If no other Common Law jurisdiction on earth needs this (not even in Zimbabwe is it actually the law), then why do we? If they don’t need it Scotland, then why do we? If we never needed it against the IRA, then why do we need it now? If we never needed it against the Krays, then why do we need it now? And so one could go on, and on, and on.

So why isn’t anybody bothering?

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