Showing posts with label Home Office strategy overturned by the courts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home Office strategy overturned by the courts. Show all posts

Thursday, February 10, 2011

God's Above The Devil Yet

MPs have overwhelmingly voted to keep the ban on prisoners voting, in defiance of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. The House of Commons' decision is not binding, but could put pressure on ministers to go against the Strasbourg court's decision. MPs backed a motion opposing the move by a 234 to 22 - a majority of 212.

Only one thing I want to know now. Who are the 22 traitors ?

UPDATE : here (thanks Liam)

Lib Dims
Beith, Alan (Berwick)
Reid, Alan (Argyll and Bute)
Foster, Don (Bath)
Hughes, Simon (Bermondsey)
Williams, Stephen (Bristol W)
Huppert, Julian (Cambridge)
Munt, Tessa (Wells)
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Hames, Duncan (Chippenham)

Gardiner, Barry (Brent North)
McDonnell, John (Hayes)
Qureshi, Yasmin (Bolton SE)
Green, Kate (Stretford)
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Love, Andrew (Edmonton)
McCarthy, Kerry (Bristol)

Bottomley, Peter (Worthing)

Lucas, Caroline (Brighton Cottage)

Plaid Cymru
Williams, Hywel (Arfon)
Edwards, Jonathan (Carmarthen E)
Llwyd, Elfyn (Merioneth)

Hermon, Sylvia (North Down)

Tellers :
Jeremy Corbyn (Labour, Islington)
Lorely Burt (Lib Dim, Solihull - a former prison assistant governor)


That this House notes the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Homicidal Axe Killer v. the United Kingdom in which it held that there had been no substantive debate by members of the legislature on the continued justification for maintaining a general restriction on the right of prisoners to vote; acknowledges the treaty obligations of the UK; is of the opinion that legislative decisions of this nature should be a matter for democratically-elected lawmakers; and supports the current situation in which no prisoner is able to vote except those imprisoned for contempt, default or on remand.

Interesting voting pattern in the 'nay' (i.e. against the resolution) camp.

1) Inner city MPs from vibrant, hi-diversity areas looking to attract the vitally important criminal demographic. Mostly Labour.
2) a cluster round Bristol/Bath/Chippenham/Wells - mostly Lib Dim
3) Lib Dims - more voted nay than Labour MPs. Split between the old rural, low-crime non-conformist heartlands, and SWPL, low-crime, low-diversity towns (Cambridge, Wells, Chippenham)
4) Plaid Cymru - again, rural, low-crime, formerly-nonconformist areas.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another Day ...

Another Home Office strategy overturned by the courts :

The regulations required people not legally settled in the UK to seek special permission to marry. These rules applied to couples even though one of them might have a legal right to be in the country. They were brought in by then-Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2004, amid concerns that thousands of people a year were using sham marriages to stay in the UK.

However the regulations were ruled as illegal by the High Court in 2006 and then Appeal Court last year. Yesterday the Law Lords agreed, saying they were an "arbitrary and unjust interference" with human rights. Baroness Hale said: "Denying those benefits to a couple whose relationship is genuine is neither a rational nor a proportionate response to the legitimate aims of a firm and fair immigration policy."

I love the way that Baroness Hale feels able to assess the proportionality of a law to the evil it's designed to address, and to conclude that requiring a foreigner to request permission to marry in the UK is a disproportionate response to several thousand fraudulent marriages each year and a significant contribution to illegal immigration. In the bad old days we used to have elected politicians to make those sort of judgements.

Whereas requiring a mother to undergo criminal record checks before escorting her disabled 14 year old son to school ? Obviously perfectly proportional.

A mother has been told she cannot travel to school with her severely epileptic son because she has not been police checked. Jayne Jones, of Aberfan near Merthyr Tydfil, used to travel with her son Alex, 14, in the council-provided taxi when she feared he may have a fit. But Merthyr Tydfil council has told her this must stop until she has undergone a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
Baroness Hale does of course have a fair bit of previous.

UPDATE - the Dumb One finds the words that I can't find. Read please.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


An impressive resource, this. I wonder why I've not heard of Michael Hughes or his site before ?

This website is hosted by a former detective sergeant in the Metropolitan Police who worked inside the British criminal justice system for in excess of 25 yrs - including 6 years in one of Her Majesty’s Young Offenders Institutions. This has given him a wealth of insider knowledge as to the workings of the CJ System - and the necessary authority and ‘streetcred’ to become the author of a True Crime & Political hard backed book entitled,


Law, Disorder & Injustice to Victims in 21st Century Britain

(This book has received excellent book reviews from a retired Crown Court Judge, a former Senior Probation Officer, the Legal Editor of Jane’s Police Review - part of Jane’s Information Group - a widely read and very long established weekly Police publication - and others - See BOOK REVIEWS)

There are 808 pages in this book, spread over 24 chapters.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Judges 3, Politicians 0 (again)

Another day, another few Government strategies overturned by the courts.

Thousands of failed asylum-seekers won the right to free healthcare yesterday, when the High Court ruled that restrictions on NHS treatment were unlawful. The court victory by a Palestinian, known only as A, was the latest of several judicial rulings against Government policies this week.

Regulations barring failed asylum-seekers from receiving free NHS treatment while they wait to be sent home were declared unlawful by Mr Justice Mitting. He said that guidance advising NHS trusts to charge unsuccessful asylum applicants for treatment did not apply when the person would otherwise be treated as “ordinarily resident” in the UK. The ruling affects an estimated 11,000 failed asylum-seekers whose return home has been delayed.

The Palestinian who brought the case is suffering from chronic liver disease but his return home has been held up because of the situation in the West Bank and problems with his documentation. He brought the case against the West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, seeking to challenge their refusal to provide him with care. The trust is now providing care and the claimant is being supported financially by the Home Office pending his return home. Mr Justice Mitting granted the Department of Health, which had fought the case, permission to appeal against the ruling. Adam Hundt, the man’s solicitor, said: “ He has never broken the law and the Home Office recognises that it has to provide him with accommodation so as not to breach his human rights.

“It seems perverse that housing is considered a basic human right and that healthcare is not.”

He's right. It does seem perverse that they're given anything short of a minimum. But given that they're not allowed to work, the taxpayer has to pay, and they should not be treated inhumanely. The Afghan hijackers got asylum, which makes you wonder how anyone could be turned down. But some are, it takes years to deport them, and meanwhile we stump up for food, clothing, housing, education and healthcare.

Families of British troops killed in war zones because of faulty equipment may be able to sue the Government for a breach of human rights after a landmark High Court ruling yesterday. The court set out new grounds for legal action by stating that the Army’s duty to protect soldiers could extend to patrols outside a military base and even to a battlefield. After the judgment, some relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq — and who blame the Ministry of Defence for inadequate equipment, training or care — said they would consider bringing a group legal action.

Mr Justice Collins, in a judgment on the conduct of inquests into the deaths of service personnel, said that members of the Armed Forces serving abroad could not receive absolute protection. But he ruled that the MoD had an obligation to avoid or minimise risks to the lives of its troops, wherever they were serving, under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which safeguards the right to life.

The MoD reacted with alarm, as defence sources privately said that it raised questions over whether troops could ever be sent on operations since their protection could never be guaranteed in theatres of war.

No one, unless it be the estimable EU Referendum (IMHO the best, most serious politics blog of them all), is a greater critic of the poor kit we give our soldiers than I am. But this judgement appears to signal the end of Britain's armed forces. Doubtless some fudge will be arranged and another administrative burden added to the armed forces.

"We're going in tonight"

"Just a moment. Have you completed the risk assessment ?"

The High Court has ruled that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) acted unlawfully by dropping a corruption inquiry into a £43bn Saudi arms deal. In a hard-hitting ruling, two High Court judges described the SFO's decision as an "outrage".

Defence firm BAE was accused of making illegal payments to Saudi officials to secure contracts, but the firm maintains that it acted lawfully. The SFO said national security would have been undermined by the inquiry.

The legal challenge had been made by Corner House and the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

While I can see the appeal to our rulers of making British law applicable throughout the world (last time we tried it, it was called imperialism), I do think we should start by trying to apply UK law in the UK, an area where it seems particularly toothless, rather than in Saudi Arabia, a low-crime country which has a great deal to teach us.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Judges 3, Politicians 0

Another day, another Home Office strategy overturned by the courts.

Abu Qatada, the firebrand preacher once described as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe", won his fight against deportation from Britain today.

With thanks to Judge Anthony Clarke (Oakham and Cambridge) and two other unamed Appeal Court judges (Lord Justice Buxton and ??).

The Government's anti-terror policy was dealt a second massive blow as the courts forced the Home Office to abandon its deportation case against 12 other terror suspects.

They've blocked the deportation on the grounds that he might be tortured in Jordan. Yet Peter Andre seems to have got on OK there.

The strange thing is that NuLab judges seem happy to sent British citizens off for trial in other jurisdictions, even for things which aren't an offence here. The Natwest Three were probably guilty of committing crime in the UK, not the States. The Howes' sold red phosphorous and iodine, the former a precursor chemical in the manufacture of methamphetamine but perfectly legal to possess and sell in the UK. They're on their way to the States where they may face 100-year sentences. (Neither the Howes nor the NW3 would be on my Christmas card list, but that's not the point) The new European Arrest Warrant may enable Britons to be extradited for "crimes" which are not illegal under UK law and are "committed" in the UK.

None of the people benefitting from the Appeal Court's decision are British subjects. They should not in such a case have the protections which British citizens (even unpleasant jihadis) should have. What may or may not happen to them overseas should not be the concern of a UK court.

Thousands of highly skilled migrants who were faced with deportation can now stay in Britain, a court ruled yesterday. The ruling is a blow to the Government and its attempt to demonstrate to the public that it is taking a tough stance to meet concern over the extent of immigration.

Sir George Newman, a High Court judge, branded the new rules unfair ... in November 2006 the Government suspended the scheme for a month after it was found that some migrants had entered on forged papers, others were working in unskilled jobs and some were not working at all.

Unfair to whom ?

A wealthy lawyer who killed his wife after she had an affair is set to inherit nearly £1million from her will after being freed from jail. Christopher Lumsden, 54, was said to have "snapped" after his wife Alison, 53, announced she was leaving him for a family friend. He attacked her at their £1.4million mansion, slashing her on the face and neck with a knife so badly a pathologist could not count the number of wounds she had suffered. Lumsden, a partner at the international law firm Pinsent Masons, was cleared of murder but jailed for five years for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The jury heard that the father-of-two was suffering from a "depressive condition" at the time of the attack after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. He was released on licence last September after serving around 18 months of his sentence and is now in line to receive £1million from her will, made five years before her death.

By law, a person convicted of manslaughter cannot inherit money from his victim. But the courts can make an exception if the killer suffered from a mental disorder at the time of the crime.

I imagine our wealthy lawyer will be found to be one of those exceptions.

One million voters have been added to the electoral register in only two years following the introduction of the Electoral Administration Act. New applicants do not have to provide documents proving their identity or even whether they are in the country legally. Instead, they simply fill in a two-page form and declare that the details are correct. The surge in voter numbers coincides with hundreds of thousands of immigrants coming to Britain from eastern Europe and elsewhere. After the introduction of the Electoral Administration Act in 2006, the roll increased by 513,054 and a further 463,340 in 2007.

Last night, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "There are all sorts of reasons why people join the electoral register and it is just not correct to say that the pattern of migration is the sole, or even most significant, reason."

At least this one is wholly down to the Government. They're heaping up the funeral pyre nicely.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

"a whiff of the lynch mob"

In such understated tones doth the BBC's Jon Dymond (21:39 in, RealAudio) report from Italy this morning on expulsions of Romanians, mostly gypsy Roma, from Italy.

I paraphrase : "none of the men have jobs - the women make a living by begging".

Just the kind of work the Italians won't do ... though in fairness he does visit a construction firm with lots of Romanian employees.

EU officials say Italy is acting within its rights provided it respects the union's criteria for expulsion of EU citizens and does not target a group. Under European law, EU countries can expel EU citizens who pose a public threat or who lack sufficient income. Italy is deporting some Romanians under a new decree aimed at tackling crime.

"It is possible to expel citizens of another [EU] state if they don't fulfil the [residency] criteria or represent a threat to public safety or public health," EU justice affairs spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing said on Monday.

Funny - in the UK, our judges decide that we can't deport Italians convicted of murder - or any other criminals from within the EU. They must have a different EU law over there - or could they have different judges.

Back to the banks of the Tiber :

The situation, already tense, reached a critical point in late October, when Nicolae Romulus Mailat, a Romanian citizen, was charged with the murder in Rome of Giovanna Reggiani.

Romanian authorities describe Mailat as an ethnic Roma (Gypsy). He had been living in an illegal shanty town at Tor di Quinto on the edge of Rome, inhabited mainly by Roma. Italy demolished the shacks there at the weekend.

At the time of EU enlargement Migrationwatch worried about how many of Eastern Europe's I.5 million Roma would turn up here. Expect a concerted Guardian campaign to entice this demonised and oppressed people to a country which has already shown it can deliver a warm welcome.

A Berkshire town has been struggling to cope with nearly 90 children who have arrived unaccompanied from Eastern Europe. The Roma children, one as young as ten, have apparently paid someone in Romania to send them to Slough. The Borough Council does not know why it has been singled out but has been forced to set up a special team and spend £150,000 helping the children. It has called for more government help to offset the strain on other services.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Foreign Offenders Can Stay Here

Gordon Brown, Labour Party Conference 2007 :

But let me be clear any newcomer to Britain who is caught selling drugs or using guns will be thrown out. No-one who sells drugs to our children or uses guns has the right to stay in our country.

However, if you're a murderer or a sex offender, no worries.

"A victim of a serial sex attacker is "appalled" that he will not be deported in order to protect his human rights. An Asylum and Immigration Tribunal upheld a ruling which blocked moves by the Home Office to deport the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Mr Justice Hodge said the 20-year-old should stay in the UK as he came here from Sierra Leone, aged six, and had virtually no family in West Africa. "I am appalled by the decision," she said. "How is it right that somebody who has offended so seriously against defenceless women is allowed to remain in this country?

Her attacker had admitted indecently assaulting 11 women in the past five years. He is being allowed to stay in the UK after his release under article eight of the Human Rights Act, which gives a person a right to a family life."

The judge, Henry Hodge, is the husband of Labour's Margaret Hodge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

If Only It Were True

"Slain teacher's widow flays lawyer"

More Human Rights

(moved due to updated news)

The killer who knifed headmaster Philip Lawrence to death is expected to win his appeal to stay in Britain because deporting him would breach his human rights, according to a Home Office official. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal will rule this week that Italian-born Learco Chindamo cannot be deported as this would deprive him of his right to family life, the official said.

Chindamo, now 26, stabbed Mr Lawrence in the heart outside the gates of St George's School in Maida Vale, west London, in 1995 when he was just 15. Mr Lawrence, 48, the school's headmaster, had been trying to defend a 13-year-old boy who was being attacked.

I think we can file this one under "Home Office Strategy Overturned By The Courts".

Last year the then home secretary, John Reid, pledged that foreign prisoners convicted of serious offences would be deported automatically, after his predecessor Charles Clarke was found to have presided over a system in which more than 1,000 foreigners were freed when they were meant to be considered for deportation.

However, this has proved difficult to implement. Besides a prisoner's human rights, which have been enshrined in British law since 2000, there is also European Union law to consider.

UPDATE - Ian Dale laments the predictable decision, but a blogger previously unknown to me, one Wrinkled Weasel, posts this in the comments. One for the sidebar I think, when I get it fixed.

Mr Lawrence intervened to "save" a 13 year old (William Njoh), who has since specialised in petty crime, leading to robbery, leading to a firearms offence, for which he was jailed this week. Lawrence was stabbed to death in the original attack.

His widow has succumbed to the dilemma of the liberal middle classes in that she cannot figure out who the bad guys are any more and is reported to have "blown a kiss" to William Njoh as he went down for four and a half years.

As for Chindamo, her moral compass spins wildy as ever:

"Forgiveness is such a complex issue or maybe such a simple one and I don't think I really understand it yet, and I'm not sure what it is that I'm meant to do.

"This is really difficult but I think I've probably always forgiven Chindamo but it's the dealing with it - that's so difficult."

No dear, you don't have to forgive the scumbag and the problem is not yours to deal with. He took away a life that was precious to you, a life you will never have.

He deserves to hang, but we don't do that anymore, but at the very least he should spend the rest of his life either behind bars. Whether here or in Italy is irrelevant.

What makes me angry is that we are having a debate about this. As far as I am concerned, Chindamo gave up his rights to everything but food and water when he joined a violent gang, carried a ten inch knife and stabbed somebody who worked for crap money doing something useful.

While Mrs Lawrence, as a Christian, is enjoined by her faith to attempt forgiveness, I can't say the moral compass of Telegraph crime reporter John Steele is in terribly good order.

Njoh was 13, in 1995, when Mr Lawrence was stabbed outside St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, west London, trying to protect Njoh, one of his pupils, from a teenage gang.

The incident left Njoh traumatised. He had to give evidence in the murder trial and, after threats were made against him, he went into hiding. His education was disrupted and he drifted into crime, committing several offences, including robbery.

"He drifted into crime". How to describe a dying civilisation in four words.

UPDATE 2 - I Am An Englishman, a blogger who I think can be reasonably described as far right and with whom I'm sure I'd disagree on many topics, has a lot of factual detail on Chindamo's gang.

UPDATE3 - guess who's behind the decision to keep Chindamo here - Mr Margaret Hodge !

The panel which granted Learco Chindamo the right to live freely in the UK is headed by Sir Henry Hodge - a human rights campaigner who is married to Culture Minister Margaret Hodge. Sir Henry's Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has ruled that deporting Chindamo would breach his right to a family life. Sir Henry is the former chairman of the National Council for Civil Liberties - now known as Liberty. He bears public responsibility for the tribunal's decisions, which are taken either by an individual immigration judge or - in controversial cases such as this - a three-person panel. The Chindamo panel was headed by senior immigration judge David Allen, a barrister and product of grammar school and Oxford University. He began working part-time as an immigration adjudicator in 1989 and moved into the field full-time when appointed as a senior immigration judge in 2000. He was backed by Jonathan Lewis, who has worked as a solicitor for 30 years. Mr Lewis is also the author of an official guide to immigration law. Chindamo's panel also contained a lay member, Adrian Smith, who has worked in the field since 1993. The judicial communications service yesterday refused to provide any more information about him.

Another day ...

Another Home Office initiative overturned by the courts.

A flagship Government law and order policy is facing crisis after a judge warned that thousands of potentially dangerous offenders might be freed from prison because of "truly disastrous" planning. When ministers introduced a new open-ended sentence for serious criminals they failed to set up a proper structure for determining a release date.

On Monday, Mr Justice Collins ordered that an offender jailed for a serious assault should be freed because he had not been given a chance to put his case to the Parole Board. The ruling follows a similar decision by the High Court earlier this month to order the release of two other prisoners serving IPPs - indeterminate sentences for public protection.

All the offenders will remain in jail pending an appeal by the Ministry of Justice but if the Government loses thousands of IPP inmates could be freed immediately.

You won't be terribly suprised to learn that Andrew Collins was educated at Eton.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Another Day ...

Another Home Office initiative overturned by the courts.

The government has been acting unlawfully by keeping prisoners in jail longer than necessary, judges say. The Appeal Court ruling came in a case brought by a sex offender who had been handed an indeterminate jail sentence. Under the sentence offenders are given a minimum tariff, but must prove they are no longer a danger to the public before they can be released. David Walker argued he cannot be considered for release because his jail does not offer a parole course. The Court of Appeal ruled there "was a general and systemic legal failure".

Jon Silverman illustrates the traditional BBC bias.

The High Court judgement will have come as no surprise to ministers. They were put on notice by the chairman of the parole board, Sir Duncan Nichol, six months ago that increased use of the indeterminate public protection sentence (IPP) by judges was having serious implications for prison management. He revealed that official projections showed that, if unchecked, the number of IPP prisoners at any one time would reach 12,500 within five years, far outstripping the "lifer" population of jails in England and Wales.

Either Jon Silverman is talking nonsense, or the High Court are breaking the law, surely. Since when have the number of prisoners banged up under a given law affected whether an individual can be released ?

"given the sheer number of IPP prisoners - the latest government figure, given in May 2007, was 2,547 - it is impossible at present for every inmate to complete a course before their tariff expires."

I see. These are serious offenders, considered likely to reoffend - and there are a lot more of them than the CJS thought, and the people aren't there to deal with them (obviously in my ideal world they wouldn't need so many staff. How many do you need to turn a key ?). Now where have I heard that before ?

Known sex offenders are living unchecked in the community because there are too many of them to be monitored regularly, according to research commissioned by the Home Office. The rapidly growing number of people registered as violent criminals or sex attackers is threatening to overwhelm the police, probation officers and social workers who have to keep them under supervision.

The number of people on the sex offenders register in 2005-06 was 29,973, a 4 per cent increase on the figure for the previous year. In the same year there were 14,317 violent offenders who were supposed to be subject to regular supervision, a rise of 13 per cent on the 12 months before. Another 3,363 offenders were deemed to require supervision after sentencing or after release from prison.

The number of offenders required to register is certain to increase, with ministers widening the scope of the sex offenders register to include more sexually motivated crimes.

Like this evil pervert.

A man who pinched a Channel 4 News presenter's bottom during a live broadcast is being sought by police. Sue Turton was speaking to the camera from Oxford's flood-hit Osney Island when the man was seen on film walking past her. She said she found the incident "quite humiliating" but continued reporting. She does not wish to pursue the matter.

The Guardian, stern foe of sexual harassment, thoughtfully provides a link to Youtube footage.

It is understood the force wanted to press for a tougher penalty and was "not particularly happy" about giving the man a fixed-penalty notice but that Turton's refusal to press charges limited their action.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another Day ...

Another Home Office initiative overturned by the courts.

Controversial immigration rules aimed at stopping sham marriages are unlawful, says the Court of Appeal. Judges said the law breached the fundamental rights of immigrants subjected to the vetting. Last year three couples argued at the High Court that the home secretary had discriminated against them. Three senior judges have now agreed, saying ministers failed to find out if those marrying were genuinely in love or part of an immigration scam.

I imagine there'll soon be a form to fill in - "are you genuinely in love or is this part of an immigration scam ?"

And yet more Control Order abscondees. If you remember, Control Orders were brought in when the courts overturned a different Home Office Initiative.

The Home Office said six out of the 17 people on control orders have now absconded. Earlier on Wednesday, in a break with the practice adopted after the previous incidents, Mr Reid asked the High Court to lift the three men's anonymity to help with the police investigation.

Police described Lamine Adam as of north African origin, 6ft, slim, with a light complexion, short dark brown hair and last seen with a short beard. Ibrahim Adam is also of north African origin, 6ft 2in, slim with a light complexion and short dark brown hair. It later emerged their brother, Anthony Garcia, 25, was among those jailed last month at the Old Bailey for his part in a plot to build a homemade bomb capable of killing hundreds, the Met Police confirmed. They said Cerie Bullivant was white, 5ft 7in, slim with receding brown hair and brown eyes. It is understood he recently cut his hair very short.

I see that the Conservatives are accusing the Home Secretary of failing to protect the public. I'm not exactly sure what they're supposed to do. These guys are UK citizens and we don't do imprisonment without trial for UK citizens. We don't do it for Johnny Foreigner any more either, thanks to the Law Lords.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Another Day ...

... another initiative overturned by the courts.

"A key plank of the government's anti-terrorism laws has been dealt a blow by the High Court. A senior judge said control orders made against six men break European human rights laws. Ministers say they will appeal against the ruling. The orders are imposed on people suspected of terrorism but where there is not enough evidence to go to court. They mean suspects can be tagged, confined to their homes, and banned from communicating with others.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Sullivan said control orders were incompatible with Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws indefinite detention without trial."

The initiative, of course, replaced another initiative. Which was also overturned by the courts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Don't Understand ...

When the Government make the occasional feeble gesture in the direction of defending the public from criminals, defending our borders from economic migrants, or our nation from terrorist attack, a host of lawyers and interest groups spring to the defence of said criminals/asylum seekers/terrorists.

"Political justice !" they cry. "Separation of powers !" "An independent judiciary !"

Another day, another initiative overturned in the courts, to applause from Amnesty, Liberty, the BBC, Guardian, Indie and all right-thinking people. The idea that a politician can influence the length of a prison sentence has been discredited in the very wonderful European Court. A Home Secretary setting the tariff for an Islamic terrorist ? Leave that to the judges, mate.

Only one exception. When the politicians are letting murderers out.

The Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland provided for large numbers of terrorist killers to be released long before the terms to which they ere sentenced expired. Peter Hain is about to let various murderers who are on the run return to Ulster - in a deal which involves them turning up in court on the understanding that they won't be punished.

Strange. I haven't heard a peep from Mike Mansfield, Gareth Peirce, Helena Kennedy or Clive Stafford-Smith. No Guardian editorials on interference with the justice system, no Indie front pages claiming that Blair is usurping judges' powers. You'd have thought they'd have been straight down the courts demanding a judicial review, insisting that the law was to be applied by judges not politicians. How very odd.