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July 25, 2007

This is How We Lose Our Liberties

So they're going to change the law again, so that if some policeman doesn't like the look of you, you can be locked away for more than the current month. Given that as yet no such suspect has had to be released after 28 days of questioning, it's a little hard for them to come up with a justification. So here it is, from the Home Secretary:

"This all gives us a strong view that the time is right to reconsider whether we should allow longer than 28 days' pre-charge detention," she said. "There is already evidence of us stepping up to the point of 28 days. All of this creates what I would argue is a trend of analysis towards a position where it is legitimate for us to consider again the case for going beyond the current situation of the maximum 28 days...."

"a trend of analysis towards a position where it is legitimate for us to consider again"


Might I suggest that such complex language means that there isn't all that good a case? But let's accept her at her word. It is legitimate for us to consider again. Let's actually consider the whole situation, shall we?

How long should police be able to question someone before charging them? 24 hours? 7 days? 28? 90? Indefinitely?

Hmm, what? You're not willing to consider shorter time spans? So we're not considering again, are we? 

July 25, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

As ever, Tim, brilliant stuff.

RS

Posted by: Reactionary_snob | Jul 25, 2007 11:34:38 AM

... a trend of analysis? That's a circular argument:

Our analysis, based on our methodology, follows a trend that supports our desired outcome.

The rest of it seems to be based on this argument:

Now that we have these shiny new powers, we're using them to their capacity and so we need new shiny new powers. Unprecedented threat, blah blah blah, the vast majority of blah blah blah, new world order blah oops, scrap that last one...

Posted by: Antipholus Papps | Jul 25, 2007 11:47:53 AM

Substituting any positive number other than 28 into her argument doesn't reduce its power. I therefore conclude it has no power.

Posted by: Tom | Jul 25, 2007 12:49:59 PM

Note they've also floated the idea of post-charge questioning. Presumably this increases admissability in court, but without inconveniences like legal representation?

Kinda takes the point out of charging someone, doesn't it?

Posted by: Niels | Jul 25, 2007 5:13:47 PM

"Note they've also floated the idea of post-charge questioning."

Yes, but at least suspects have the right to silence. Oh...

How many of the fundamental rights are actually left? Detention without trial, bzzt. Right to silence, bzzt. Innocent until proven guilty, bzzt. Right not to be tried twice for the same crime, bzzt. Right to sue when slipping on a wet leaf outside a shop. Ding!

Posted by: Kay Tie | Jul 25, 2007 11:20:37 PM

What all gives us a strong view that the time is right to reconsider whether we should allow longer than 28 days' pre=charge detention?

Posted by: Katy Newton | Jul 26, 2007 8:56:36 AM