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August 30, 2006

Not Guilty: Have a Control Order

You do have to wonder whether people think these things through or whether it’s all being made up on the spot:

AN IRAQI minicab driver cleared yesterday of making videos of potential terrorist targets was immediately placed under a Home Office control order to restrict his movements, The Times has learnt.

Rauf Abdullah Mohammed, who came to Britain as an asylum-seeker six years ago, was found not guilty of four charges of making or possessing a video of potential terrorist targets, including Big Ben and the London Eye.

Minutes after the verdict, he was placed under a control order which allows the Home Office to restrict where he goes and who he meets. An order can also curb access to telephones and the internet and permit police to enter a suspect’s home at any time.

So after all the evidence is heard, a not guilty verdict, the authorities simp[ly go ahead and restrict him anyway. Wonderful, eh?

But Gareth Crossman, policy director of Liberty, said: “Unfortunately it appears that control orders have become a ‘conviction lite’, being used as a sanction where a jury has acquitted. The Government has not heeded repeated warnings that control orders involve secret courts and secret evidence that are not compatible with the right to a fair trial.”

Aren’t we lucky people to have such a free and pleasant land?

August 30, 2006 in Law | Permalink

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Comments

Judicially supervised control orders are largely a response from the govenment to the inability to deport undesirables. In more liberal times, the likes of Mr Mohammed would have just been kicked out; now we have to worry about their human rights and perversely have ended up with all sorts of barmy, illiberal laws.

It seems pretty obvious that there is plenty of suspicion about the activities of this particular muslim gentleman. And just because someone has decided that his collection of videos isn't enough to justify a criminal conviction, doesn't meen that he isn't a neer-do-well with all sorts of mayhem on his mind.

In the same way, it seems incredibly naive of you to make the logical jump between a not guilty verdict and a presumption that the bloke is no threat to our society. He isn't a British subject and whilst there is any doubt about his good intentions he should not be afforded the benefits of what is left of our free and pleasant land.

Posted by: towcestarian | Aug 30, 2006 2:26:39 PM

Why doesn't New Labour go the whole hog and give every new born baby a criminal record which can be removed by decades of good behaviour and correct voting?

Posted by: pete | Aug 30, 2006 5:21:58 PM

There must be a distinction between the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction and preventative measures to avoid mass murder. From that paper of record, The Guardian:

"In the background of the video religious chants are heard along with the rattle of machinegun fire and the sound of a missile exploding. Mr Mohammad is heard discussing his hopes of killing Tony Blair, George Bush and Silvio Berlusconi, and as Islamist chants continue in the background, his companion says: "Rauf is planning a bombing operation."

The footage also contained a speech by Osama bin Laden and shots which zoomed in on Paddington Green high-security police station in west London. Mr Ibrahim told the jury that the film was made in September 2003 and was no more than a tourist souvenir for relatives overseas. "

I can see that there might be reasonable doubt about whether this constitutes a criminal act. But it's at least a little worrying, surely?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1860822,00.html

Posted by: erasmus | Aug 30, 2006 9:40:56 PM

Is the video available? It would help if we could see it.

There is a big diffenece between a silly young mans silly tourist video and genuine terrorist plot, if we could see the video we might feel surer about the case.

Posted by: johnny bonk | Aug 30, 2006 11:18:23 PM

Erasmus, the man was tried and found not guilty of four charges. Now he has been issued with a control order, the conditions of which may amount to a deprivation of liberty.

What you seem to be suggesting is that even if a court finds a defendant not guilty, the Executive should still be allowed to punish him. Of course, none of this applies if the control order has been issued on different grounds to the prosecution's case.

Towcestarian, if he is so undesirable the Executive should attempt to deport him. If I understand correctly, he can be detained until the outcome of these proceedings.

Pete, don't give Them any ideas!

Posted by: TD | Aug 31, 2006 11:19:02 AM