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May 25, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

What is it with these people?

But Mr Reid is also considering letting the courts infer guilt in cases when a suspect keeps silent during questioning after charges have been brought – a move that will be far more controversial.

So that's the end of the presumption of innocence. You know, this idea that I do not have to prove that I'm innocent, they have to prove that I'm guilty?

It's as if these people have never met a human right they don't want to abolish.

May 25, 2007 in Politics | Permalink


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» TCSOTD 2007-05-25 from Toblog
Polar bear cam Watch as our government mulls taking away presumption of innocence ... the sooner we get rid of this bunch of idiots the better Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2007 10:20:34 AM


Presumably the arresting officer will have to change his statement to:

"You have the right to remain silent, but if you do, you will be presumed guilty in a court of law."

Posted by: Tim Newman | May 25, 2007 9:59:36 AM

"After the latest fiasco in which three terror suspects went on the run after breaching their control orders, the Home Secretary said yesterday that the Government would consider declaring that there was an emergency threat to the country, allowing it to opt out of human rights legislation, if all other options failed."

Y'know, we should really consider drawing something up to prevent these mentalists from seeing human rights as an elective. A constitution, perhaps? I'm considering just buying a really big gun.

Posted by: sortapundit | May 25, 2007 10:39:31 AM

What is the problem if these people escape and flee the country? The government would have deported them, if the courts allowed it.

Posted by: james c | May 25, 2007 10:52:44 AM

"when a suspect keeps silent"

And what is "silent" anyway?

All a suspect has to do is adopt the kind of silence that Woody Allen uses in his movie "The Front", when questioned by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. You know, not staying silent, engaging, but failing to answer the question. If Blair gets away with this trick very Wednesday I can't see how a suspect's guilt can be deemed.

Tim adds: Including the best line ever:

"Fellas... I don't recognize the right of this committee to ask me these kind of questions. And furthermore, you can all go fuck yourselves."

Posted by: Kay Tie | May 25, 2007 11:00:37 AM

James makes a valid point. THe whole reason these people were on control orders was because the Government could not kick them out!

Dr Reid's moves to presumption of guilt is just another example of when one attempts to tackle the symptoms of dysfunction not removing the dysfunction.

The dysfunction at the core being the removal of the right of a country to eject a foreigh national deemed undesirable.

Posted by: Roger Thornhill | May 25, 2007 11:02:32 AM

"What is the problem if these people escape and flee the country? "

Because they might not have flown the country...?

Posted by: JuliaM | May 25, 2007 11:07:09 AM

@James and Roger Thornhill respectively:
"The government would have deported them, if the courts allowed it."
"The dysfunction at the core being the removal of the right of a country to eject a foreigh national deemed undesirable."

IIUC these people were British nationals. To where could you deport British nationals?

It seems to me the focus is on the wrong issue.

Why haven't we been told what happened (or what failed to happen) when these men neglected to check in at the designated times?

Instead of examining an issue of whether the monitoring company and authorities performed satisfactorily, why are we already talking about derogating from the ECHR?

Posted by: ukliberty | May 25, 2007 12:30:53 PM

You can take the man out of the Communist party....

Posted by: Ed | May 25, 2007 1:23:39 PM

Dr Reid 'just doesn't get it,' to use one of his phrases.

You can't just 'declare an emergency' and start moving the goal-posts, or at least not without leaving the ECHR (because even if we tear up the Human Rights Act, we're still bound by our treaty obligations). Two tests have to be met before you can derogate. First, there has to be war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation. Second, if that is the case, the Government may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to Part 4 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

He ought really to realise the implications of all this, and not only because it's all there in Article 15 of the ECHR. His predecessor Mr Blunkett managed to persuade the Law Lords that there is, in fact, or was at the time, a public emergency threatening the life of the nation, but their lordships nevertheless thought that Part 4 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 went beyond the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation.

I'm pretty sure they'd reach the same conclusion about this proposal. And if we scrapped the Human Rights Act, all that would achieve would be that the appeal ended up in Strasbourg, where they'd almost certainly be a lot less sympathetic than were the Law Lords in 2001 to the proposition that a public emergency threatening the life of the nation (other, perhaps, than the existence of this rotten government) does, in fact, prevail in the first place.

Posted by: Not Saussure | May 25, 2007 1:30:07 PM

I approve of trial by jury, so I automatically assent to any juror who is so inclined inferring guilt from silence. He's appointed for his presumed common sense, isn't he? I similarly believe that jurors should be supplied with the criminal record of the accused (and the police, witnesses, lawyers and judge too).

Posted by: dearieme | May 25, 2007 1:52:52 PM

Is it possible Dr Reid does not care if his threat to abrogate makes legal sense, so long as is has the desired effect on the media, public, or whoever else has to be persuaded to bring pressure to bear on the Law Lords?

Posted by: Heraklites | May 25, 2007 3:42:38 PM

"I similarly believe that jurors should be supplied with the criminal record of the accused"

Lovely: "'e done it before, fack, 'e must 'ave done it again. Why are we wastin' any more time: guilty!"

Posted by: Kay Tie | May 25, 2007 7:30:18 PM

If you think so little of jurors, Kay, I take it that you oppose jury trial?

Posted by: dearieme | May 25, 2007 9:35:25 PM

Why the fuss about this potential removal of the presumption of innocence? When I was a youngster (and dinosaurs ruled the earth!) it was the case that convicted criminals had their fingerprints taken and kept on file. But that was after conviction. Now on arrest (neatly widened to be permissible for anything) the victim is fingerprinted, photographed and DNA sampled. So already treated by the State as guilty in any case. This only provides for further punishment. But in a year or two we will all be locked into fortress GB anyway.

Posted by: Worried | May 25, 2007 9:51:19 PM

Defendant's criminal record : it's introduced, or parts of it are, in all sorts of circumstances. So's that of witnesses. The rules about what gets introduced and under what circumstances are too complicated to go into here, but you can get a general idea from the Judicial Studies Board's specimen direction on the subject. (See particularly point 5 of the direction the judge has to give.)

Heraklites -- I'm sure you're right. I can't, in fact, see the Law Lords being intimidated by all this; I suspect it's more just bluster aimed at shifting the blame, when anything goes wrong, onto everyone else but himself. But I find both these constant attacks on the rule of law (as opposed to the rule the executive) and this attitude that fundamental ideas like habeas corpus and the right to a fair trial are old-fashioned inconveniences profoundly depressing.

Posted by: Not Saussure | May 25, 2007 10:48:21 PM

The fuzz will have great fun making tapes of interviews, the beauty being that the accused won't have to be there. Fitting people up will become a whole lot easier if all you have to produce in court is a tape with a series of questions like "Did you commit the Whitechapel murders?" followed by silence.

I have to say, I disagree with you on criminal records, dearieme. The state is required to demonstrate that the accused is guilty of the offence with which they are charged on the available evidence, past records should be irrelevant to this process, although highly relevant if (or in NuLabia when) the accused is found guilty.

Posted by: DocBud | May 26, 2007 3:08:21 AM