Last updated on December 1st, 2010
The use of intercept evidence in courts in England and Wales is not “legally viable”,
…the Home Office has said. This is reported on the BBC here, Using intercept evidence in court ‘not yet viable’
From the earliest days of the British (English) Secret Service, back in Elizabeth I’s time, all manner of devices and methods have been used to “secure the nation”, initially for the sovereign, and latterly, to maintain the structures of our notionally democratic government system.
I’ve commented many times about the draconian laws implemented in this country by successive Home Secretaries – upwardly-mobile Blunkett, Mr Fixit Reid & Two Homes Smith. And how they’ve been implemented, yet hardly used, and yet could still be used to snatch all our hard-won freedoms away in a jiffy.
We also had the illegal shooting of the Brazilian Menendez at a tube station, which was a catalogue of human errors from initial data acquisition to the panicky police with pistols to the botched cover-ups from higher command.
And without any use of the draconian laws we’ve seen several sets of murderous people stopped in their tracks and locked away for good. The shoe-bomber and the Glasgow airport bombers come to mind.
So now, in light of yesterday’s news, why are we still wasting time with these crap laws that do nothing for our freedom except curtail it, and have now been found to be largely ineffectual because much of the evidence gained by our Secret Services has been found to be “inadmissible in court”.
Q. How So?
A. Well, a very small bit of our English Law still remains that Wacky Backy Jacqui Smith et al have been unable to squash.
Defence of an Accused Person
This is that anyone charged with an offence must have access to all the information that the prosecution has to throw at them! It’s a hard-won pillar of our justice system.
Time and time again, when it’s been found that the police or others have with-held information from the defence, the case is thrown out of court. Nearly all the famous miscarriages of justice, like the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four etc, nearly all have been found wanting because of this. (There’s also issues of doctored evidence, but like any criminal activity, one sort of illegality is usually accompanied by others).
So let us make sure that this right is not done away with!
Because current Home Secretary Johnson is full-on in his determination to “make the system workable” – his words.
What he wants is a way to make intercept information available to a court without the defence knowing how or why the information is derived or sourced.
And without that, there are no checks on the veracity of the information. All it would need is a member of the security services to say (probably hidden in court);
“yep. Data is okay. The defendant said that”
….and we are straight back to 1974 and the Birmingham Six where the copper’s word was deemed truthful and above reproach, when it patently was not.
Now is the time when we need a new, youthful Ludovic Kennedy. Where are they now?