Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Government plans to give the home secretary powers to remove juries from some inquests are "astonishing", an influential group of MPs says.

A little-noticed clause in the Counter Terrorism Bill would also enable the home secretary to change the coroner if deemed to be in the national interest.

Ministers insist the vast majority of inquests will still stay public.

But the Joint Committee on Human Rights warned the measures could affect cases like that of Jean Charles de Menezes...

Full story on the BBC

There is still no date for the inquests into the deaths on 7 July 2005.
I wonder if this new law will be invoked ( if the Government's latest controversial counter-terrorlegislation is passed) and whether there will be a jury at those inquests? Already I hear that the Coroner originally appointed is no longer running the inquests and a High Court Judge is to be appointed instead.
It doesn't look hopeful. It is terrible that the families have had to wait so long for the inquests. Distressing details of the post-mortems were sent out just before Christmas by the previous Coroner.
This doesn't look good.

Andrew Dismore, the Labour chair of the committee, said: "We are seriously alarmed at the prospect that under these provisions, inquests into the deaths occurring in circumstances like that of Jean Charles de Menezes, or British servicemen killed by US forces in Iraq, could be held by a coroner appointed by the secretary of state sitting without a jury.

"Inquests must be, and be seen to be, totally independent and in public to secure accountability, with involvement of the next of kin to protect their legitimate interests.

"When someone dies in distressing, high profile circumstances their family need to see and feel that justice is being done.

"And where state authorities are involved, there is a national interest in accountability as well."

Too right.



Anonymous Digger said...

The UK cross party Joint Committee on Human Rights stated the following about these proposals:

"we find this an astonishing provision with the most serious implications for the UK’s ability to comply with the positive obligation in Article 2 ECHR to provide an adequate and effective investigation where an individual has been killed as a result of the use of force, particularly where the death is the result of the use of force by state agents

In both ECHR and UK case law ECHR Article 2 requires that the person carrying out the investigation must be independent from those implicated in the events."

The Home Secretary now proposes to add Coroners/cleared advisors to the list of exempted persons (in Section 18 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) who are now able to read/adduce any information obtained covertly (by the Security Services etc.).

I do not understand whyever that there might be covertly obtained information that would feature in any of the July 7th victims inquests, else if things are not what we have been led to believe.

It would suggest much monkey business if juries were excluded from any of the J7 inquests......

February 21, 2008 1:10 pm  
Blogger Nicey said...

MMM thats heavey stuff

February 25, 2008 2:37 pm  
Anonymous Antipholus Papps said...

Are you surprised?

The Weimar Republic was transformed into the Nazi state by a government continually promoting hysterical fear of 'terrorism' in order to bypass due process and destroy the rule of law. Notwithstanding Godwin, this cannot be repeated enough. Because we forgot.

March 03, 2008 3:22 pm  

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