Archive for Law
British Politicians continue to pour scorn over the Dictatorship in Myanmar and I too am pleased to hear of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, there are some disturbing parallels.
Apologists, will undoubtedly claim this is the ramblings of someone unhinged and it is a disgrace to compare Control Orders and an abhorent dictatorship in Myanmar.
Lets have a look-
The controlee does not know the accusation or case against them and is powerless to dispute it or show their innocence. Under a control order you might never know the accusation against you, and never have the chance to clear your name.
Control orders enable the Home Secretary to impose an almost unlimited range of restrictions on any person they suspect of involvement in terrorism. Parliament must vote every year to continue the control order scheme.
The key differential being the word terrorism
Definition of terrorism :
Terrorism Act 2000:
(1)In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—
(a)the action falls within subsection (2),
(b)the use or threat is designed to influence the government [F1or an international governmental organisation] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c)the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [F2, racial] or ideological cause.
(2)Action falls within this subsection if it—
(a)involves serious violence against a person,
(b)involves serious damage to property,
(c)endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d)creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e)is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
(3)The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.
(4)In this section—
(a)“action” includes action outside the United Kingdom,
(b)a reference to any person or to property is a reference to any person, or to property, wherever situated,
(c)a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than the United Kingdom, and
(d)“the government” means the government of the United Kingdom, of a Part of the United Kingdom or of a country other than the United Kingdom.
The Definition of Terrorism
A Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C.
Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation: 2007 concluded:
86. My main conclusions are as follows:
(1) There is no single definition of terrorism that commands full
(2) The risks posed by terrorism and its nature as crime are sufficient to
necessitate proportional special laws to assist prevention, disruption
(3) A definition of terrorism is useful as part of such laws.
(4) The current definition in the Terrorism Act 2000 is consistent with
international comparators and treaties, and is useful and broadly fit
for purpose, subject to some alteration.
(5) Idiosyncratic terrorism imitators should generally be dealt with
under non-terrorism criminal law.
(6) The discretion vested in the authorities to use or not to use the special
laws is a real and significant element of protection against abuse of
(7) The exercise of such discretion requires especial care by those in
whom the discretion is vested.
(8) New sentencing powers should be introduced to enable an additional
sentence for ordinary criminal offences, if aggravated by the
intention to facilitate or assist a terrorist, a terrorist group or a
(9) Offences against property should continue to fall within the
definition of terrorist acts.
(10) Religious causes should continue to fall within the definition of
(11) The existing law should be amended so that actions cease to fall
within the definition of terrorism if intended only to influence the
target audience; for terrorism to arise there should be the intention to
intimidate the target audience.
(12) The existing definition should be amended to ensure that it is clear
from the statutory language that terrorism motivated by a racial or
ethnic cause is included.
(13) Extra-territoriality should remain within the definition in accordance
with international obligations.
(14) A specific statutory defence of support for a just cause is not
(15) A new statutory obligation should require that the exercise of the
discretion to use special counter-terrorism laws in relation to extraterritorial
matters should be subject to the approval of the Attorney-
General having regard to (a) the nature of the action or the threat of
action under investigation, (b) the target of the action or threat, and
(c) international legal obligations.
(16) The law should not be amended to enable the use in the United
Kingdom of the special laws against persons subject to diplomatic
We have a dangerously weak definition of terrorism, which at present could be interpreted, if the state so minded, to define that Protest Demonstrations where violence was perpetrated could find themsleves becoming proscribed and therefore fall under the definition of a terrorist organisation.
The feminist movement went as far as threatening to kill MPs- Terrorists?
The Poll Tax Riots – Terrorists?
Anti-terrorism laws are being used by councils to look in your dustbin.
As long as we continue to have Control Orders in this country, expect more Aung San Suu Kyis’ to be detained in this country.
I was a little upset, mildly speaking, when a twitter user @pickledpolitics, who appears to write for The Guardian posed the question,
How does blog hosting impact your legal situation?
and quoted a so called ‘important’ political blogger on UK politics, who goes by the name of Guido Fawkes.
These two people set themselves up as relevant and important bloggers in the UK. Pickledpolitics – Sunny – has, to his credit actually got off his arse and attended a climate camp demo. But as far as I am aware that consisted of the Greenwich, happy clap demo in September, where even the Police got bored.
Paul Staines- Guido Fawkes – who knows what he has done apart from set up a barrier against prosecution, apart from this possible relationship
I digress a little…..
Pickledpolitics posed the question, should bloggers be worried about legal consequence and he was impressed that Mr. Staines had a convoluted legal set-up which protects him from legal action.
Unfortunately the convoluted process is too difficult for Mr. Staines to follow.
‘…Factual correction: I am not legally the publisher. I also mispoke in that interview, the publisher is actually in Nevis, which is not that far from the Caymans. Got offshore entities muddled.
The decision by the British Courts today that the Police Officers involved in the death of De Menezes in London should face no further action, have far wider implications than just on the activity of these police officers.
Killing innocent members of the public by British Police officers in the ‘line of duty’ have now effectively been ruled as acceptable. There is little doubt from the information available, regarding communication failures and incompetence that there should be culpability. Yet the officers involved in the incident are being provided with a defence that the Nuremberg Trials deemedinadmissible, ‘following orders’.
The Police Officers have been able to defend their actions by passing the buck to higher authority, justifying their actions that they were only doing what they had been told. There can be no doubt that DeMenezes was killed on that fateful day by officers who pulled the triggers. They should be tried in open court.
It may well be that their actions were defensible against a murder charge, I would not pre-judge the verdict in such a trial, but to decide they should not be tried, simply because it isn’t expedient and the officers involved were only following orders, is unacceptable.
We have a police force which is under fire from the General Public and a State apparatus which increasingly appears determined to defend them against any open investigation.
While the UK witters on about other countries across the world, where murder by state clandestine operations is endemic, we are in danger of slipping in to that position ourselves.
Where is the result of the Tomlinson G20 death? WHy is it taking so long to actually bring this case to a conclusion.
One only has to look at investigations carried out by the IPCC into police actions in connection to the death of members of the public, to see there is no accountability. The De Menezes case may be a high profile incident, but it is far from isolated. Prosecutions over deaths of members of the public at the hands of the police are few and far between, this can not be a healthy position.
The purpose of an open trial with Judge and Jury, is meant to be the bedrock of the British Justice System. This Labour Government has already started to erode the concept, justifying it by attempting to re-write history. Now the Judiciary are also culpable in the erosion of the very Justice System they are meant to defend.
In World War one, one civilian was killed for every service personnel, these figures how now been reversed with ten civilians dying for every one service personnel. Does the Geneva Convention still hold value?
Sixty years ago this week, the Geneva Convention was agreed, with the objective of ensuring civilians were protected in war time, but things seem to have become far worse.
Conflicts around the globe continue and the field of military operation has changed, it may not be that the Geneva Convention is meaningless, or without teeth.
Countries such as the UK, which permit war criminals free reign, if their crimes were committed before 2001 they can not be prosecuted here and only people who are resident in the UK, can be prosecuted here, regardless of the date of the war crime, do not help with their implementation of International Law.
The British Government has just in the past month decided to consider pushing this date back to 1991.
It is perhaps time to look once again at the Geneva Convention and ways to protect civilians from military conflict. The areas of concern, do not just include the US alliance in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but areas such as Darfur, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.
On the anniversary of the Geneva convention and the year in which the last survivor of fighting in the trenches in WW1 has died, it may be that the Convention needs re-assessment in light of the disturbing numbers of civilian who are being killed as a direct result of military intervention.
It would also be of value if Countries operated a parallel implementation of International Law, surrounding war crimes, in support of the Geneva Convention and its intentions.