Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

You know who and the rule of law

The judges have defied the will of public opinion; they have defied the tax payer who has spending millions to keep this man inside the country; they have defied the victims of terrorism, what about them, people who have suffered from terrorism, there seem to be no, what about their human rights?
Robert Halfon MP on BBC News 6 July 2013 00:26-00:43

Most of us will be pleased to see the end of (or at least this chapter of) the “You know who” saga, but I do find the above comment somewhat ill-considered – but par for the course. The Egyptian military used “public opinion” as justification for their recent coup – most coup leaders do this.

The judges uphold the law – they are not X-Factor judges swinging with the wind. The judges required the law to be followed (we would all, surely, be horrified if they did not); eventually the Conservatives got off their high horse and followed the law – now he is gone.

If an MP does not like the judges upholding the law, he should introduce a bill to change the law – not whinge about the judges doing their job. The “cost to the taxpayer” is as much due to the stubborn refusal of our politicians to legislate better and of our ministers reluctance to follow the law.

  • If he is believed to have committed offences in this country – prosecute him, convict him and lock him up.
  • If he is believed to have committed offences in other countries (and they have a similar quality of justice as ours – no evidence derived from torture, no politicians calling for judges to follow public opinion etc.) – deport him under a proper (balanced) extradition agreement.
  • If he is believed to have committed offences in other countries (and they do not have a similar quality of justice as ours) legislate to allow us offer him: deportation to that country, internment in the UK, (possibly) to seek asylum elsewhere, or to stand trial in the UK. (Mere belief that someone has committed offences should not be sufficient to lock someone up without the option of trial.)

Our human rights are best upheld by ensuring that someone who is proved dangerous is locked up, that someone who may be dangerous is monitored, and that as a country we have a reputation for upholding the rights that such people seek to overturn.

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