Against 42 Days Detention

Mathew Paris (he did say this was OK) rather hits the nail on the head here:

Far less persuasive are the so-called concessions that the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is advertising. They are a travesty of the spirit of our unwritten constitution. Giving the House of Commons an administrative function in the arrest, detention and possible charge of individual suspects drives a coach and horses through the theory that Parliament legislates for the generality, and the executive and the judiciary apply legislation in the particular.

The Commons has no business – nor expertise, nor information – making determinations as to how the law should be applied in individual cases: the idea\’s a contemptible piece of careless ad-hoc-ery. Anyway, what happens when Parliament isn\’t sitting?

5 thoughts on “Against 42 Days Detention”

  1. “The Commons has no business – nor expertise, nor information – making determinations as to how the law should be applied in individual cases”

    How many of the the MPs, particularly Labour Ministers of the last 10 years, are former solicitors/barristers/etc? Perhaps by dint of their previous dismal careers they actually believe they have the expertise, and the right, to interfere in this manner.

  2. “the spirit of our unwritten constitution. ”

    i.e. a gentlemens’ agreement.

    Which only works with gentlemen/women.

  3. The spirit of the unwritten Constitution is the travesty, which is why the Founding Fathers wrote the US Constitution to take apart that unwritten constitution.

    The only thing that baffles me is why, after hundreds of years of demogaguery by the British Parliament to interfere in every part of a Briton’s life including what he may or may not believe about God, suddenly an extension of the denial of civil rights to innocent people to 42 days becomes so symbolic.

    As far as I am concerned, the problem started when detention without trial under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (which appears to do the opposite) ever found its way into law in the first place.

  4. I am more interested in what happens when a suspected terrorist is arrested, and the run-up to that. Any trained terrorist will say nothing until the trial begins. That is what they do.

    In the meantime, you have to blitz his computer, and call in the interpreters, to build your case. Plus you have to impose a watch on the ports and airports, to catch whoever decides to make a run for it. And you have to collate the intelligence info resulting from your enquiries to foreign powers.

    I suspect the expertise to do all this is limited to a very small group of people. First of all, security demands a small team. Second of all, you don’t trip over this expertise every day.

    So I am inclined to give them the time they want.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *