July 22, 2005

New Labour ask for yet more tough new powers

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Police ask for tough new powers:
"They also want to make it a criminal offence for suspects to refuse to cooperate in giving the police full access to computer files by refusing to disclose their encryption keys."
They have already got this power in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which reversed the burden of proof so that if you couldn't hand over the keys then it was up to you to prove this. I guess with all of the draconian laws that New Labour spews out they may have forgotten about this one from back in 1999.
Whitehall officials confirmed that, as reported in yesterday's Guardian, the security and intelligence agencies want a new system of plea bargaining. Convicted terrorists would be given lighter sentences if they supplied information before their trials.
Again this already exists. A criminal can choose to give evidence, and judges will then use there judgement to reduce the sentence appropreately. Having fixed reductions known before hand is a bad idea as it could lead to the naming of innocent people simply so they can get up to their quota of names for a reduction. Also the US experience of plea bargining should be taken into account where it is considered the normal practice so anyone that has the gall to fight, because they are for example innocent, will find their sentence disproportionately high.
The most controversial of the police proposals is the demand to be able to hold without charge a terrorist suspect for three months instead of 14 days. An Acpo spokesman said the complexity and scale of counter-terrorist operations means the 14-day maximum is often insufficient.
Well we all know New Labour's attitude to Hadeas Corpus and the other ancient freedoms of British Culture.
Terror suspects to give compulsory answers to questions similar to obligations on company directors in fraud trials
And how will extract the answers should the suspect not be forthcoming? How will they know they are the correct answers, or will they just keep on going until they have finally extracted the answer they already decided was correct?

New Labour, tough on Liberty. Tough on the courses of Liberty.


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