July 25, 2007

habeas corpse

As I expected Labour is planning yet more erosions of Habeas Corpus. It looks like Gordon Brown did not want to be reminded of Tony Blair's only defeat in the commons by trying again for 90 days detention without charge. 56 days is a little less than the 60 days that I predicted that he would get, but would be yet again double the length of time that people can be held making it the fourth time the period that people can be held without charge has doubled since Labour gained power in 1997.

These proposals also allow "judges to set a limit on a case-by-case basis", which since they would automatically have 56 days could that means that it would allow judges to set a limit greater than 56 days on a case-by-case basis, potentially a lot longer than 56 days. This would give them the de facto power of internment in prison (as opposed to internment under house arrest, which they already have).

The plans also include compelling people suspected of wanting to go somewhere to cause trouble like with the Football (Disorder) Act 2000. Like the Football (Disorder) Act 2000 this is not people that have been found guilty of anything at a trial, Labour does not like trials, merely be suspected of planning to do something for whatever reason.

If there really was a desperate need for it, a bad headline for example, then a minister could verbally declare an emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act extending the detention period by 30 days. However the Civil Contingencies Act also allows the government to do just about anything, so reminding them of its existence probably isn't a good idea until we can get the damn thing repealed.


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