Monday, June 21, 2010

‘Catastrophic, Seismic, It could cause enormous disruption It’s hard to overstate its significance’, Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini rails against fair trial

Dear All

It seems that Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini thinks that giving people full access to their Article Six human rights will “catastrophic” effect on public confidence in the justice system.

Cases like the Shirley McKie case have already done that, in the McKie case everything humanely possible was done both legally and politically to deny this woman justice.

Confidence can only be restored in the justice system if the public knows that everyone who is a part of that system believes fully in a fair trial.

In 1984 in England a suspect was granted the right to have a lawyer present during questioning by the Police. 1984, we had a Tory Government, in Scotland a Tory Home Secretary and nothing happened, Scots weren’t granted equal rights.

13 years later, the Tories are beaten in the Labour landslide of 1997 and still Scots are treated like second class citizens in their own country, the excuse, we have a different legal system.

2 years later sees the Scottish Parliament established, rigged so Labour thought to allow them to keep power in coalition with their preferred partners the Scottish Lib Dems.

Law becomes a devolved issue with Labour in control but no change in policy, Labour holds the Parliament with the Lib Dems for two terms.

2007 sees the Labour/Lib Dem coalition lose control.

We now stand at 2010 and still no full Article Six rights for Scottish people.

At present the Cadder Case is at the UK Supreme Court, this is a human rights case.

Peter Cadder via his lawyers has challenged the way Police in Scotland can interview suspects without a lawyer being present for up to six hours before an arrest.

Last year also marked another important human rights case in Turkey involving a teenager called Yusuf Salduz who was questioned by Turkish security police.

This lead to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruling that access to a lawyer was part of the fundamental right to a fair trial.

Instead of arguing to defend the right to a fair trial, Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini is fighting a rearguard action on the basis that if Scots are granted equal rights and justice, it will require 100,000 Scottish cases having to be reviewed and cause “enormous” disruption.

So, Angiolini goes to the UK Supreme Court not to defend people’s rights but to try and ensure the Crown Office maintain the status quo.

At the UK Supreme Court, Chairman Lord Hope; the Court’s deputy president made the point that Angiolini would need solutions to “avoid a complete collapse of the system and all the cases that lie in the past”.

Hope added:

“It’s an appalling prospect but we may find we have no alternative but to face up to that.”

Sir John Dyson, told Angiolini she seemed “very reluctant to face up to Salduz”.

It would seem that at the UK Supreme Court there is a forming consensus that the Scottish position doesn’t hold water. It would be illogical for the Court to deny Scots the same rights as enjoyed south of the border.

It would border on bizarre.

Dyson is an interesting character one of the rising stars in the Court of Appeal, Sir John Dyson has been tipped as a possible Master of the Rolls. Someone of note who held that position is Lord Denning who was known as a people’s judge. Media friendly and unpompous, he is the ideal public face of a modern judiciary expect to see more of him in the years to come.

So, the question remains should people expect and be entitled to a fair trial?

The answer should be yes.

Cadder is a significant case and will do more for Scottish justice than anything which has gone through Holyrood.

Various political parties in Scotland are seeking independence to that end they continue to present a financial argument.

The issue of justice is equally fundamental and no party seems to grasp that, if the people believe that Scotland will still be the same slimy corrupt place it currently is post independence, what is the incentive?

No political party has come out in favour of this fundamental principle which forms the basis of Cadder.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

The UK Supreme Court should rule in favour of Cadder but isn’t it a pity that Scots have to travel to England because no one in this country will grant them their rights properly.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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