Friday, June 25, 2010

Scottish Police call for 24-hour detention of suspects as Scotland expected to lose Cadder Case at UK Supreme Court, this idea has merit

Dear All

People have rights and when society doesn’t respect their rights, governments will abuse their positions; we have seen this time and time again in Britain and elsewhere.

Recently the Cadder Case, a human rights case is going through the UK Supreme Court over whether Scotland should be forced to comply with Article Six of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) makes explicit reference to the right to representation.

At present under Scotland’s backward laws, a suspect can be questioned on his or her own by Police Officers during a six-hour period after being detained, but before being formally arrested.

In England since 1984, suspects have had the right to legal representation through-out all stages of their confinement.

The Cadder Case is a follow on from another European Case involving a Yusuf Salduz, his rights were violated as he did not have a lawyer present when questioned by Turkish police.

A re-trial was ordered.

The Cadder Case has caused wide spread panic in Scotland as Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini fought hard to deny Scots their legal rights. Since Cadder raised its head, guidelines have been issued by Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini which are designed to pre-empt a challenge under human rights legislation.

At the same time she is fighting against Cadder at the UK Supreme Court.

Given the explicit nature of Article Six and legal precedent across the border regarding rights of suspects, she will probably lose the legal argument and rightly so.

In order to address the problem, the proposed remedy by Police is time extension to the detention period in Scotland.

Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said:

“In some areas it may take an hour or more to get (suspects) to the station and it may take a couple of hours to get a solicitor there. That may be considered an undue delay. If we are going to formalise solicitor access, it is inevitable that there is a need to extend the detention period beyond six hours. We have not made representations to the Government on this yet but in other parts of the UK the general detention period is 24 hours. I would have thought that if we have a benchmark in neighbouring jurisdictions that seems to work we should be looking at the timescale quite seriously.”

I would have to agree with Hamilton, the time extension is viable if it is coupled with suspects getting their full rights under the Human Rights Act.

It is the duty of government to ensure that the judiciary process remains independent and has built in fairness so that people can have trust in it. This issue will possibly have a temporary fix until after the next Holyrood election when the party that is in charge can bring forward new proposals.

Fairness and equality benefits everyone, what a pity at present it takes a court case for this to happen.

This is Scotland 2010 still living in the dark ages, justice is devolved to Holyrood but hasn't evolved.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

No comments: