Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Has the Lord Judge left the ‘Labour three’ a loophole under human rights law by restricting their right to a fair trial?

Dear All

Previous in the epic battle to dodge court proceedings Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Eric Morley tried a legal manoeuvre to get their case thrown out.

The Judge quite rightly threw that nonsense out.

However, the three ex-Labour MPs are still trying to dodge a date with destiny; they are appealing to the UK Supreme Court.

The nub of their case is I suspect more or less the same, that the criminal courts do not have jurisdiction to hear their cases.

Grasping at straws, they will duck, dive and dodge but at the end of the day, they will stand trial on criminal charges over their expenses.

Although Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice refused permission to take the case to the Supreme Court in the wake of its dismissal.

He gave them permission instead to pose a question to the Supreme Court Justices, allowing the Labour three to make a direct application for a final hearing into the case.

The Lord Judge cleared the way for the final appeal by agreeing that they could ask the Supreme Court to consider "points of general importance" in their cases.

The questions were:

Does the Crown Court have the jurisdiction to try an MP in relation to allegations of dishonest claims for parliamentary expenses or allowances, or is the court deprived of jurisdiction by Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1688 or the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament?

The judgement will be that the Bill of Rights was written in good faith and as such it didn’t legalise criminality by MPs.

In a nutshell, Devine, Chaytor and Morley are stuffed and done up like a kipper.

Lord Judge may have made a blunder when he refused the MPs legal aid for separate representation by lawyers because he said there was no conflict of interests in the cases but "a complete identity of interests".

Did he have sufficient evidence to prove conspiracy?

I think not, the Lord Judge has left them a loophole which maybe exploited at a future date by their legal team.

So far they are allowed one leading and junior counsel and one firm of solicitors.

The Labour three deny theft by false accounting and say they want adjudicated by the "correct law and the correct body".

Devine, Chaytor and Morley claim that is Parliament which is crap.

Lord Judge, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger and Sir Anthony May had upheld an earlier ruling by a judge at Southwark Crown Court in central London that they were not protected.

The Labour three will have to fight their cases in the same way as anyone else; they will not be getting special treatment in that respect.

However, there appears to be a loophole about them being restricted to one leading and junior counsel and one firm of solicitors.

I am wondering if someone is steering this to a mistrial or dismissal.

Time will tell.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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