How much threat is British justice under?

Quite a lot if you agree with Alex or James. The cause of their ire is Labour’s plans to give the government the right to remove the jury from coroner inquests, and replace the coroner with an appointee of central government’s choice.

As the BBC reports:

The government is facing a backlash over controversial proposals to remove juries from some inquests.

Provisions in its counter-terrorism bill, published last month, would also allow home secretaries to replace coroners with their own appointees.

Ministers insist the new powers would be used sparingly and the vast majority of inquests will still stay public.

But critics say the changes are dangerous and unnecessary meddling with a system that has worked for centuries.

A little-noticed clause in the bill would allow the home secretary to prevent a jury being called to an inquest and even to change the coroner for “reasons of national security”.

The change is intended to avoid the risk of sensitive information – such as details of phone-taps or surveillance operations – being revealed to jurors and other members of the public.

But it is not explicitly restricted to terrorism cases and could in theory be applied to cases of deaths where no such link is suspected.

This opens up the possibility of juries being barred from sensitive inquests such as that into the death of Jean Charles De Menezes, the Brazilian man police shot because they thought he was a terrorist.

Alex’s post makes the case, with a current example, as to why we should be very nervous about how this new power could and would be abused.

Liberal Democrat MP Alan Beith has said, “I’m not comfortable with a situation where a politician is deciding there shouldn’t be a jury in a particular inquest.”

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News.


  • David Evans 5th Feb '08 - 12:30pm

    Labour are instinctively the most authoritarian, illiberal party in the UK. It starts from the union based “Unity is strength” and carries right through their very being. We should oppose them at every worthwhile opportunity – id cards, detention without trial, removal of juries and use of placemen coroners in sensitive inquests. The list will never stop increasing as long as they are in power.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Michael BG
    Michael Kilpatrick, There were two consultation papers on UBI which included how the £30 billion needed on top of abolishing the Income Tax Personal Allowan...
  • Martin
    In my experience of paying any local government tax – I’ve never seen it reduced ….& no doubt this pen pushers 4 day week won’t make one iota of...
  • Martin Gray
    @Martin...."So we await the results of the experiment, and hopefully the reduction in council tax that will follow its successful completion, with great interes...
  • Martin
    So why have local government at all? So that those who are responsible for spending local taxpayers’ money on local services are democratically acc...
  • Peter Watson
    @Martin Gray "Would this be available to all at the council – the refuse operators , gardeners , labourers , porters , care home workers etc …Or is it anoth...