Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The right of us all who die at the hand of the State

Back in February I blogged against the provisions then making their way through the Terrorism Bill. The Commons passed those provisions without demur in July and the Lords are now to consider them. With no apology I repeat below my concluding paragraph from February:

Coroners' inquests are not about the rights of the living, or even less about 'the public interest'; they are about the rights of the dead. It is the right of every British subject who meets a violent or sudden death at the hands of the State to have a jury of ordinary British subjects, under the advice of a coroner who is outside of the criminal justice system, to have the circumstances of their demise examined. It is one of our most ancient rights. It might be that the coroner's jury decides it was our own fault - death by misadventure. Or that we killed ourselves. Or that it was an accident. But our greatest defence lies in the fact that they can also decide, against the wishes of the police, or the CPS, or the government, or the coroner himself, that we were unlawfully killed. This is our final safeguard against the capriciousness of the State, and the basis of the compact between the Crown and the people, in which allegiance is given in return for protection from casual murder.

We cannot permit any government to rob us of this right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Coroners' inquests" don't exist in Scotland.

So not really "the right of every British subject".