Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Straw opens way to police cover-ups

Straw's margin of 34 votes last night that gave him his much desired secret courts to replace open Coroners' Courts in 'sensitive' cases is so clearly a retrograde step for ordinary citizens that I will not labour the point. But it will be not only cases such as the execution of Jean Charles de Menezes that such courts will hear in secret in future, but ordinary cases of police thuggery and brutality that result in deaths.

There is no piece of legislation that has been introduced for terrorism that has not been misused by the police for purposes far from the mind of Parliament, and this one will be no different.

The Times reports on the case of a Ghanaian man brutally beaten by two off-duty police officers on the tube:
“One of the two men then jumped up and confronted Mr Domfeh in an aggressive manner saying, ‘You what? What did you say?’. Mr Domfeh was punched and the other man joined in. One punch was strong enough to send him staggering back through the open carriage doors and he fell backwards on to the platform, banging his head as he did so,” Mr Durose said.
Mr Domfeh was lucky enough to live through the attack; the blow that felled him on the platform may have caused a broken skull, and death. No doubt in that case the officer could have claimed he didn't mean to kill Mr Domfeh. That he thought Mr Domfeh was reaching for a gun, or the detonator of a body-bomb. A Coroner's jury in an open court could have made up its mind on such submissions. A judge sitting alone in secret could give the policeman's story credence with no check or balance.

A beating in the cells, rough handling in the police van, or an eighteen stone copper kneeling on the chest of a ten stone suspect have all led to the death of prisoners at the hands of the police. And to date, all judicial investigation into such deaths has been open and transparent. It has been so only because there has been no choice, but there will now be huge pressure from the police to class such cases as 'sensitive' and avoid open Coroner's Courts.

An uneccessary and retrograde law.


Anonymous said...

It's not unnecessary for everyone, though. For Labour and their politicised police force it's entirely necessary.

Budgie said...

I despair at this government and its supine MPs. Even one of these anti-liberty laws if passed under a Tory government, would have caused howls of protest. ZaNu tribalism blinkers all its adherents - they seem immune to reason.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

I mentioned this to my Mum the other day, she is in no way a political person but when I suggested how it would have affected the David Kelly case she spent half an hour reminiscing about that and how it had turned her against the Labour party that she had previuosly voted for.

Jack will also be able to hold secret inquests for Servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since these are not war zones but police actions where deaths are not 'in combat ' but are regarded as crimes in the usual way.