One Cheer for British Justice

Thankfully after a five year enquiry (Al-Sweady case) before a retired High Court Judge (Sir Thayne Forbes) costing in all £31 million – a high proportion of which has passed through the firms Leigh Day (Martin Day principal) and Public Interest Lawyers (Phil Shiner principal, Mau Mau lawyer, a committed socialist campaigner), the enquiry found that British soldiers were not guilty of murdering 11 “innocent” Iraqis and disfiguring their bodies.  Hurrah – relief for the soldiers under the shadow of these appalling accusations.

While Sir Thayne’s 1,250 page report castigated the “deliberate lies” and “shameful attempts to impugn the Army’s reputation” used to bring the case (one cheer), it also strayed well beyond its remit to criticise the Army’s interrogation methods more generally (no cheers).  Apparently Sir Thayne thought that “blowing gently on a detainee’s neck” “would have seemed full of menace – and the detainee would have been intimidated by it” and this “amounts to a form of ill-treatment”.

The sententious tone of these and many kindred remarks, reveals a totally unworldly outlook on the part of the judge and his co-reporters, an outlook which is often seen in cases involving foreign appellants, especially asylum seekers and visa overstayers.

The judiciary now has to undergo training to understand the culture of ethnic minorities and why some seem not to understand that breaking British laws is wrong.  It is time that senior judges experienced life under fire – like some “embedded” reporters do every day of their working lives – so they can lean how utterly inappropriate to a foreign war zone the above comments and more generally the Human Rights  Act (1998) actually are.

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2 Responses to “One Cheer for British Justice”

  1. Ageing Albion says:

    For the first few decades of the post war era most of the senior judiciary would have been veterans of the Second World War (it is said that the brilliant Sir Robert Megarry did not progress further because he had had a desk job during the conflict) and until 2000 most would at least have seen national service. Nowadays they are slowly succumbing to the paralysing fear of political correctness, knowing that the slightest stray remark seen as less than favourable to any other culture will mean career death. In 1982 Lord Denning (a Great War veteran) was effectively compelled to resign after he wrote a book critical of an ethnic minority jury, so it is not a wholly new phenomenon.

    Thus, when the judge in the trial of Vicky Pryce (wife of the hapless career politician Chris Huhne) dismissed the jury because it patently had no idea about the society from which it was supposedly drawn and which it had to represent, the elephant in the room went unremarked. This particular elephant is the point that you cannot have a jury of 12 ordinary people if those people cannot speak English fluently and do not understand the culture underpinning the law they are supposed to apply.

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  2. Gillian Bush Gillian Bush says:

    This is a potent example of English dispossession as described in Stephen Bush’s post of 27th December.

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