Thursday, June 18, 2009

A pair of 44s

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the police to stop and search anyone in a specific area. Before Section 44, the police could only stop and search individuals if they had 'reasonable grounds' and certain criteria were met. That is no longer necessary, and we have seen Section 44 powers used against anti-war, anti-weapons and anti-capitalist protestors. The power to stop and search under anti-terrorism powers should only be used when there is evidence of a specific terrorist threat. It should not be simply an addition to the day to day powers of officers policing protests.

Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of the UK's anti– terrorist laws, said police were stopping people against whom they had no evidence to provide "racial balance" to their figures. White people are being stopped by police to prevent accusations of racial bias because of the higher number of Asian people being detained under terrorism laws . White people may be being stopped more often to balance the proportionately larger number of Asians stopped because they fit intelligence profiles of possible terror suspects.
Officers in England and Wales used the powers to search more than 124,000 people last year, three times the level of 40,000 in 2007. Around 1 per cent of searches led to an arrest ( but not necessarily for a terrorist offence) .It is used across London on a continuous basis, resulting in up to 10,000 stops a month in the city.
A Home Office spokesman defended use of the powers, saying: "As part of a structured anti-terrorist strategy, the powers help to deter terrorist activity by creating a hostile environment for would-be terrorists to operate in." [ random stop and searches of people of Asian origin ]

The power of the state is justified by the claim that the law is applied equally to every citizen even if they have to cook the books .

Section 44 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 permits a judge satisfied that if there is "evidence of a real and present danger that jury tampering would take place", and "notwithstanding any steps (including the provision of police protection) which might reasonably be taken to prevent jury tampering, the likelihood that it would take place would be so substantial as to make it necessary in the interests of justice for the trial to be conducted without a jury"may also be conducted without a jury.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a criminal trial can take place at Crown Court without a jury for the first time in England and Wales. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, made legal history by agreeing to allow the trial to be heard by a judge alone The case concerns four men accused of an armed robbery at Heathrow Airport in 2004. The trial of the defendants, who cannot be identified, "will take place without a jury in due course"

From a state of civil war in Northern Ireland when jury trials because of terrorist threat were suspended but now to robbery crimes in England , legal civil liberties are dissolved …


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cliff.syringe said...

I'm always worried when the cops are granted more discretion and less accountability. I'm sure they scoop up a good number of relatively harmless recreational drug users "accidentally". Reverse profiling doesn't equal justice and arbitrary quotas of anything are pure bunk. I hate it when cops fluff up their resumes by scooping up potheads and addiction victims. Thanks for posting "A pair of 44s". It got me revved up.