Trevor Mendham

UK Civil Liberties - New Labour's Record

Criminal "Justice" Bill

The abuses of civil liberties contained in David "Big" Blunkett's flagship Criminal "Justice" Bill are almost too many to mention. Here are just a few of the "highlights" of this unbelievably retrograde piece of legislation:

  • Limitation of Right to Trial by Jury
    Juries often give the "wrong" result. Using the excuse of complexity the government wants to make it easier for police to get a conviction by removing the right to jury trial in some cases.
  • Limitation of Double Jeopardy
    The double jeopardy rules prevent someone being tried twice for the same crime. If these are watered down as proposed, every acquittal for a serious offence will in effect be conditional. The police will be able to keep trying until they get the result they want.
  • Increased Stop and Search Powers
    Use of stop and search by the police has been a frequent source of social tension and the powers are often used in a discriminatory fashion. The Home Office's own statistics show that black people are 8 times more likely than white to be stopped.
  • Detention Without Charge
    The Bill doubles the amount of time police can hold terrorist suspect without charge from seven days to fourteen days. Read about the Terrorism Act 2000 to see if you count as a terrorist.
With this Bill the New Labour government has dropped any last pretence of believing in civil liberties.

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