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Secret court amendments fail

Several amendments to secret courts championing “justice and security bill,” have failed to go through, despite backing from several big name organisations, meaning beginning 8th May, when a new session of parliament is opened, more trials will be able to be held in secret.

The reasoning for the bill, is that since certain evidence in some cases is too sensitive to be heard in an open court room, that secretive trials would are necessary. This was opposed by several MPs, as well as organisations like Amnesty International, as they believe it will instead be used in order to perpetrate miscarriages of justice away from the prying eyes of the public.

Peers from differing parties made attempts to block and amend this bill, with Labour pushing for a judge ruling that would see secret trials only convened when a fair result was impossible to reach by any other means. This was rejected, as was the Lib Dem initiative to have judges weigh up the importance of secrecy in each case and balance its need against that of “open administration of justice.”

Secret justice
Secretive justice at work.

Loz Kaye, justice spokesperson for the Pirate Party Uk released a statement commenting on the news of the bill’s passing: “This is very bad news for justice in the UK. Secret Courts undermine the right to know the evidence against you and set aside the principle that the working of courts should be transparent. Fundamental objections remain, such as questions over whether secret courts could be used where someone’s liberty is at stake.”

“It beggars belief that the Lords were not even able to vote for an amendment which would have given judges the power to take in the need for ‘fair and open administration of justice’ to balance national security.”

“This shows once and for all that the Liberal Democrats are part of the problem,” he continued. “Not influencing the authoritarian tendencies of the big parties as they claim. On the key vote in the Lords, more Liberal Democrats did not vote for these amendments than did. Secret courts, legal aid slashed, site blocking, attacks on the very idea of human rights. These are the realities of coalition Britain.”

Kitguru Says: This seems like something that could be so easily exploited and abused. Hopefully some judge will manage to legislate from behind the bench and set a precedent that these sorts of trials are rarely necessary.

[Thanks The Guardian]

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