Thursday, 6 November 2014

400-year-old common-law right breached

It was not immediately obvious what David Davis was on about when he raised his urgent point of order in parliament this afternoon. However, it became much clearer this evening; this BBC report gives the background. One of Mr Belhaj's lawyers pointed out that an accused's right to confidential discussion of the case against them with their accredited legal representative had been established in common law as far back as the seventeenth century.

Two questions come to mind:

 - is it this practice, rather than the revelation of methods of intercepting digital and telephone conversations, which makes the security services reluctant to bring terrorism charges into open court?

 - are the current and previous independent reviewers of British anti-terrorist laws, including Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile, aware of this breach of legal privilege, and have they seen or heard the evidence so produced?

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