Last night I sat and watched a special programme on the background to the terrorist trial on which verdicts were brought, also yesterday. The BBC were very quick off the mark to broadcast their programme and changed evening schedules with little notice in order to do so. This action alone raises very many questions, but the main one is, could the BBC have been stopped from transmitting this programme, and if so, why wasn’t it?
Surveillance techniques were modelled and acted out, giving away a great deal of information. I am reminded of the World War 2 poster; ‘Careless Talk Loses Lives’.
The programme with all the details of the case (if that is so)has been broadcast,it could affect a decision to re-try and the defendants’ team of lawyers could make the case that a fair trial was now compromised.
Today, Wednesday 10th September 2008, it has been announced that The Crown Prosecution Service is going to request a re-trial for all seven defendants, one of whom was acquitted on all charges.
It remains to be seen on what grounds a re-trial will be sought. My understanding is, that under English Law a person cannot be re-tried for the same offence on which a finding has been given. If I am correct in this, that would apply to the four men found guilty of a variety of terrorist-related offences. Is this the double jeopardy principle? On the other hand you also have the plea of ‘autre fois acquit’ which would apply to the defendant found not guilty. So he can’t be tried on exactly the same charges either.
I purposely make no critical evaluation about the content of the trial here, as offered by the media. Nor will I make any comment about the verdicts, though I am aware there is much that could be considered.