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.

Quo Vadis?



  1. Surveillance and intelligence can only go so far. The Rule of Law overarches all considerations, or so it seems.

    I am probably not the most neutral or objective of people (because of my past) however I must say that if there is overwhelming evidence to bring terrorists to trial and there is a good chance the bastards will be acquitted on technicalities then sometimes a spot of summary justice is not a bad thing.

    But, then we do live under the ‘Mother of parliaments’.

  2. Summary justice was not a consideration here. Your feelings are palpable.

    The issues here are different to the points you raise, which are a whole other subject.

    The legal issues are paramount at the moment and will affect (either way) future trials.

    As a point of conjecture, if the evidence-gathering had not been brought to what appears to have been a premature halt, I wonder if the outcomes/verdicts would have been any different.

  3. Terror trials, at least in the way they are conducted on the west side of the pond, raise a lot of red flags. The secrecy, the rendition of the accused… lots of questionable stuff going on. I’m sure there are bad people who need to be appropriately dealt with, but I think they ought to be dealt with fairly and publicly, else we’re just validating the terrorist’s original grievances.

    It has been a very long time since I stopped in to visit! I apologize for that. My blog has been marked as “objectionable” since I occasionally post things of a prurient nature there. Someone must have saw some male nudity or intimacy and took great offence. Therefore I am considering jumping ship to another blogging service. If/when that happens I’ll leave an appropriate note at my present blog.

    It was good to hear from you again, hope you are well!

  4. I wasn’t deliberately ignoring the substance of your blog which makes some good points.

    Rather, I was ducking the whole issue of trial and evidence by suggesting that sometimes summary justice is (and has been) a better way.

    But I do accept my view is biased and flawed, based as it is on personal experience rather than the abstract but necessary concepts of Rule of Law.

  5. Great to hear from you Josh. If you do move on or split blogs, can you drop me a message via mail as well.

    Someone else made a similar point to yours re terror trials. There is a consideration of transparency, but there is also a consideration of safety as well; how, in our societies we link the two together is the nub.

    There is also an opposite view to yours, that if we are 100% open then we give too much away and create open house for all sorts of other terrors. The question is, do the terrorists tell all, are they transparent? We have to appear to rise above the actions of others and fight our corners, it has to be realistic and it has to be honest. Does it have to given too much information away on a platter?

    Don’t get wrong here Josh, I don’t agree with the renditions and there are a lot of other procedures and behaviours I do not condone. The terrorists, don’t care at all. They focus their energies on the one thing they want at each stage. They don’t dilute their personal resources.

    Regards, the legal points I was considering, although a re-trial is being requested, the reasons for it (apart from being able to hold on to the acccused – even the one found not guilty of all charges- till the legal questions are resolved one way or another)have to differ in some way from the original evidence presented,in that there has to additional or new factors. Or maybe there is something more subtle that will come to light.

  6. I would not like to go into the detail of summary justice present and past – much of it the near past. My guess is that it occurs on a daily basis in war arenas.

    The guys in this trial have been picked up on civvy street, perhaps a bit sooner than was originally intended, for a very public airing of what they were doing. There are many agendas behind this trial apart from the obvious.

    Also, if it’s any comfort, I know what I thought of the characters that caused the tight security, as a frequent traveller during the time of the extra restrictions.

Thanks for visiting me. Please share your thoughts and ideas. Comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s