moron the Serious Crimes Bill
I missed a Telegraph article on Super ASBOs. Like other newspapers it talks about them being targetted at “gangsters” and “Mr Bigs”, and quotes the Home Office “suggesting” that the orders “might” be issued against up to 30 “suspected criminals” a year.
Of course, there are no such limitations in the Bill.
Now, don’t worry:
Vernon Coaker, the Home Office minister,
- Under-secretary of State for policing, security and community safety, reporting to Liam Byrne, who in turn reports to John Reid -
yesterday insisted the new orders would comply with human rights provisions and would be welcomed by law enforcement agencies.
Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?
The Home Office bases this believe [sic] on the fact that orders are designed to prevent crime, one of the grounds on which breaches of other human rights is permissible.
Well, it depends.
There were six people suspected of terrorism who were issued with control orders. Note that none of them was charged with any offence prior to being issued with an order.
Lord Carlile, the Government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, was quoted by the courts as saying,
The obligations include an eighteen hour curfew, limitation of visitors and meetings to those persons approved by the Home Office, submission to searches, no cellular communications or internet. And a geographical restriction on travel. They fall not very far short of house arrest, and certainly inhibit normal life considerably.
The six challenged the orders, which were quashed by the courts because the obligations amounted to a “deprivation of liberty” contrary to Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In other words, you have to be careful about the extent to which you breach human rights when you are preventing crime.
The Home Office insisted yesterday that judges would take a “proportionate” and common sense approach when considering orders.
The orders, by the way, can only be applied for by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Director of Revenue and Customs Prosecutions, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.
However, the sweeping wording of the Bill makes clear judges can make an order if someone is suspected of having been involved in crime, or likely to be involved in the future, and even if the individual does not actually know or intend to act criminally.