Thursday, October 30, 2008

The creeping fascisim of the state continues

I couldn't believe this story when I hear it on the radio on my drive home:

Civil injunctions cannot be used against gangs in Birmingham, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

It upheld a judge's decision not to grant the city council such injunctions against alleged gang members.

The orders, which restricted movements and banned individuals from seeing each other, were used by the council instead of antisocial behaviour orders (Asbos).

The ruling means that the civil injunctions will not now be taken up across England and Wales.
I don't claim to have studied law or had the time to read a great deal about how our laws have been developed. What I have learnt, though, is that we have a legal system that has been set up to protect the citizen from the State. The reason is that the State has all the powers it needs to pursue a case against citizens and is therefore open to abusing those powers.

To counter this we have developed habeas corpus and that in law the State has to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt. We also have Juries and and independent judiciary, another area under attack.

Civil injunctions and civil claims require a lower burden of proof, normally on the balance of probability. The reason we can accept lower burdens of proof is that these cases are normally used in disputes between citizens and the courts are effectively sorting an argument between too people. It is assumed that they both have access to the same levels of legal support and can't abuse due process.

It is therefore worrying that the State even thought it could turn to Civil Injunctions, but at least they were honest about it, I suppose:
BBC Correspondent Phil Mackie said the injunctions were used because county courts did not require the same level of proof as magistrates courts, which issue Asbos.
But that's not the end of it, oh no, no chance to show her fascist and populist credentials slips past our Home Secretary without being picked up and rammed through a compliant Parliament:

Mrs Smith said she was "disappointed" by the ruling.

She added: "I will be reviewing the decision and considering how we can support this sort of action that has been so successful in countering gangs, including changing the law if necessary.

"It is important to note that injunctions are just one of a range of tools and powers available to local areas."

It would be nice to think that there are some Labour MP's with balls who would stand up to this latest attack on our historical protection from the State, but even if they do the Tories are likely to support this populist move.

Long long live independent judges and lets hope the Lords back up the courts if this does end up being appealed or Labour try to put a new law on the statute books.

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