Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Another defeat for secret evidence

Another victory for justice in the UK today, when the High Court ruled that the government could not use secret evidence in bail hearings against alleged terrorists. As with Control Orders, the rule that the accused must be able to view and challenge the "evidence" against them is being reasserted as one of the core requirements of a fair trial. But its not just about the rights of the accused; as Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers pointed out in that ruling, it is also about public confidence in the justice system. And as we saw here in the Zaoui case, when evidence is kept secret, we can have no confidence in the verdict.

Naturally, the UK government is planning to appeal the ruling. Fair trial rights? Just something we have to sacrifice to keep them safe from their enemies...