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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Daily Mail in contempt of court

Daily Mail in contempt of court

Affront to justice

By refusing even to consider Britain’s appeal against the granting of votes to prisoners, the European Court of Human Rights this week reaffirmed its contempt for democracy and the right of sovereign Parliaments to decide their own laws.

But what is more disturbing is that the court refuses to reveal the identities of the five 'judges’ involved — saying they operate on a 'purely internal basis’.

Such secrecy is an affront to accountable, open justice. The case for Mr Cameron overturning the prisoner votes judgment grows stronger by the day.

Comment: It is an affront to justice that the Daily Mail attacks the highest court in Europe for reaching a decision which goes against the UK. The truth is that the judges did consider the submissions made by the UK, but in their wisdom they decided that the submissions lacked the necessary merit to allow the UK yet another appeal against the Court decisions to grant prisoners the human right to vote. You would think from reading the Daily Mail article that the UK had been denied the opportunity to appeal. But the truth is that the UK has already had one appeal in Hirst v UK (No2) which the UK lost. The UK is showing its contempt for the Court by ignoring the ruling. The Court rightly points out that the UK is not a proper democracy whilst a large group of the electorate are denied the franchise. The UK sacrificed its sovereignty to some extent when the UK joined the Council of Europe. Part of this deal is that the UK's laws must be Convention compatible.

It would appear that the Daily Mail is so upset that it cannot discover the identities of the judges so it can engage in a witch hunt against them.

The UK was aware of the process before lodging the appeal submissions, that two of the judges would be nominated at random. If the UK had succeeded in its appeal, would the Daily Mail have been screaming it is unfair because of the secrecy? Given that the UK has exhausted all avenues of appeal it is difficult to see how it can be claimed that "The case for Mr Cameron overturning the prisoner votes judgment grows stronger by the day". It is a pity that the Daily Mail article ends on that point because I would have liked an explanation precisely how the Daily Mail reached such a stupid conclusion!


More tripe from the Daily Mail...

Consider the issue of votes for prisoners. Europe is threatening to fine Britain because our Parliament dared to reject the European Court of Human Rights' ruling to give criminals the vote.

At this point — facing one of our most explosive confrontations with Strasbourg — a Conservative PM who told the Court where to get off and then ignores its ruling would have strong public support.

But Cameron cannot, it seems, respond in such a robust manner because the Euro-fanatic Nick Clegg won't let him.

I have not heard of anything from Europe about threatening to impose a fine upon the UK. Nor has Parliament rejected the Court ruling. It does not have the power to do this. All that happened was that some backbench MPs banged their drums in the Commons and the Court ignored this childish display.Once again the Daily Mail fails to produce any evidence that the public would support a leader who deprived them of the right of individual petition to the Court to challenge abuse of their human rights. Cameron cannot respond because of international law obligations upon the UK and not because of Nick Clegg.

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