Wednesday, July 27, 2005


"...this should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who still has a spine (damn few)"

John Gardner is the Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford,
and occasional Visiting Professor at Yale Law School. He has very impressive biographical notes indeed. His article about the Police State concerns the killing of Mr Jean Charles de Menezes, responsibility for that act and the response of the government to "terrorism". The article should be read in full.

Among the legal and ethical points he makes are:

He writes that the fact that those involved were police officers is irrelevant to the question of whether to prosecute them. It is a basic requirement of the Rule of Law that, when suspected of crimes, officials are subject to the same
policies and procedures as the rest of us.

It is a relief to read an experienced legal and academic voice, pointing out

On the proposed new anti-terrorist offences, Professor Gardner writes:

Professor Gardner asks, "Are academics and commentators no longer to be permitted to defend any political violence? Is Ted Honderich's Violence for Equality, or Peter Singer's Democracy and Disobedience, to be put on the banned books list? The only thing protecting these books at the moment is that, in the eyes of the law, an argued endorsement is not an incitement.

The thought that the government may be thinking of changing this should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who still has a spine (damn few).

Professor Gardner concludes with a quotation from Lord Hoffman

"Quite right," comments Professor Gardner, who himself works in London. "Some extra risk of being blown up by fanatics on the way to work is one of the prices we pay for living in a free society. Let's make sure we keep it that way."

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