Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Falconer attacks "bonkers" police decisions

LONDON (Reuters) - The Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer defended the Human Rights Act on Wednesday, saying it was not to blame for some "bonkers" decisions by police forces such as not publishing photos of escaped prisoners.
He told BBC radio the 1998 act -- which the Conservatives have pledged to repeal -- did not hamper Britain's efforts to combat terrorism.
He is expected to say in a speech later on Wednesday that in fact human rights and the rule of law are the most effective weapons against terror.
Derbyshire police were criticised last month for not issuing photos of two escaped prisoners, both convicted killers, because it would infringe their human rights.
The Lord Chancellor said the act did not stop such pictures being published.
"Don't seek resort in the Human Rights Act if it is obviously a bonkers decision," he said. "You can't blame the Human Rights Act when it didn't prevent it."
Lord Falconer said the European Convention on Human Rights, now embodied in UK law through the act, upheld long-standing British freedoms.
He denied claims by Abu Bakr, a Birmingham man released without charge last week after being arrested in an anti-terrorism raid, that Britain was "a police state for Muslims."
"It is not," said Falconer, "We are a free country, our freedoms are embodied in that convention.
"That convention wrote down the freedoms we had before and we can point to that and make it clear. And it's incredibly important that we can.
"We shouldn't be ashamed of it, we shouldn't be embarrassed by it -- it doesn't prevent us fighting terrorism."
He said the government had been prepared to restrict people's freedoms where it was in the wider interest, such as extending the period of time that terrorism suspects can be held without charge.
The Conservatives say the government's attempts to tackle crime and terrorism have been undermined by the act.
"Some public bodies are now so frightened of being sued under the Human Rights Act that they try to protect themselves by making decisions that are often absurd and occasionally dangerous," Conservative leader David Cameron said in a speech last year.
Falconer is a bloody liar!

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