Here we go again: secret inquests

Civil liberties outraged at plans to revive secret inquests

"Civil liberties groups have expressed their outrage after Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, quietly revived plans to hold inquests into controversial deaths in secret.

Following widespread opposition to proposals to hold sensitive inquests behind closed doors without juries, Mr Straw announced in May he was dropping the measure from the Coroners and Justice Bill.

Campaign group Liberty said however that a similar plan had been quietly added to a Bill reforming coroners' courts in England and Wales, in the shape of a provision allowing for an inquest to be suspended and a secret inquiry held in its place.

Like the controversial secret inquest proposals, the inquiry would be instigated by ministers and could exclude bereaved families, legal representatives and the public from attending, said Liberty.

Liberty's director of policy Isabella Sankey said: ''It beggars belief that this rotten policy has been resurrected. It is thoroughly perverse for a Government that has spent over a decade lecturing the public about victims' rights to attempt to exclude bereaved families from open justice.

''When will New Labour's obsession with secret courts and parallel legal systems end? There is no accountability without transparency.''

Miss Sankey said the provisions in the Bill would also allow a minister to restrict disclosure of documents and withhold parts of the final report of any inquiry. "

A Ministry of Injustice spokeman said "Nothing to see here. Move along now. We know best. Nothing to do with preventing yet more ugly headlines in the run up to a General Election"
Trying to sneak it through when everyone is distracted by the Question Time issue by any chance? A good time ti bury bad news as the saying goes.

Similar threads

Latest Threads