Mrs Gentle and others versus the Prime Minister

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Iolis, Apr 3, 2008.

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  1. The House of Lords will deliver their judgement in R (on the application of Gentle (FC) and another (FC)) (Appellants) v The Prime
    Minister and others (Respondents)
    on Wed 9 April 2008 at 0945 hrs. The judgement should appear in full, on the Internet, a short time later.

    Those who have been following with case since the judgement in the Court of Appeal will be aware of it's constitutional significance.
     
  2. Forgive me for being late on the scene Iolis, but would it be possible for you to provide a precis on the constitutional significance whilst I attempt to catch up on the detail of the case?

    cheers

    Boots
     
  3. Cutting to the chase...

    CONCLUSION

    We have every sympathy for the applicants. The deaths of their sons must be unbearable. However, the deaths will be investigated in detail. The only question which will not be investigated is the invasion question, namely whether the government took reasonable steps to be satisfied that the invasion of Iraq was lawful under the principles of public international law. We have reached the conclusion that the United Kingdom is not obliged to set up an independent inquiry into that question under article 2 of the Convention. Such an inquiry would inevitably involve, not only questions of international law, but also questions of policy, which are essentially matters for the executive and not the courts. The Convention does not contemplate that an inquiry set up pursuant to article 2 will consider either questions of international law or questions of policy. In all these circumstances we must dismiss the applications
     
  4. It is this ground that has constitutional significance. Previously, acts of state under the prerogative were not justiciable in the English Courts. The House of Lords will now have to decide whether and to what extent, Parliament, having incorporated article 2 into domestic law under section 1(1) Human Rights Act 1998 may now, under sections 2 and 3 of the 1998 Act allows the courts to restrain the state from acting contrary to the rule of law.

    The CCSU case held that the courts had no jurisdiction to intervene in executive decisions involving issues of national security. Whether or not that remains good law after next Wednesday when nine Lords of Appeal in Ordinary have finished with it remains to be seen.
     
  5. Their Lordships have upheld the judgement of the Court of Appeal and have dismissed the appeal by Rose Gentle and Beverley Clarke.

    In fact, it would not be unfair to suggest that their lordships made short work of it!

    R (on the application of Gentle (FC) and another (FC)) (Appellants) v The Prime Minister and others (Respondents)[2008] UKHL 20.

    According to the Murdoch Times, both ladies are considering taking the case to Europe.

    A great pity their Lordships did not take the opportunity grasping the nettle on this one. Perhaps their Lordships considered that the constitutional issues were too big for them and would prefer to allow European jurisprudence to determine the issue.

    Their lawyer, none other than Mr Phillip Shiner and it is now down to him to pursue the case before the European Court of Human Rights.

    My condolences to Rose and Beverley and to all the other bereved parents who simply want a straight answer to a reasonable question. I do hope they eventually get one.
     
  6. Seems as if this moraly degenerate Gumint has got the Judges in their slimy pocket, as well as all the feckless scroungers who vote for them, Christ! I never thought I was capable of such HATERED of a government, but in this ones case, I hate them joyously and curse them, one and all.

    Thompson.....Paraquat and Bitter Lemon please.......Uuurrrg!
     
  7. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    There are always problems when Governments cover things up, or give the appearance that something is being covered up.

    I think bereaved families are entitled to an explanation of what happened and why. Timely inquests, for example.

    I think we are all entitled to believe that where things have gone wrong lessons are learned so that future mistakes are avoided, and if there are guilty parties they are brought to justice.

    I do have concerns about campaigns like those being discussed here.

    I cannot begin to understand the pain of a bereaved parent and I can only guess at how I would feel if a relative of mine became a casualty, but I do wonder if they are doing themselves, or the rest of us any favours.

    In this case I really wonder how it will help if they find proof what they already believe.

    Clearly no outcome could make them happy - but I wonder could any outcome help to ease the pain? Or does the campaigning put off their own coming to terms with their bereavement.

    Might a victory for this campaign be somewhat pyric. some families who believe that their loved one died in a noble cause may feel robbed of that.

    We have all watched Mohamed Al Fayed this week, and its quite clear that his grief is sincere but it is unfortunate for him (and us) that he has had lawyers and yes men around him willing to indulge and multiply his fantasies. It has allowed him to put off healthy coming to terms with his grief.
     
  8. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    There are always problems when Governments cover things up, or give the appearance that something is being covered up.

    I think bereaved families are entitled to an explanation of what happened and why. Timely inquests, for example.

    I think we are all entitled to believe that where things have gone wrong lessons are learned so that future mistakes are avoided, and if there are guilty parties they are brought to justice.

    I do have concerns about campaigns like those being discussed here.

    I cannot begin to understand the pain of a bereaved parent and I can only guess at how I would feel if a relative of mine became a casualty, but I do wonder if they are doing themselves, or the rest of us any favours.

    In this case I really wonder how it will help if they find proof what they already believe.

    Clearly no outcome could make them happy - but I wonder could any outcome help to ease the pain? Or does the campaigning put off their own coming to terms with their bereavement.

    Might a victory for this campaign be somewhat pyrrhic. some families who believe that their loved one died in a noble cause may feel robbed of that.

    We have all watched Mohamed Al Fayed this week, and its quite clear that his grief is sincere but it is unfortunate for him (and us) that he has had lawyers and yes men around him willing to indulge and multiply his fantasies. It has allowed him to put off healthy coming to terms with his grief.
     
  9. A necessary step on the road to a European judgement?
     
  10. The state is happy to justify repressive laws on the basis that it's 'first duty is to protect the individual citizen'. While I have no argument with that premise, there must exist a degree of reciprocity. If an individual dies at the hand of the state, then the individual who employs the state to defend his interest has an absolute right to the truth of how the state failed to live up to the duty it claims the right over.

    What we have instead, is the Inquiries Act which subverted the ability of an inquiry to reach the truth. Then it threw out the Coroners Bill which would have reformed the coroners courts and instead, undermined the coroner by sneaking in provisions in the current Terrorism Bill to further erode the ability to expose the level and extent of any failure on the part of the state to discharge a duty of care.

    It is not just Mr Fayed, or Mrs Gentle et al. It is much broader than that. what is under threat is a deliberate policy of the government to ensure that no matter what form an inquiry may take, that the truth will never see the light of day and without it, no government can be held to account for any death for which it is responsible.

    This government is systematically dismanteling, piece by piece, the checks and balances which have evolved to keep it within the rule of law and I would have thought that the House of Lords would have shown a little more judicial creativity 'spine'
     
  11. There are some general observations about the issue of the legality of Iraq etc...

    1. Iraq was a one-off. Every rule in the book was broken or stretched to breaking point, from the dodgy dossiers to the dodgy resolution to the fiddled inquiries. There is no way ever that this government, or another government, would be able to do this again. Take Iran, for example. The US appetite for destruction seems to have waned, given the surge requirements. If it had not, and if we were looking at Iraq mk 2 with GWB once more at the helm, I believe there would be unprecedented and uncontrollable civil disorder in the UK alongside resignations at all levels in the Armed Forces. This would bring down the government and I'd do my best to pitch in - call it subversion, terrorism or whatever one will but conscience cannot dictate otherwise with what we know now.

    2. Afghanistan is a little different, as it pre-dates Iraq (not the extent of British involvement) and has threadbare NATO and UN topcover. The time will come where the domestic pressure for UK withdrawl is irresistable.

    3. Slowly but surely some senior figures will eventually be held to account for their decisions. This is likely to be through inquests and the European courts, maybe even following the next election. Their cards are marked anyway, for as long as history endures, as the wilful architects of this gross folly.
     
  12. It is doubtful that the ECHR will rule in favour of Rose Gentle and the other families. If ever there were a Public Inquest it should be post UK withdrawal from Iraq. To hold one whilst we are still deployed in that country would undermine the mission and be detrimental to troop morale (in my opinion).
     
  13. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Iolis: I don't disagree with you that this Government is mucking about with the constitution in ways that could lead to it becoming tyrannical. They have set out to destroy many of the institutions of the nation without finding suitable replacements.

    My concern is that its possible bereaved relatives are being used by people to further their aims (laudable or not) and that this may not be healthy for the bereaved relatives.

    The parallel I am drawing with Mr Al Fayed is that he has surrounded himself with yes men who encourage him to go on, because that's what he pays them to do and it's probably not in his own best interest. In the case of the families they are also getting the counsel of people who wish to use them and it may not be in their best interest.

    As an aside for those who wish to try Mr Blair in some sort of court - do they really think that there could ever be a case beyond reasonable doubt?

    You may or may not think he is telling the truth when he says he believed the Int reports about WMD and the threat posed by Iraq to the region and the world but do you really think it could ever be proved beyond reasonable doubt?

    No prosecution will ever take place because no prosecutor will ever be stupid enough to take it to court, whatever we think.

    The court of history is another matter.
     
  14. I agree. Large organs of state and, indeed, large corporations do not listen to reason. They do not listen to argument, or even reasoned argument - they respond to pressure and (leaving aside Mr Fayhed for a moment) 'little' people often have no voice and certainly no equality of arms in fighting corporations or the state itself. In many respects the state displays an absolute contempt of ordinary people if it can gain no political capital out of them.

    Legal aid in civil cases is all but extinguished for Mr and Mrs 'ordinary', Trade Unions may, sometimes assist them but in contentious cases, we often find that Trade Union Officials, employed by the same body being lititigated against, withdraw their support on spurious grounds.

    I think you are correct in your assessment that people are often 'used' in the manner you describe. However, it involves a 'trade off', since the weakest point of any department of state or private sector corporation which relies on public support is to attack the soft underbelly of it's public relations.

    If you can mobilised public support behind a campaign that draws public attention in such a manner, a compromise agreement or settlement is much more likely than it would be if an individual with an extremely good case is simply brushed aside because he or she cannot access the legal system or is fighting a cause that is not particularly popular or would not resonate with the general public.

    In relation to Mr Fayhed, he, despite what anyone may think of him is a grieving father and although he has the financial means to access the law and has many friends in positions of power who do have agenda's of their own, he does not enjoy widespread public support or sympathy. He knows it and so does the government.

    I do take your point on board and you are right to raise it but I do feel that sometimes, when an individual has nothing but a good cause, then he or she will have to subsume part of his or her interest as the means by which they might rasonably pursue their own fight to achieve justice and often that means raising their profile, using the media and going for the jugular by a direct assault on the PR of body in question.