Secret Coroners Courts

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by OldRedCap, Oct 30, 2009.

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  1. I am sure there is more to this story than an attempt to hide information from the public domain. The majority of people understand that there can be sensitive information that should be kept del rosa, but I am not sure that an entire inquest could or should be kept secret. Naturally I would not assume that this would lead to all inquests being behind closed doors, especially when public bodies actions are being checked/examined
  2. A coroner can impose that certain parts of a hearing are held "in camera" I believe the abbreviation is. When this option is utilised, the restricted personnel within the court room, usually the Coroner, the representing counsel (Barristers) and the jury are bound by the court to not mention what has been said whilst the "in camera" procedure has been imposed. Up to the coroner when he does it but if it is something to protect the public interest then it can be done.

    Edited due to legal advice :wink:
  3. Minnesota Protocol .... sounds like he is trying to make breaking it routine now then (after getting away with it re Dr David Kelly)
  4. ORC already been corrected in that regard. Two very important issues, one not at all connected with this thread.
  5. You mean they all get drunk on real ale?
  6. Not me, I was sober as a judge :wink:
  7. ORC

    Existing Coroners Law yields power to ministers. Section 13 Coroners Act 1988 gives Attorney General power to deny inquest verdict appeal access to High Court without giving reasons (he never gives reasons) under his power of absilute secret public interest custodianship.

    I think it is Section 15 that gives Home Secretary authority to authorize or refuse the holding of an inquest into an unidentified body (such as one destroyed by fire)

    A constable, charged with HM Coroners Officer duties, is not functus officio (like the Coroner) after the inquest. The constable is still subject of his oath of office as an independent ministerial officer of the Crown. His only master is the law itself. Hence if a constable, at any time even after retirement from the force, discovers new evidence then he is bound to seek to discharge any duty in Open Court.

    This creates a situation in which the Crown (the authority for the independent admin of justice) ends up being overruled and undermined by parliament. The constable denied, by govt, access to the Judge to discharge a duty charged under the Crown.

    Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights does not cover Inquests which are therefore not appealable in Europe unless you are arguing non judicial execution.

    The Minnesota Protocol (to which UK is signatory) guarantees independent judicial scrutiny of any death in which govt involvement is suspected.

    Which IMO made the inquiry, into Doctor David Kelly's death, unlawful because it was Govt who determined the inquiry terms of reference.

    You may also have noticed that Straw listed the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819 for repeal .... at a time people like me were pressing for it to be enforced against gun range users, pseudo cadet groups and pseudo combat training organisations.

    Creeping Code Napoleon. NewLabour.
  8. Agreed about Article 6 of the ECHR (right to a fair trial), but I suggest that Article 2 (right to life) can have a bearing on the conduct of inquests, by virtue of the implied duty of investigation.
  9. Stalinist policy gears up into overdrive.

    There are already SECRET courts dealing with, and stealing from, those unable to take care of themselves - The Court of Protection.

    What has this awful government done to our centuries old concept of fair, free and open courts?

    Straw is an exceptionally dangerous man who lurks in the shadows at the rear of government, churning out these chilling measures virtually unchallenged.

    Win or lose the forthcoming election - assuming Mandelson will allow us to have one - Mr. Cameron MUST guarantee to remove these SECRET COURTS from our lives - no 'ifs' no 'buts' - dismantled and destroyed permanently.
  10. Yes the argument for that was made first in a submission which was inadmissible. It was argued that the right to life (Article 2) could only exist when there is concurrent certainty of independent and open sudden death inverstigation. The constable is an independent ministerial offiocer of the Crown and Queens Peace. The ultimate common law right in Queens Peace is that of life. hence the Attorney General can have no secret public interest custodianship power (which could undermine the Queen as sole fount of justice) to deny a constable access to the High Court.

    The Attorney General had rejected/avoided this argument as he does to this day.

    Another Arftcile 6 aspect is right of trial for a duty which should also avail access to the High Court for a Constable wishing to re-open an inquest.

    You may gather that you have just quoted to me the argument I initiated with an appeal to ECHR ? That Inquest law is a necessary part of our Article 2 commitment.

    I believe a Judge included this more recently in a ruling about legal aid for an inquest appeal ?
  11. Oh yes the cases I quoted in addition to the duty I was given as a Pc in 1972 were the 1989 IRA bombing of Deal RM Barracks by IRA and the child death at Guys in 1995 (A backup generator at the hospital failed cutting power to post op ICU)

    In both these cases the deaths occurred against a situation of IRA related advanced warning, negligent response by police failing to protect life, which was not weighed at Inquest.

    In the 1972 case (which involves Special Branch) my position to Attorney General is that if there is a secret public interest he should not deny access to the Court but should make his public interest case to the Judge (I ask that at appeal a High Court Judge sits as new Coroner)

    Although not my duty there were three child deaths in a three month period at the Beeches Care Home Ixworth Suffolk from Dec 1971. In 1972 there was a call for full public inquiry into the running of that home. This was refused by minister Sir Keith Joseph who was also refusing Barbara Castle MP call for full public inquiry into care standards in Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire Homes. As far as I know the refusal of inquiry for the deaths of children at Ixworth (In Hackney Social Services care) was because the minister did not want to give Barbara Castle leverage to get an inquiry into the activity of Cheshire and Ryder.

    Only two weeks ago I received a phone call from Lord Clinton Davis who was in 1972 the Hackney MP calling for inquiry into the Beeches. He has no recall now other than his concerns were not about child deaths at that care home for three months up to April 1972. They were for SIX YEARS. How many child deaths ? Only two received inquest. To obtain a copy of Coroners certs it took Bury Coroner to check other Coroners records for me and supply copies. Because the Coroner who sits is where death occurs and the local Coroner does not necessarily gain an overview of what is occurring on his patch.

    Christs College Cambridge (relaying scuttlebutt info from a Bishop !) suggest that I should look at a London charity (Katherine Low Settlement) as that might represent common ground between the private Ixworth care home and volunteers in the Sue Ryder care home.

    For all anyone knows there coud have been an Haut de lar Garenne in Suffolk

    The Article 2 rights to life aspect (and the Minnesota Protocol and Common Law) suggest to me that secrecy of inquest (whether legislated for or not) would still be unlawful.
  12. So what, may I ask, was your justification for that then?

    WTF have "Gun range users" got to do with illegal drilling and why were you "pressing for it to be enforced"?

    Sorry mate, you just lost my vote there...

    I am no admirer of Straw, but this looks to me like unwarrented application of obsolete legislation by you, not NuLab! Are you from the Gun Control Network, as this is one of their tactics?
  13. @ Knocknee: If you have not seen it already, you might be interested in the ongoing case of Secretary of State for Defence v R and HM Assistant Deputy Coroner for Oxfordshire and Equality and Human Rights Commission. The MoD is appealing a Court of Appeal judgement to the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, but as I understand it they no longer dispute the principle that Article 2 can apply to the death of a British soldier in a base in Iraq. See also cases like al-Skeini. I'm aware of NI-related cases such as Jordan.