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Archive for April 18th, 2009

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, barrister, a former government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal blog. We’re discussing the extraordinary case of the arrest of Damien Green MP in the light of the DPP’s decision yesterday not to prosecute him or the home office official who was also arrested. The newspapers state that Green was told by police at the time of his arrest that he could be facing life imprisonment if convicted.
Is Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, on the ropes?

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Links to Carl’s blog posts, the DPP statement and the Home Affairs Committee report may be found on Insite Law magazine under the ‘Listen to podcast’ link below.

Listen to the podcast

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podcast version for iTunes

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Dear Reader,

I write to you this week from a rather curious building on the south bank of The Thames, home to our spooks;  the Secret Intelligence Service or MI6 as it is better known.  If you are thinking about applying, MI6 is one of the most efficient of our national institutions and is the only employer in the country which knows you are applying before you do in fact apply  – that is, after Monday 6th April,  if you have made a telephone call or sent an email to anyone and casually mention M16 in the email or call.  Ian Parker-Joseph, leader of The Libertarian Party UK, has a novel way of signing his emails to ensure that MI6 and other organs of state know what he is up to at all times.

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The big story of the week (but there are so many) has been the decision of Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, not to prosecute Damian Green MP or the Home Office official who was arrested in the leaks fiasco.  The newspapers state that Green was told by police at the time of his arrest that he could be facing life imprisonment if convicted. The Home Office was most exercised at the time – Jacqui Smith is reported to have had ‘steam coming out of her ears’ – about these leaks and, it would appear now, may have over egged the pudding by exaggerating the importance of the material leaked.  At the time it was categorised as information relating to National Security. The  DPP, Keir Starmer QC,  took a rather different view.

The DPP, Keir Starmer QC, has refused to prosecute and said ‘his decision was based on the fact that the leaked documents “were not in many respects highly confidential”

I am doing a podcast with Carl Gardner, former government lawyer now turned blogger and freelance writer.  Carl  has written three execllent posts on this: Damian Green – Jacqui on the rackDamian Green – the key issueDamian Green / Chris Galley: Keith Vaz protects Jacqui Smith. You may also like to have a look at The DPP’s decision and The Home Affairs Committee report

Well the farce continues with the revelation in The Times this morning…. that the Police used the key words “Shami” and “Chakrabarti” to search Damian Green’s emails, even though she was nothing to do with the Police inquiry.

“Ms Chakrabarti said she had never been approached by the police as part of their inquiry and was alarmed to learn that her name had been used as a key search word. “I think this raises very serious questions about just how politicised, even McCarthyite, this operation was,” she said.” The Times

Jacqui Smith, in  my opinion (stated on the premise that I still have the right to voice an opinion in our ‘increasingly repressed’ country) has been a poor performer as Home Secretary.  She was ridiculed by a Police Federation speaker at a national Police Conference, she has struggled to cope with the job according to numerous press reports, she is in some difficulty in relation to her expenses, and she may well, now, be guilty of misusing her office or…as Carl Gardner puts it… “Jacqui Smith is under suspicion of having used the police as a political tool; of having allowed her own anger and frustration at the embarrassment the leaks caused her to cloud her judgment, so that she authorised the involvement of police for a wholly wrong purpose – to stop that embarrassment.”

She should resign.  It is, however, highly unlikely that she will do so. It is worth noting that The Home Secretary is also responsible for The Police who have been demonstrating to the people of our country and the world that they are capable of mindless violence against our own people (The G20 officer involved in the Ian Tomlinson death is now suspended and being investigated under caution for manslaughter) and complete idiocy.

Two particularly moronic representatives of our police force have probably misused their powers under the controversial terror legislation by ordering the deletion of pictures of a bus stop taken by two perfectly respectable Austrian tourists. Even the most stupid of police officer or PCSO should be aware of Google Street View ? .. this terror legislation and taking of photographs of buildings and police is getting out of hand.

One good thing that has come out of G20 rioting is the likelihood, following the spectacular publicity given to policing techniques and behaviour at G20, that they will be reluctant to use the controversial s.76 power to stop people taking photographs of police.

Anyway… here is a picture of the bus station photographed by the Austrian Tourists: Vauxhall… coincidentally!

Right… on that note… I’m off to take photographs of the outside of the M16 building and see if any police officer tries to stop me.  I am assuming not, because most policemen and women are not robocop baton wielding  nutters or fools.  In any event, I am taking a print of the picture of the MI6 building (left)  on the front of the MI6 website and will explain to any officer who does approach me that I  am seeing if I can take a picture as arty as the official one.

I’d better take the name of my wine merchant just in case I am taken into custody.  I understand that it is still possible to make one telephone call from a Police Station.  I shall order some wine to be delivered to the police station (for me)  if I am detained.

Best regards, as always

Charon

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UPDATE

Lawcast 128: Damian Green MP – the decision of the DPP not to prosecute and the position of The Home Secretary

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, barrister, a former government lawyer and author of the Head of legal blog. We’re discussing the extraordinary case of the arrest of Damien Green MP in the light of the DPP’s decision yesterday not to prosecute him or the home office official who was also arrested. The newspapers state that Green was told by police at the time of his arrest that he could be facing life imprisonment if convicted.
Is Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, on the ropes?  Links to Carl’s blog posts, the DPP statement and the Home Affairs Committee report may be found on Insite Law magazine under the ‘Listen to podcast’ link below.

Listen to the podcast

Read Full Post »

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