by Ray Fleming

DISAGREEMENT between government and the judiciary in Britain continues. On Monday the High Court supported the view of Lady Justice Hallett, the Coroner in charge of the inquest on deaths in the 2005 London bombings, that she had no power to hold closed sessions. The Home Office on behalf of the MI5 security service had asked for some evidence to be heard in private. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, took the case to the High Court but was not given its support. She now has to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court or accept that MI5 may have to account in open court for its operations before the 2005 attacks took place. The inquest, now in its seventh week, is charged with examining whether the Security Service or the police could have taken action to prevent the attacks. This setback for the government follows last week's decision by the Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke to pay compensation to terrorist suspects released from Guantanamo Bay who alleged that the British secret service knew about and had co-operated with interrogations that involved their torture. Mr Clarke had to choose between allowing evidence to heard in open court and closing down the legal action by paying compensation. He took the latter course.

During Labour's time in office judges' decisions on human rights and involving open justice tended to go against the government and the trend seems to be continuing.


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