IS David Blunkett unwisely taking on the judiciary whenever he has the opportunity or are the blunders he appears to be making in doing so a sign that the job of Home Secretary is getting on top of him? Even in periods of calm, running the Home Office is never a sinecure and when the pressures mount, as now, it requires clear thinking, sensitivity and restrain. Mr Blunkett's latest foray into tricky judicial territory came on Thursday when he described Mahomed Badat, who had just been arrested in Gloucester under anti-terrorism laws, as being “part of a wider network” and “a very real threat to the life and liberty of our country”. ITAL/Prima facie/, the Home Secretary's words come close to contempt of court. They represent a conclusive judgement by a senior minister on Mr Badat even before he has been charged with any offence, let alone been put on trial. By a curious coincidence, on the same day that Mr Blunkett made his accusation, his Cabinet colleague Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, was giving a second warning to the media about the dangers of pre-trial publicity in high-profile cases - the alleged rape cases involving Premiership footballers were in his mind. It is now believed that the Attorney General has accepted that he must look into the complaints that Mr Blunkett's remarks about Mr Badat may have broken contempt of court laws and could prejudice any trial that may take place. It must be unprecedented for one Cabinet minister to have to sit in judgement on another. Following his questionable advice on the legality of the Iraq war it will be interesting to see how Lord Goldsmith deals with this perhaps even trickier assignment.


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