Britain to fight ruling on police searches
2010 01 26

From: CNN.com

The British government said Wednesday it will appeal a European court ruling that certain police stop-and-search powers are a breach of human rights.


Britain argues stop-and-search powers allowed under the Terrorism Act 2000
are important in the 'fight against terrorism'.

Under Section 44 of Britain's Terrorism Act 2000, uniformed officers may stop any pedestrian or vehicle and search them, regardless of whether they have reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

Human rights groups complain the rules are subject to abuse, but the British government calls the powers an important tool in the fight against terrorism.

British Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he was disappointed in Tuesday's ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, because the appeals had previously gone through the British courts and been rejected.

"We are considering the judgment and will seek to appeal," Johnson said in a statement. "Pending the outcome of this appeal, the police will continue to have these powers available to them."

London's Metropolitan Police said that because of sensitivity and concerns about use of the stop-and-search powers, they are only being used at "pre-identified significant locations" like landmarks, tourist sites, and crowded places, or where certain police operations are taking place.

The case began in September 2003, when police stopped and searched two British nationals who were on their way to a London demonstration.
Kevin Gillan was on his bicycle and wearing a backpack when police searched him. He was allowed to go after about 20 minutes, the court said.

Pennie Quinton is a journalist who was on her way to cover the demonstration when police stopped and searched her, the court said. Police ordered her to stop filming even though she showed her press cards; the official record of her search said she was stopped for about five minutes, though she says she thought it was closer to half an hour.
Gillan and Quinton complained that the police use of the stop-and-search powers under Section 44 breached the European Convention on Human Rights -- specifically their right to liberty and security, right to respect for private and family life, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly and association.

The case reached the Law Lords, Britain's highest court, but the Law Lords dismissed the appeal in March 2006 because they said they weren't convinced the police search disrespected the plaintiffs' private lives.
Even if the search did not respect the plaintiffs' private lives, the Law Lords found, the procedure was in accordance with the law and was proportionate to counterterrorism efforts.

Gillan and Quinton then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which heard the case in May and issued its ruling Tuesday.

"It's fantastic news after a long struggle," Gillan said, in a statement issued by the human rights group Liberty, which took the case to court. "I look to the government for a strong response."

Said Quinton, in another statement issued by Liberty, "There has to be a balance between private life and security. The court has shown that Section 44 is an invasion of people's right to liberty and privacy."

The court found that the "coercive powers" of the anti-terrorism legislation amounted to a clear interference with the right to respect for private life. This interference was compounded by the public nature of the search, because it brings an element of humiliation and embarrassment, the court found.

Legal safeguards were not adequate enough to curb the wide discretion police had to use the powers, the court found. It said that wide discretion was a cause for concern.

"The officer's decision to stop and search an individual was one based exclusively on the 'hunch' or 'professional intuition,'" the court wrote in its decision. "Not only was it unnecessary for him to demonstrate the existence of any reasonable suspicion; he was not required even subjectively to suspect anything about the person stopped and searched."

Because officers have no obligation to show a reasonable suspicion, it is "almost impossible to prove that the power had been improperly exercised," the court said.

As a result, the court said, the stop-and-search powers were not in accordance with the law.

Liberty called on the British government to ensure that Section 44 is only applied when authorities believe it is necessary to prevent terrorism. It should be applied to specific areas and for not longer than 24 hours, Liberty said, which would prevent authorities from applying the measures on a rolling basis and over large parts of a city.

Liberty also called on the government to publish notice that authorization for Section 44 has been given.

Article from: CNN.com



Related Articles
Britian's Terrorism Act 2000 - Wikipedia
"ID cards: Should Britain stop protesting and embrace the inevitable?" (Orwellian Dystopia here we come!)
Britain raises terror threat level to "severe"
Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years - and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?
Britain's 'least wanted' blacklist published
Minority Report comes to Britain: The CCTV that spots crimes BEFORE they happen
Italian student tells of arrest while filming for fun (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

Bad Memories Turned to Happy Ones in Mice Brains
2014 09 01
Memories are often associated with emotions, and these feelings can change through new experiences and over time. Now, using light, scientists have been able to manipulate mice brain cells and turn the animals’ fearful memories into happy ones, according to a new study. Memories are encoded in groups of neurons that are activated together or in specific patterns, but it is ...
CIA MKULTRA: they intended to use drugs for “everything”
2014 09 01
Drugs to transform individuals…and even, by implication, society. Drug research going far beyond the usual brief descriptions of MKULTRA. The intention is there, in the record. A CIA document was included in the transcript of the 1977 US Senate Hearings on MKULTRA, the CIA’s mind-control program. The document is found in Appendix C, starting on page 166. It’s simply labeled “Draft,” dated 5 May ...
Harmful Compound Found in Many BPA-Free Bottles
2014 09 01
A chemical found in many products labeled “BPA free” may produce many of the same health problems as the original chemical, including hyperactivity and cardiac arrhythmia, according to a pair of studies presented recently at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago. “BPS, termed the safe alternative to BPA, may be equally as ...
Can Germany turn its back on USA? No, it can’t
2014 09 01
After the division of Germany into two German states, the western part of the country was raped by allies-occupants, while the Soviets got the eastern part. The Soviet Union did not end its existence, when Soviet leaders blessed the Germans for unification and promised to withdraw troops from the territory of the GDR. The troops were withdrawn practically nowhere, as ...
Left and their big fat multi-cultural lie
2014 08 30
Picture the scene; a taxi is pulled over by an officer from South Yorkshire Police who finds a half-naked 12-year-old in the back of the cab so drunk or drugged that she can hardly stand. When interviewed, the taxi driver is found to have pornographic pictures of the girl on his phone. The officer hands back the phone and – no ...
More News »