xford Law Prof alarmed at "police’s Mossad-style execution" of innocent ’suspect’
by : John Gardner
Tuesday July 26, 2005 - 19:03
John Gardner is the Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, and occasional Visiting Professor at Yale Law School.
Police state: Like many of my fellow-Londoners I am less alarmed by suicide bombers than I am by the police’s Mossad-style execution of a ’suspect’ (who turned out to be a completely innocent passer-by) on Friday 22 July. This is not because we are at greater risk of death at the hands of the police than at the hands of the bombers. (Both risks are pretty tiny, but of the two the risk posed by the police is clearly smaller). Rather, it is because, all else being equal, it is worse to be killed by one’s friends than by one’s enemies, and worse to be killed by people in authority than by people not in authority.
Here are some other important things to remember in thinking about the police actions of 22 July:
(1) There is no general legal duty to assist the police or to obey police instructions. Rice v Connolly  2 QB 414.
(2) There are special police powers to arrest and search. But there is no special police licence to injure or kill. If they injure or kill, the police need to rely on the same law as the rest of us.
(3) The law allows those who use force in prevention of crime to use only necessary and proportionate force. Jack Straw and Sir Ian Blair say that officers are under great pressure. But this is no excuse. In law, as in morality, being under extra pressure gives us no extra latitude for error in judging how much force is proportionate or necessary. R v Clegg  1 A.C. 482.
(4) Arguably, the police should be held to higher standards of calm under pressure than the rest of us. Certainly not lower!
(5) The necessity and proportionality of the police use of force is to be judged on the facts as they believed them to be: R v Williams 78 Cr. App R 276. This does create latitude for factual error. In my view it creates too much latitude. The test should be reasonable belief. The police may be prejudiced like the rest of us, and may treat the fact that someone is dark-skinned as one reason to believe that he is a suicide bomber. But in court this reason should not count.
(6) It is no defence in law that the killing was authorised by a superior officer. A superior officer who authorises an unlawful killing is an accomplice. R v Clegg  1 A.C. 482.
(7) The fact that those involved were police officers is irrelevant to the question of whether to prosecute them. It is a basic requirement of the Rule of Law that, when suspected of crimes, officials are subject to the same policies and procedures as the rest of us.
(8) Some people say: Blame the terrorists, not the police. But blame is not a zero-sum game. The fact that one is responding to faulty actions doesn’t mean one is incapable of being at fault oneself. We may blame Tony Blair for helping to create the conditions in which bombing appeals to people, without subtracting any blame from the bombers. We may also blame the bombers for creating the conditions in which the police act under pressure, without subtracting blame from the police if they overreact. Everyone is responsible for their own faulty actions, never mind the contribution of others. This is the moral position as well as the position in criminal law.
Proposed new anti-terrorist offences: The one that has been variously labelled as ’condoning’ or ’glorifying’ or ’indirectly inciting’ terrorism gives cause for concern. It is already an offence to incite another person to commit an act of terrorism (Terrorism Act 2000 s59). In which respects, we may wonder, is the scope of this offence to be extended? The word ’indirect’ suggests that they mean to catch those who incite the s59 inciter. But under general doctrines of English criminal law it is already an offence to incite the s59 inciter. So one suspects some other extension of the existing offence is being cooked up. Is the plan to criminalise the mere defence or endorsement of a terrorist act? If so we are in for trouble. Terrorism in English law is defined to cover all modes of political violence, however trifling. Are academics and commentators no longer to be permitted to defend any political violence? Is Ted Honderich’s Violence for Equality, or Peter Singer’s Democracy and Disobedience, to be put on the banned books list? The only thing protecting these books at the moment is that, in the eyes of the law, an argued endorsement is not an incitement. The thought that the government may be thinking of changing this should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who still has a spine (damn few).
Lord Hoffman in A v Home Secretary  2 WLR 87: ’The real threat to the life of the nation ... comes not from terrorism but from laws like these.’ Quite right. Some extra risk of being blown up by fanatics on the way to work is one of the prices we pay for living in a free society. Let’s make sure we keep it that way.
Seattle Police Officers Begin New Anti-Terror Training
... by the same people who taught the London cops how to shoot an innocent Brazilian man 8 times while he was pinned to the ground.
Washington is Insane
Tuesday 18 - 14:33by Paul Craig Roberts
The Free Syrian Cannibal Army Subsidiary
Tuesday 18 - 08:45by Dean Henderson
THE BIZARRO WORLD OF ERIC HOLDER
Tuesday 18 - 04:49by David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
Alert for the second half of 2013 – Global systemic crisis II
Monday 17 - 22:16by GEAB
Sarin gas is as volatile as Washington’s promises
Monday 17 - 14:44
INFORMATION/CLEMENCE SAVELLI - FRENCH SINGER - THEATER ILE ST-LOUIS PARIS
Monday 17 - 13:19by Purple Shadow
"We shall overcome" Joan BAEZ
Monday 17 - 10:57by Protest
Protesters Shake Up North Carolina Legislature With Moral Monday Demonstrations
Monday 17 - 10:52by The Nation
"Your silence will not protect you" - Audre Lorde
Monday 17 - 10:37by Audre Lorde
Our message to North Carolina’s GOP: ’Moral Mondays’ are here to stay
Monday 17 - 10:32by William J Barber
Moral Mondays: A Model Grassroots Movement
Monday 17 - 10:26by Ben Jealous
Vladimir Putin Nemesis of the New World Order
Sunday 16 - 16:22
McDonald’s closing all restaurants in Bolivia as nation rejects fast food
Saturday 15 - 14:26
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Saturday 15 - 13:08by BenAMarine
Marine Base Camp Pendleton Attacked
Friday 14 - 19:35by Bob Nichols, Project Censored Award Winner
Expert Witness - how to stop gas-fired power plants being put near your town
Friday 14 - 10:38by Dr Gideon Polya
Ankara Police Shoot Turkish Protester Ethem Sarısülük in Shock Video [VIDEO]
Monday 10 - 18:30by Gianluca Mezzofiore
America’s Eight Most Unwanted Terrorists
Saturday 8 - 23:59by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Surround the White House 2014 for 3 Days
Friday 7 - 16:19by Surround the White House 2014 for 3 Days
Lacanian Trials: Public Appeal in support to Elisabeth Roudinesco
Thursday 6 - 16:25
1st super-governmental world war begins
Monday 3 - 19:06by By Gordon Duff and Press TV
Russian & Ukrainian Volunteers to Fight McCain’s Al Qaeda Army in Syria
Monday 3 - 18:56
Britamgate: Staging False Flag Attacks in Syria
Monday 3 - 14:44
“Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East
Monday 3 - 13:03by By Israel Shahak
Israel’s Sacred Terrorism
Monday 3 - 12:47by By Livia Rokach
The future of the ME & Afghanistan from the perspective of General McChrystal
Monday 3 - 09:02by Prof Dr Albert A. Stahel
The “Arab Winter” or the end of Western hegemony in the Middle East
Monday 3 - 08:52by Prof Dr Albert A. Stahel
Israel’s a rogue terror state. It’s history is blood-drenched & a global menace
Monday 3 - 00:13by by Stephen Lendman
INVESTIGATE THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
Sunday 2 - 06:55by David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
The Role of Turkey in the US-NATO-Israeli War on Syria
Saturday 1 - 20:45by By Cem Ertür
letter of june to Obama
Saturday 1 - 14:39by kakine
We are All Russians Now
Saturday 1 - 00:41by (author unknown)
“The machiavelian threefold game of the neoconservatives”
Friday 31 - 11:59by by Laurent Guyénot
Tashkent turns to Moscow : Uzbekistan no longer has a choice
Friday 31 - 11:29by by Lev Vershinine
Mass Demo at start of Bradley Manning’s trial at Ft. Meade!
Thursday 30 - 18:09
An Anti-War Blockbuster
Thursday 30 - 18:06by David Swanson
Black Panthers to Golden Dawn: ’Don’t mess with black people’
Thursday 30 - 17:47
Why a One World Government makes perfect sense - The Concept of a Pan-World
Sunday 26 - 12:38
That’s why Samir Geagea has betrayed the Christians
Sunday 26 - 12:04by By Pierre Khalaf
Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System
Sunday 26 - 02:34by BY JERRY ROBINSON