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.
Transformation: A Student-Led Mass Political Movement
Monday 25 - 19:28by William John Cox
Algerian Feminists react to ’Hijab Day’ in Paris 2016
Monday 25 - 01:13
THE ILLUSION OF RIGHTS
Friday 22 - 18:45by JOHN CHUCKMAN
US is real superpredator pretending to be victim
Monday 18 - 22:23by Daniel Patrick Welch
Gaiacomm International has accidently created a fusion reaction/ignition.
Sunday 17 - 17:01by William Morgan
Clinton’s Campaign Continues to Highlight Horrible Hillary
Saturday 9 - 00:57by Daniel Patrick Welch
Armoiries racistes à Harvard : Plaidoyer pour la réflexion socio-historique
Thursday 7 - 18:56by Samuel Beaudoin Guzzo
THANK YOU MISSISSIPPI FOR YOUR HATE
Wednesday 6 - 02:02by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
The PKK in Iraq: “We are ready to fight ISIS everywhere in the world”
Monday 4 - 14:33by InfoAut
Clinton Crashes and Burns, Sanders Will Win (But hold off on the applause)
Friday 1 - 22:33by Daniel Patrick Welch
Confirming Supreme Court Justices and Electing Presidents
Friday 1 - 20:59by William John Cox
PCBS: "As Palestinians Mark Land Day, Israeli Illegally Controls More Than 85% O
Wednesday 30 - 14:06by Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics - PCBS
RUNAWAY TRAIN America’s election and its inability to alter the nation’s deadly
Friday 25 - 16:49by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Vicky Nuland, Neocon Hypocrite: Syria Pullout won’t ’let Russia off the hook’
Friday 18 - 15:59by Daniel Patrick Welch
Time to End the Clintons’ Unearned Pass on Race
Wednesday 16 - 23:22by Daniel Patrick Welch
TRUMP’S ANTI IMMIGRANT RACISM NOT CONFINED TO US
Wednesday 16 - 16:37by Daniel Patrick Welch
Between bids and sponsoring, Samsung’s peculiar business practices
Friday 11 - 14:49by Hannah Howard
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 - 09:24
Slovaquie : Manifestation contre l’entrée au Parlement d’un parti néo-nazi
Tuesday 8 - 22:09by Samuel Beaudoin Guzzo
WHAT IS REALLY AT STAKE IN THE ODDEST AMERICAN ELECTION SEASON OF A LIFETIME
Tuesday 8 - 11:53by JOHN CHUCKMAN
I FINALLY HAVE PROOF, A CRAFT AND AN ALIEN…
Tuesday 8 - 04:55by gaiacomm
The Scandal of Voter Suppression in America
Tuesday 1 - 22:39by William John Cox
Are you bothering to vote? If so, read this about the Killmeister
Tuesday 1 - 14:14by Daniel Patrick Welch
HILLARY’S SECRET LETTER AND THE WHOLE MATTER OF ENDLESS WAR AND THE ALMOST COMPL
Monday 29 - 21:49by JOHN CHUCKMAN
WHY BLACK LIVES MATTER MATTERS
Sunday 21 - 06:19by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Statecraft vs. Politics As Usual
Friday 19 - 19:58by William John Cox
Umm, Apple iPhone security, yeah
Wednesday 17 - 13:19by Timbre Wolf
Gaiacomm International develops handheld EMP gun
Sunday 7 - 15:47by William Morgan
The American Republic Manifestum VS The Koran
Tuesday 2 - 14:57by William Morgan
Sanders Will Win Because Empire Can Live With It
Friday 22 - 16:04by Daniel Patrick Welch
President Obama supports The American Republic Manifestum
Tuesday 19 - 16:42by William Morgan
Tahrir square in Europe
Thursday 14 - 19:31
New year, old struggles: the strike for the collective agreement in the logistic
Thursday 14 - 12:24by Clash City Workers
March against drillings in the Mediterranean Sea in Licata
Monday 11 - 14:43by InfoAut
War Fraud: The Great Lies Behind Imperial Warfare in the 21st Century
Monday 11 - 11:12by Mark Taliano
South Africa : “We need a new beginning”
Sunday 10 - 17:21by md
Oligarchic Paternalism: Why your vote won’t bring Peace in the Middle East
Sunday 10 - 00:11by Daniel Patrick Welch
Thursday 7 - 21:49by JOHN CHUCKMAN
AMERICA’S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS A HOAX
Sunday 3 - 06:38by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Merry Fucking Christmas: there is no holiday from racist police state USA
Tuesday 29 - 00:17by Daniel Patrick Welch