Today Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling used his conference speech to play politics with human rights and the criminal law. Grayling, who was only appointed Justice Secretary just over a month ago, spoke of raising the bar on the use of reasonable force by homeowners against burglars. He told conference that he would change the law so that householders would have more protection from prosecution – despite the law already allowing for reasonable force to be used in self-defence. In assessing what is reasonable, the householders’ circumstances, state of mind, perception and physical characteristics are taken into account. Grayling also said he would take attacks on the Human Rights Act to the nation’s doorsteps to help secure a Conservative General Election victory.
Today Liberty will seek to intervene in the High Court in proceedings against the Government and DPP for not allowing Babar Ahmad (accused of setting up terrorist fundraising websites and detained for eight years without charge) to be prosecuted in the UK. The authorities will currently neither prosecute nor allow the private prosecution attempted by businessman Karl Watkin. Instead they are facilitating extradition to the US.
Today the discrimination case of Liberty clients Michael Black and John Morgan will be heard in Reading County Court. The couple were refused accommodation at a Berkshire Bed and Breakfast in March 2010.
Today Liberty revealed that the High Court has ordered a fresh inquest into the death of Anne Marie Ellement – a military police officer found hanged in her barracks in Bulford, Wiltshire, three days after her 30th birthday last year. She said she had been ostracised and bullied following her accusation that two comrades had raped her.
Liberty today announced that it is representing two victims of the Winterbourne View care home scandal. A Panorama investigation, which aired in May 2011 under the title Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed, revealed shocking levels of verbal and physical abuse directed daily towards the vulnerable residents of the privately run hospital in Bristol. Footage showed employees punching and slapping patients, while one was goaded to commit suicide. Winterbourne View treated people with learning disabilities and autism.
Tonight Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, participated in the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. The head of the campaign group joined human rights activists and athletes from across the globe in carrying the traditional Olympic flag into the stadium.
Today Liberty made an eleventh-hour plea to Home Secretary Theresa May in a final bid to save mother-of-three and domestic violence victim Eileen Clark from an extradition to the US which would breach her rights to private and family life and liberty under Articles 8 and 5, ECHR.
Today human rights group Liberty released a legal opinion by preeminent QC Karon Monaghan of Matrix Chambers that contradicts reports that faith institutions may be forced to conduct same-sex marriages. Monaghan, who specialises in human rights, equality and discrimination law, states that