Socialist Worker

Secret inquests will deny justice

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2177

The Labour government forced through a significant attempt to cover up miscarriages of justice this week. The measure, buried in the Coroners and Justice Bill, passed by a majority of just eight MPs.

It gives the Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, absolute discretion to order a secret inquiry in place of a public inquest.

This would bar bereaved families and the public from attending hearings into controversial deaths.

Labour wants to hold investigations into deaths in private if they use information such as phone tapping and files from the police and the intelligence.

Inquests that might expose the negligence of the government or the police will be hidden from view.

The case of Azelle Rodney, who was shot dead by police as he sat in the back of a car in north London in 2005, has not been the subject of an inquest due to legal challenges on these grounds.

The inquest into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes would not have been held in public under the new law.

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Tue 10 Nov 2009, 18:52 GMT
Issue No. 2177
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