Thursday 12 November 2009

The eternal trial

Lobbydog was chatting with the shadow attorney general Edward Garnier earlier today about the case of two British men who were put on trial in Latvia.

The men had been arrested by an officer who claimed he'd been punched and kicked by the pair, who were in Riga on a stag do.

But when it came to court CCTV footage showed no such attack, plus it turned out the officer had had no bruising and was also trying to get £40,000 in damages.

Having spent £13,000 on legal fees the pair were acquitted and returned to the UK to get ready for their own weddings - only to find out Latvian prosecution lawyers are appealing the court’s decision and now they have to go back and do the whole thing over again.

In UK courts prosecutions can not appeal acquittals – a rule brought in to stop the state victimising people and to bring some finality to legal decisions.

You can have a retrial if new evidence comes up, and a defendant can appeal a conviction, but not the other way round.

Garnier said that, given the British legal system doesn't allow appeals against acquittals, there is no way that a few years ago a court here would have allowed them to be sent back once they had already been cleared.

Of course, with the European Arrest Warrant and a streamlined extradition system the UK courts have less power to stop it.

Furthermore, Garnier warned that things are only going to get worse now that the Lisbon Treaty has been brought in.


Dean MacKinnon-Thomson said...

Eurosceptic scaremongering lobbydog.

Why not emphasise or even talk about the numerous achievements of our ever greater Union? Your partisan agenda does yopu no credit at all.

Lisbon will streamline, and make more efficient the whole process of institutional opportations within the EU. It will bring in the much-anticipated constitution that will end the need for endless [and damaging] treaty sessions [that self-amendment clause is going to be great].

subrosa said...

Oh Dean, you sound like an EU employee reading the script.

I haven't commented earlier this week LD because I didn't want to deflate your euphoria. Do hope the party went well.

Dean has just confirmed my fears about incidents like this.

If another European country doesn't like your manner then it's tough.

We don't need MPs anymore. They're really redundant.

Tarquin said...

Dean - weak

What partisan people like you fail to understand is the issue of sovereignty, which is to me the heart of the EU problem - take this case, is it right that these guys can effectively tried twice despite their own domestic legal system

This is not British law, it's EU law - if people want that fine, but it's pretty clear they don't, and they don't want the EU to become a nation - you can't forge a nation, and a legal system, without the people's consent

Dean MacKinnon-Thomson said...

Tarquin, Subrosa;

This seems like an impass. The disagreement seems to me to lay with the concept of the relevance of the nation-state.

I recall reading Rodriguez-Pose works on this, he wrote "the nation-state has become a mere conveyor belt for global capitalism". I agree, and thus the way to protect individuals, peoples, even member-states is to move into a supranational block.

In 50 years China, India, Brazil, USA will be representing/controlling considerable economic blocks. Europe has to grow up and accept that we can be French, British, English, Scottish, German etc and still European. There is no errotion of sovereignty, withdrawal is an option.

Why do countries not withdraw? Because a supranational EU entity is in their interests.

Alan Douglas said...

Dean R-T, the ultimate sanction against overbearing government is being able to either dismiss them by vote, which is NOT possible in the EU, or to move.

Once your glorious world government is achieved, how, exactly, do you propose we vote with our feet - head for Dignitas ?

Alan Douglas

Matt Wardman said...


You missed the biggie - Transfer of Trials across borders. Would it apply in this case?


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