“Safer, stronger and better off” says the prime minister, to which one might retort “how can we possibly be safer if, as might potentially happen to any one of us, we can be arrested without the least shred of evidence that we have indeed committed an offence.”
Not many people know that this is the current state of affairs and, for reasons that are not hard to discern, neither the PM nor his sycophantic ministers want us to know! In spite of the best efforts of those of us who are totally opposed to any dilution or abandonment of the defences which, heretofore, have ensured that individual British subjects are protected against state-inspired coercion, in November 2014 the government led by David Cameron took steps to reconfirm Britain’s support for the iniquitous European Arrest Warrant (EAW).
“Thanks, but no thanks”
Cameron did not need to do this – no treaty obligations would have been broken if he had simply said “thanks, but no thanks” – but he did so in spite of substantial opposition from his own backbenchers and while all the time hypocritically saying he wanted to see powers repatriated back to the UK!
The power that he gratuitously and wantonly gave away to the totalitarian European Union is the power of the state to deprive its citizens of their liberty – in other words, the ultimate power of statehood – and he gave it away to a group of nations whose criminal justice systems, with the honourable exceptions of Ireland and Malta, are totally alien to our own and whose shameful record of incarcerating entirely innocent people speaks for itself.
The learned opinion of Jonathan Fisher QC (see www.tfa.net under Publications/Research) is that the EAW negates the law of habeas corpus – the law of habeas corpus once having been described on Radio 4, by no lesser person than Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as “such an incredible part of freedom”.
The simple reason why habeas corpus was “such an incredible part of freedom” was because it prevented the powers-that-be from arresting a suspect unless, within 24 hours, they could produce evidence, in open court, that the accused had in fact committed an offence and were thus able to charge him or her accordingly.
Missing the “equivalence”
During the parliamentary passage of the Extradition Bill, which in 2003 put the EAW onto the statute book , government justified its actions by claiming that there was an “equivalence” between UK law and that extant in other EU member states – an equivalence that, frankly, didn’t exist then and doesn’t exist now!
All the defences and protections against false accusation, arbitrary arrest and wrongful imprisonment, that have historically been enjoyed by defendants in the UK and other common law countries, such as trial by jury; the presumption of innocence; the right to silence; the inadmissibility of hearsay evidence; the withholding of the defendant’s previous convictions; press reporting restrictions and (until recently) protection against double jeopardy; not to mention the aforesaid law of habeas corpus, are virtually unknown in continental Europe.
The EU’s concept of a just and equitable criminal justice system is their embryonic corpus juris which mirrors the criminal justice systems extant on the continent, modelled upon the “Code Napoléon” with its roots in the Inquisition and certainly not, as with our own system, with its roots in Magna Carta.
Ironically, while in 1215 the barons were prevailing upon King John to append the royal seal to Magna Carta, the pope in Rome was at the very same time imposing the Holy Inquisition. To this day the continental systems of criminal justice remain “inquisitorial”, with the onus upon defendants to prove their innocence, which is, of course, totally contrary to the “adversarial” systems of common law countries where the onus is firmly upon the prosecution to establish guilt.
Introducing the EPP
Another little known feature of the EU’s contingency planning is the establishment of the office of European Public Prosecutor (EPP) who will be superior to all national public prosecutors and who will, of course, do the bidding of his EU political masters.
Work on the establishment of the office of EPP is scheduled in the current EU work programme but is highly unlikely to manifest itself before 23 June for fear of frightening the horses (ie, the British electorate who are, as yet, blissfully ignorant of the repressive legal system which will almost certainly be imposed upon us should we be foolish enough to vote to remain within the benighted EU).
Already in being is the European Gendarmerie Force (see www.eurogendfor.eu) – an EU organisation with its training facilities at Vicenza in Italy. What possible use could be envisaged for such an armed para-military force other than to ensure that the EU’s writ is enforced throughout its territories? In this connection let us not forget that James Brokenshire MP, a Conservative Home Office Minister in the last parliament, in answer to a parliamentary question by Dominic Raab MP, stated that HMG would be prepared to invite “special intervention forces” (aka the EGF) onto British soil if the need arose. The problem with that is that once here the EGF, being answerable only to Brussels, would leave only if ordered by Brussels to do so. In other words we would effectively be under EU occupation.
The price of freedom
The only way to be sure that the horrors I have outlined above – “the elephant in the room” that our prime minister and others of his persuasion do not wish us to see – do not deprive us and generations as yet unborn of our individual freedom, is to vote to leave. As someone once famously said, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance” and never was vigilance more necessary than at the present time!
Freedom Association Hon. President and former Ludlow MP, 1987-2001.