27 September 2012
Secret Courts will make a mockery of the British Justice System
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has spoken against government plans to set up secret courts which she says will undermine British justice.
Speaking at the Westminster launch of CagePrisoners ‘No More Secrets’ campaign, Ms Bennett said the Justice and Security Bill will destroy the idea of open justice in the UK.
She said: ‘With this one Bill, the government is seeking to tear up centuries of legal protections and important principles.
‘Closed justice, not open to the scrutiny of media and public, is no justice at all. And these closed courts undermine the principle that no one is above the law, by putting the government above the law.’
The Justice and Security Bill was drawn up by the then Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke MP.
The Bill includes plans to bar the public, press, and in some cases even claimants, defendants and their legal representatives, from court sessions in which ‘secret’ evidence is discussed.
But The Green Party opposes the scheme, which threatens public scrutiny of justice in the UK.
Ms Bennett said: ‘Put this together with the indefensible privatisation of the coercive power of the state in our police forces, prisons and military, and it is clear this government represents a serious threat to our hard fought for civil liberties and freedoms.
‘There's absolutely no evidence there is any need to drastically curtail our liberties in this way. Ministers have not been able to point to a single past case unable to proceed because too much relevant material was protected.
‘And in the light of the Leveson inquiry, and the number of cases up and down the country in which senior police behaviour has been seriously questioned, it is more important than ever that evidence is open to public scrutiny.’
For more information contact Natalie Bennett on 07967 417859, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors