The case for control orders crumbles
There is a powerful argument in Lord Macdonald’s long-awaited review of anti-terror legislation on the shortcomings of control orders.
“The present control order regime acts as an impediment to prosecution. It places those suspected of involvement in terrorist activity squarely in an evidence limbo: current control powers can relocate suspects and place them under curfews for up to 16 hours a day, they can forbid suspects from meeting and speaking with other named individuals, from travelling to particular places, and from using telephones and the internet. In other words, controls may be imposed that precisely prevent those very activities that are apt to result in the discovery of evidence fit for prosecution, conviction and imprisonment. In this sense, the current control order regime turns our conventional approach to the detection and prosecution of crime upon its head. We may safely assume that if the Operation Overt (airline) plotters had, in the earliest stages of their conspiracy, been placed on control orders and subjected to the full gamut of conditions available under the present legislation, they would be living amongst us still, instead of sitting for very long years in the jail cells where they belong.”
Defenders of control orders like to present themselves as hard headed. But, as Lord Macdonald notes, they might have prevented individuals such as this from being convicted.
Lord Macdonald also confirms that he has seen all the evidence:
“I have been given full access to documents, submissions and briefings, including to all the classified material relating to those subject to control orders. I have also examined all the relevant threat assessments. I was not refused access to any documents that I wished to see and no meetings that I wished to convene were declined.”
Let that, therefore, be an end to the notion that only those who have not seen the raw intelligence are opposed to control orders.Tagged in: control orders, lord macdonald, terrorism
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