The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Friday, June 08, 2007

What would you do?

The Guantanamo/rendition argument has been well rehearsed. The Guardian runs a story today that will surprise none of us.
Take the (unlikely) case that one of the CIA's aircraft has to make an emergency landing at a small airfield that happens to be in your jurisdiction. Take the (even more unlikely) case that the people who are taken from the by-now burning aeroplane find themselves in the hands of the local police. Some of them appear to be prisoners, and are in chains. By chance, a determined local solicitor is in the police station and he immediately takes legal steps to bring them before magistrates with a view to their release. We won't get into the law here, nor into probabilities (which, in reality, are likely to involve vans with blacked-out windows). So imagine that these men, who have never appeared before a proper court and against whom no charges have ever been laid appeal to you for their freedom. "I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the man must be discharged" is prayed in aid as an ancient judgment, as is that which declares the air of England to a substance than no slave may breathe.
What, as a member of the judiciary, would you do?