I am the Law I am Judge Dredd

Labour abolishes the presumption of innocence

I am the Law I am Judge Dredd

Dateline 12 April 1998

In the future there will be no police, courts, no juries, there will only be the Judges . . .

In the comicbook "2000 AD" we never learn Dredd's true name, or see his face, but now we can, and it isn't Sylvester Stallone's, it's Jack Straw's.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the Police are to be given powers to seize suspected drug dealers' houses. Yes, that's right SUSPECTED drug dealers. From pretty soon - by 2000 AD perhaps - it won't be necessary to go through all that tedious business of proving that people have actually committed a crime. Certainly not to those silly 'beyond reasonable doubt' standards. A new law is to be enacted, based on one in the Republic of Ireland that well known bastion of human rights - the state will be able to take CIVIL action against unconvicted citizens and seize their property after demonstrating 'on the balance of evidence' that their wealth has not been gained 'legitimately'.

I would have thought any barrister willing to tear up the Magna Carta would have fallen foul of this test.

Apparently police have been very frustrated at being unable to take people's property away on the mere technicality that the person hasn't been convicted of - or even tried for - an offence.

Incidentally, UK law does not allow the victims of crime - even when the crime has been proved in a criminal court - to seize the assets of a criminal convicted beyond all reasonable doubt.

Copyright Quentin Langley 12 April 1998

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