Simon Webb Attacks Secret Magistrate Courts

Webb also put up another piece yesterday, which also looks remarkably left-wing. He was attacking the secret magistrates’ courts, which according to him now handle half the country’s court cases. These deal with minor offences like speeding and parking fines. However, they meet in secret, and journalists, the defendant and their defence counsel are not present. The accused simply gets a form through the post asking them how they plead. Webb makes the point that this is against the British tradition of open justice, that not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done. It’s why there are public galleries in courts and their doors were flung open in court cases. These courts date from 2015, and Webb fears that although they only deal with minor cases at the moment, they will expand to include more serious cases later on.

This is interesting. I had no idea these courts existed though I was aware that Cameron had set up a system of secret courts, at which the defendant may not know the identity of his accuser or hear the evidence against him, and from which journalists are also barred, if it was deemed necessary for reasons of national security. I blogged against this, as did many other left-wing bloggers, because it is too much like the travesties of justice described by Franz Kafka in his novels The Trial and The Castle, and which became a terrifying reality in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia. My guess is that Cameron probably set them up in order to clear a backlog of minor, civil offences that had been building up. But I do agree with Webb that there is a danger that this system will expand and become a serious threat to British justice. After all, the food banks were originally set up to cater to illegal immigrants after Blair passed legislation stating they were no longer eligible for benefit. These have now massively expanded due to the Tories’ attack on the welfare state and determination to keep workers’ wages well below the level of inflation at literally starvation level. For all the right’s boasts about defending liberty and democracy, they hate independent, impartial justice and I can easily see this system expanding to cover criminal cases under some pretext or other.


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4 Responses to “Simon Webb Attacks Secret Magistrate Courts”

  1. gillyflowerblog Says:

    There is no such thing as an illegal immigrant. One is either an asylum seeker, or in the country illegally. The later never got any benefits anyway as they would not be on record

  2. Brian Burden Says:

    A very useful warning. Does one have the option of a public hearing? I wd have expected lawyers to be protesting.

  3. trev Says:

    I doubt it’s true that they handle half of the country’s court cases or that they deal with minor offences. So far as I am aware they are there to deal quickly and effectively with the very worst court cases. You may be wondering what cases could possibly be any worse (serious) than the ones we do hear about, well I know of one such case that had reporting restrictions applied and although common knowledge among those connected to the case was kept from the general public apart from one very small and curious initial article in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus that stated that two naked unconscious bodies with burn marks had been found dumped in a lay by on Bingley Road by a builder going to work at 6.3pam, one of the people was thought to be a woman. Nothing more was ever reported on the case. I heard through the grapevine (and through my own GP – it’s a long story) that two gang members had been caught and given indeterminate life sentences behind closed doors after participating in the torture of the two men using an Oxy-Acetyline torch, following the gang members release from prison at the end if a 10 years sentence that they had just served. One of the victims may have subsequently died. Their genitals were burnt off. The daughter of one former gang member was known to me personally at the time. Secret Courts are reserved for such cases as far as I know.

  4. gillyflowerblog Says:

    There have also been “behind closed doors” cases where people have had their elec/gas meters changed to prepay. These are just rubber stamped

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