Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Six weeks wait

I do not support the Bill calling for 42 day detention of suspected terrorists. Not on grounds of human rights or freedom of activity but just because it is wrong to have this as a blanket measure. If the police have good reason to detain someone, I'd be happy with 42 weeks. I fully accept that there will be complicated investigations involving translation of foreign language documents, forensic examination of computers and location identification from mobile telephones. These should be few and far between. The State has some very sophisticated surveillance equipment and one might expect that a firm prima-facie case could be presented based upon facts established and developed from these assets. A similar situation might exist from intercepted telephone and Internet communications
It would be nice to have the situation whereby this evidence may be given by law but; even so, it is possible to have the conversations proven by inquiry. If one intercepts a call discussing a meeting at the place X, be at place X at the designated time and use the cameras and remote microphones. No need to refer to the intercept in any great detail. Treat it as if it were something received from an informer.
Holding onto someone for a period in excess of 42 days just because you can do so is counter-productive. It just introduces another element into a trial and allows defence counsel to add another "injustice" or "element of doubt" into their response to the case. It will also damage community relations, make intelligence gathering more difficult and possibly ruin the lives of innocent people .

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