Spot the Difference
Ostensibly, David raises an interesting comparison with his opening:
Yesterday, the day on which the former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton effectively killed the Government's 42-day detention plan, was also the 43rd day that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito spent in custody in Italy in connection with the Meredith Kercher case.
I mention Knox and Sollecito, neither of whom have been charged, because their situation casts some light on the way the debate on detention has been conducted in Britain. Readers may remember that Liberty recently released a report "carried out by lawyers and academics in 15 countries" claiming that Britain had, in effect, the most draconian detention laws in the Western world. Using the hyperbole routinely deployed on these occasions, Liberty claimed that its report "exploded self-serving assertions about extended detention in inquisitorial Europe", and made "embarrassing reading for all of us in the land that gave Magna Carta to the world".
I can't, BTW, find anything, not even in David's own paper, The Times, to corroborate the claim that neither have been charged. David is, I'm sure, a diligent researcher so he'd have read the Liberty report, especially the section on Liberty's site labeled "Notes to editors":
2.Recent reports of the Meredith Kercher investigation in Italy confused pre-charge detention with detention pending trial. The four day maximum is protected by article 13(2) of the Italian constitution and the Italian criminal code (articles 386-390)
3.There can be no doubt about the international nature of the threat from Al-Qaida-inspired terrorism. Like the United Kingdom, Spain, the US and Turkey have all suffered from terrorist attacks in recent years. Police in these countries must also face the same investigative challenges cited in support of longer pre-charge detention - the greater complexity of terror plots, their international dimension and the need to intervene and arrest suspects earlier. Despite this, the legal limit imposed on the pre-charge detention of terror suspects in these countries is much shorter than in the UK.
The important difference seems to be that Knox and Sollecito are going to end up in court. (Can anyone see the police dropping the case now?) Suspects held under the proposed 42-day legislation would have no such rights. Big difference, surely?
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