Just like in the US, the government keeps trying to pass the same bill, just renaming it. Reintroducing a crap bill that most of the citizenry does not want. Just imagine one of your family members is killed under murky circumstances and only the government is allowed to know the facts, not lawyers or family members. You would never get closure. This bill would give the government and police another horrible tool to exploit. They could kill openly and under this bill everything then becomes a secret. It would make it practically impossible to prosecute. It would probably put a gag order on all those involved, so even if it is a family member who knows what happened s/he can't tell other family without the threat of being fined or put in jail. Investigations do not need to be secret in order to be investigated. Mercs, defense contractors, the government would completely circumvent the justice system, just say the magic word and everything dissapears. This is in the UK, I'm sure someone in the US is thinking about introducing it here.
Outrage as 'secret inquests' plan revived
Civil liberties campaigners today accused the Government of quietly reviving plans to hold investigations into controversial deaths in secret.
After widespread opposition to proposals to hold sensitive inquests behind closed doors without juries, Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, announced in May that he was dropping the measure from the Coroners and Justice Bill.
But the campaign group Liberty said today that a similar plan had been added back into the Bill, which is designed to reform coroners’ courts in England and Wales.
The power is in the shape of a provision allowing for an inquest to be suspended and a secret inquiry held in its place.
Like the controversial secret inquest proposals, the inquiry would be instigated by ministers and could exclude bereaved families, legal representatives and the public from attending, said Liberty.
The group’s director of policy, Isabella Sankey, said: “It beggars belief that this rotten policy has been resurrected. It is thoroughly perverse for a Government that has spent over a decade lecturing the public about victims’ rights to attempt to exclude bereaved families from open justice.
“When will new Labour’s obsession with secret courts and parallel legal systems end? There is no accountability without transparency.”
Ms Sankey said that the provisions in the Bill, now reaching the final stages of its passage through Parliament, would also allow a minister to restrict disclosure of documents and withhold parts of the final report of any inquiry.
But a Ministry of Justice spokesman said that Liberty’s concerns were not justified by the amendments added to the Bill.
“Liberty’s complaints are really about the terms of the Inquiries Act, which has been on the statute book since 2005,” said the spokesman.
“We have tabled some minor amendments in this Bill to give better effect to the policy, but those amendments do not lead to the lack of transparency and accountability that Liberty sets out.”
The Coroners and Justice Bill begins its report stage in the House of Lords today and is expected to complete its passage through Parliament next week.