First, our liberal judges, who aren’t tough enough and don’t lock up enough criminals for long enough- even though we incarcerate more of our citizens for longer that any other European state.
Second, anything to do with Europe, even if, like the European Convention on Human Rights, it’s nothing to do with their real hate icon- the European Union.
And finally, The Human Rights Act and lawyers who deal with human rights. This allows them to bash Cherie Blair.
The decision of Mr Justice Sullivan allowing nine Afghans, who fled from Taliban Afghanistan six years ago, to remain in the United Kingdom, hit all three buttons at once.
It is often forgotten that the Stansted Nine were acquitted of all criminal charges arising out of the “hijack” of an Ariana Boeing 727 from Kabul in February 2000.
The history of the incident and subsequent legal proceedings, have been conveniently overlooked.
The nine were arrested at the peaceful conclusion of the “siege” at Stansted Airport in February 2000. There were all remanded into custody and remained there until their convictions were quashed as unsafe by the Court of Appeal in May 2003.
There were two trials. The first, in January 2001, collapsed when the jury were unable to reach verdicts.
They were all found guilty after the second trial in December 2001 and sentenced to substantial terms of imprisonment.
Brothers Mohammed Safi, 35, and university lecturer Ali Safi, 37 who were found to have masterminded the plan were jailed for five years.
Six of their accomplices were sentenced to 30 months each, and the youngest, 18 at the time, was given 27 months.
By the time they were released, six had completed their sentences and the others had only a few months to serve.
The media tell us that the quashing of their conviction was based on a legal technicality. But that technicality was important. The judge at the second trial failed to correctly tell the jury about the test they had to apply when examining the defence of duress.
The Court of Appeal had the option to order a re-trial. The hysteria whipped up by the right wing press made a re-trial impossible.
Back to Mr Justice Sullivan.
His decision was not based on the Human Rights Act.
He was hearing an application by the Stansted Nine arising from a decision of the immigration appeal panel’s ruling in 2004 that all nine should be given discretionary leave to remain in the U.K. The tribunal having found that their lives would be in danger were they to be returned to Afghanistan. During the hearing, the decision of Blunkett to order their deportation tribunal was described as “mind boggling”.
The Home Office failed to appeal the ruling or enforce it. They simply allowed the nine to remain in the UK with a status that prevented them from doing anything to improve their lives. They could neither work nor study. They were no doubt the classic asylum scroungers so beloved of the tabloids.
It was this “abuse of power” that Mr Justice Sullivan found so reprehensible. It was an issue that Blair in yesterday’s tabloid rant-
“We can't have a situation in which people who hijack a plane we are not able to deport back to their country. It is not an abuse of justice for us to order their deportation. It is an abuse of common sense, frankly, to be in a position where we can't do this."