Last month I wrote about how this blog’s favourite MSP bar none, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Robert Brown, had been pretty much the sole defender of civil liberties when the emergency legislation giving the right to a solicitor was passed by Holyrood, a move which, in passing quadrupled the amount of time a person can be held without charge from 6 to 24 hours.
Robert isn’t giving up on this issue. He’s not happy at the remit given by the Scottish Government to Lord Carloway’s review of law and practice in Scotland. Apparently Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill didn’t consult the Scottish Human Rights Commission before setting the remit.
When you’re in charge of something as sensitive and important as the criminal justice system, you surely want to have no doubt that fairness and human rights are at the very heart of every decision you make. Or at least, that’s how I see it.
This is what Robert had to say:
“It is disappointing that the Cabinet Secretary seems to have failed to consult the Scottish Human Rights Commission before setting the remit for Lord Carloway’s review of law and practice in Scotland.
“Consequently there is still no focus on the considerable training needs of solicitors and police, which takes two years in England to develop properly.
“The appropriateness of the way the emergency legislation was rushed through by the Government has been called into question by a wide variety of legal and human rights groups.
“This after all is one of the most significant civil liberties issues in Scotland since the establishment of the Parliament.
“I hope that this review will in some way to clear up the mess that the emergency legislation left in its wake, but the Scottish Government’s approach is still far too cavalier.”