Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ever-Closer Union

You commit a crime in one country, then leave. You are tried in absentia, and convicted. But since you're a British citizen, you can't be extradited because British law does not recognise the right of states to try people unless they are present. There's a little thing in English Common Law: the right of the accused to face his accusers and answer charges.

But the EU has helped us with these archaic ideas. Now, despite the fact that in Britain we still don't recognise the validity of trials in absentia, you will be extradited, because the EU says so.

Thanks EU. What ever would we do without you?

EU plans to impose recognition of foreign trials in absentia could lead to miscarriages of justice.

The European Parliament this week adopted a proposal that would allow citizens to be extradited automatically to another EU country after having been convicted by a foreign court in their absence.

Judgements in absentia would be recognised by several countries that do not currently allow this practice in their own judicial system, including Britain. The proposals, which were put forward by seven countries, including the UK, were described as "by their very nature a violation of the fundamental procedural rights of the accused" by the European Criminal Bar Association.

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