MAGNA CARTA CANCELLED BY ORDER OF BRUSSELS
A slow poison in the body politic
Increased powers for the EU's operational police force, Europol, are one part of a scheme to create a unified system of law enforcement across the EU. The EU has also established a paramilitary gendarmerie. The British government has repeatedly refused in Parliament to guarantee that it will not be deployed here. Like most EU projects, these things work like a slow-acting poison in the body politic and started a long time ago.
Back in April 1999, the European parliament voted to accept a document called “Corpus Juris” (Body of Law), a legal code for the whole of the EU. It provided for a prosecutor with authority to lock people up on mere suspicion without bringing any charge. The document itself says that the aim is “ a fairer and more efficient system of repression”. It also abolishes both Habeas Corpus (compelling the state to produce a remand prisoner in open court) and trial by jury.
This system was opposed both by Labour and Conservatives in Britain. The responsible minister at the time was Kate Hoey, who took a very strong line. Yet Labour and Conservative MEPs both voted for this alien system. The Conservatives eventually admitted that they had “pressed the wrong button”. Labour MEPs never did come clean. I should emphasise that this happened before Roger Helmer was elected as an MEP! I was standing against him for UKIP at the time.
The reason for the strange vote is simple enough. MEPs mostly do not know what they are voting about. They vote on hundreds of items in an hour, long separated from any debate. Unless they have taken a particular interest in a matter, they simply vote to a “shopping list” provided by their parliamentary group. That is the extent of democratic input into the EU law-making process.
The late Phillip Whitehead MEP (Labour), whom I rather liked personally, wrote in the local press that he stood foursquare behind long-established British legal rights, like those in Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, but it didn't stop him voting for Corpus Juris which would abolish most of them over time. That time is now very close.
Two men were recently extradited to Latvia under a European Arrest Warrant which is another building block of the Corpus Juris system. Some EU countries are so corrupt that even the EU Commission has noticed. Yet British courts are compelled to enforce the warrants of these courts as equivalent to our own.
Charged with assaulting a police officer, the men spent three months banged up, were tried and found not guilty. The prosecutor then appealed against the acquittal and they had to face trial again. Roman Law systems do not have a rule against double jeopardy. The chief prosecution witness was too ill to appear this time, so the matter is still hanging over them. Roger Helmer MEP (Conservative) went to Latvia to intercede with the authorities to have the matter dropped but, so far, without success.
The Lisbon treaty provides for the creation of a European Public Prosecutor. For the time being Britain has an opt out but the government can decide to opt in to this inquisitorial system of “investigative detention” at any time and does not need to ask Parliament's permission.
It was a kind gesture of Roger Helmer's to support these unfortunate men, placed in double jeopardy in an alien system but it was just a gesture. The only way to guarantee rights, which have existed in this country for hundreds of years, is for British courts to refuse to execute the warrants of foreign prosecutors unless they produce prima facie evidence. To do that we have to leave the EU. I am sure that Mr. Helmer's party would romp home with a large majority if it promised to do just that.