Secret inquest plans brought back


Jack StrawPlans to exclude relatives, juries and the press from some inquests – on national security grounds – are being brought back by ministers.

They come in a new bill covering coroners, murder laws, witness protection and sentencing. Just months ago, similar plans were shelved. The government says secret inquests, which many oppose, would prevent intelligence details from leaking out. The bill also proposes abolishing the provocation defence in murder cases.

  • Witness anonymity measures for major gun and knife-crime cases, where witnesses face reprisals unless protected
  • A new sentencing council aimed at more consistency in prison terms in England and Wales, which would help plan the number of cells needed
  • A new scheme to stop criminals making money from their memoirs
  • Clarification of suicide law to ensure that encouraging someone online to kill themselves is a punishable offence
  • Military inquests to be held close to the family rather than the point of repatriation
  • Driving bans to begin after any jail sentence for motoring offences
  • Creating a new post of Chief Coroner for England and Wales

Read full article >

Related & previous reports:

Straw plan for private inquests back on agenda
14th January 2009
Jack Straw, the justice secretary, will today revive his plan to hold inquests that involve aspects of national security in private without a jury when the coroners and justice bill is published.

Secret inquests plans ‘dropped’
14th October 2008
Plans which would have let ministers order inquests to be held in private on security grounds have been dropped from the Counter-Terrorism Bill.
The clause would have allowed ministers to remove juries, relatives and the public, from hearings.

Uproar at plan to hold inquests in secret
12th August 2008
Inquests that are deemed a risk to national security by the Government would be held in secret in future under proposed powers to come before the House of Lords this autumn.

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