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How extraordinarily kind of the Court of Appeal!  A judgement amended to satisfy the Government’s concern that a paragraph in the Binyam Mohamed decision contained findings of fact that ought to be removed. All of this done without informing the other parties, and without consulting with the other judges hearing the case.

"There are now effectively two judgments. The one released today is a watered down version of the original judgment – diluted at the request of the government, via its leading counsel, Jonathan Sumption QC. A crucial passage has been removed.

via Appeal judge watered down Binyam Mohamed torture ruling | World news | guardian.co.uk.

This is unbelievable. It is a fundamental principle of the common law that "Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done" (Ex Parte McCarthy). Apparently, this doesn’t apply if you’re the Master of the Rolls in which case you can reserve judgement and amend it to suit the desire of one party to the proceedings without even the need to hear the other side.

All it takes is a stern letter from the Government, and the Master of the Rolls is willing to remove a passage finding that MI5 did not respects human rights and had not renounced ‘coercive interrogation methods’ i.e. torture and cruel,  inhumane and degrading treatment. A finding that it had a culture of deliberately misleading the judges who supervise interrogation practices and the Parliamentary oversight body through a culture of suppression.

All it takes is a letter saying that the sensationalism of this finding will over shadow the rest of the decision to make the Court change their mind. Let’s not even contemplate why this might be considered a sensational finding. A branch of the executive deliberately promoting methods of interrogation that violate the law and concealing this from both Parliament and Judiciary? That is the definition of front page news.

All it takes is a deliberate avoidance of the other interested parties. There should be no need to inform them of a comment like this, right? It’s not a gross dereliction of professional ethics and duty to write to to the judge who has heard a case in which judgement is reserved without copying in the respondents is it? Oh – may be it is. How was Jonathan Sumption QC to know?

This is unbelievable. I’m trying incredibly hard not to be bitter and sarcastic as I write this post but I’m failing all the way. I don’t see how this is anything but a blatant dereliction of duty by one of the most prestigious appellate courts in the world.

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