30 Jul 2008

Screw the British

In a fine example, political pressure has screwed the legal system good and proper.

The British Law Lords have ruled that the Serious Fraud Office was correct (in law) in bowing to pressure  from the Saudis over a £43 Billion deal. The director of the SFO Robert Wardle "was confronted by an ugly and obviously unwelcome threat".

The Law Lords did not rule whether the decision was right or wrong, only that it was correct in law.

One of them, Baroness Hale said she would have liked to have been able to uphold the court's decision that the SFO's director acted unlawfully because it was "extremely distasteful that an independent public official should feel himself obliged to give way to threats of any sort".

But he (Lord Bingham) asserted that whether his decision was right or wrong was not at issue, rather whether it was one he was lawfully entitled to make. The House of Lords decided that it was.

"It is a sad day for the rule of law when a senior prosecutor bows to threats from a foreign government and our most senior judges will do nothing to stop it," said Justice's director of human rights policy Eric Metcalfe.

So the political might of the oil-rich Saudis prevailed, and the corruption continues.