A Victory for Common Law, Common Sense, and Common Decency
For common law, LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL:
The principles of the common law, standing alone, in my opinion compel the exclusion of third-party torture evidence as unreliable, unfair, offensive to ordinary standards of humanity and decency and incompatible with the principles which should animate a tribunal seeking to administer justice.
For common sense, LORD HOPE OF CRAIGHEAD:
There are ample grounds for suspecting that the use of torture on detainees suspected of involvement in international terrorism is widespread in countries with whom the security services of the United Kingdom are in contact.
For common decency, LORD NICHOLLS OF BIRKENHEAD:
Torture is not acceptable. No civilised society condones its use. Unhappily, condemnatory words are not always matched by conduct.
That is an understatement, Lord Nicholls. Also weighing in on the side of common decency is the Conservative Party of Britain:
Commenting on the Law Lords' ruling that evidence which may have been obtained by foreign states is inadmissible, Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve said:"This judgement appears to be a completely correct restatement of a law that has existed for hundreds of years.
"We always knew that evidence obtained under torture was unable to be used in court. The question was whether such evidence was admissible in a Special Immigration Appeals Commission case. The Law Lords ruling today echoes our own view that it is not."
For those not familiar with the ways of the Mother of Parliaments, the party who is out of power names openly the MP's who will be in the Cabinet if the party leader becomes Prime Minister. This is called the "Shadow Cabinet".
And, weighing in on the side of common sense is the Liberal Party oriented newspaper, The Independent:
First, the practice of open-ended detention without trial - otherwise known as incarceration - runs counter to historic standards of natural justice. Second, some evidence used to justify their imprisonment is thought to have been obtained from the intelligence services in Algeria, Egypt and Jordan or from American agents in camps such as Guantanamo Bay, the US base in Cuba.
Britain has it's problems, and is well on it's way to a gentler version of George Orwell's 1984 in matters such as surveillance cameras on every urban street corner, watched continuously by police. But it still has the British, a large number of politicians with ethical principles, and a press with backbone and news sense, capable of coherent thinking.
Except for the surveillance cameras, I wish we did too.