Probably only of interest to

and one of my other friends but putting it up on LJ since I think it is interesting in general.

A friend said:

> You’re still trying to apply ‘reasonable suspicion’ to a law specifically drafted to get around the fact that English law has traditionally required
> reasonable suspicion before a person can be arrested,  stopped and searched etc.

Do you have any specific commentary in mind when you say that was why it was specifically drafted?

> No court would be asked to consider whether there was reasonable suspicion where a person was stopped under S44 Terrorism Act, as there
> is no requirement in law for such suspicion to justify the stop.

Having re-read the bill again I’m extremely disturbed to see that, in fact, you may be right. The legal right for arbitrary stop and search appears to be in section 45, subsection 1, part 2 which (concatenated – my emphasis) says:

he power conferred by an authorisation under section 44(1) or (2)— may be exercised whether or not the constable has grounds for suspecting the presence of articles of that kind.”

That does indeed seem to say that while a edict under the act is in place the police can in fact stop and search anyone they want with no just cause.

David, is that a reasonable interpretation?

>> it’s only a very short step from that to saying that they can arrest anyone at any time
> Frankly, I’m not sure it’s ‘a short step’. Leaving aside your tendency to conflate ‘stop’ and ‘arrest’ (which aren’t quite the same thing),  I’m
> inclined to think we’re already there. It’s hard to prove what the person writing the authorisation was thinking,

I’m sure that is always the case.

>  if they have the sense to avoid saying the wrong things in the relevant paper trail.  The Terrorism Act is  some of the worst law this country
> has seen in decades in terms of human rights. Another traditional principle that they’ve driven a coach and horses through is that English law
> has historically preferred to work on the basis that a failure to prevent a crime is not in itself a crime.

I’m not sure I follow this – perhaps an example would help. 🙂

> Now, though, although you can’t be prosecuted for failing to prevent me murdering Andy tomorrow if I tell you I’m going to, they can lock you up
> for not telling them that I’m going to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

Also in the Terrorism Act?

Thanks for this – it’s very interesting.