At first sight, this story is incomprehensible.
Secret terror courts considered
Special courts sitting in secret for pre-trial hearings in terror cases are being considered by the Home Office.
Forget the justice of the process–secret hearings with Home Office-selected advocates and judges–for a moment. What would the value of this be? If an actual trial must still take place under normal conditions, what’s wrong with normal committal proceedings, which rarely require much in the way of presentation of evidence?
There must be a prosecutorial advantage to be had, now or later, or the Home Office would not consider it. Is this a staging post to something more? A piece of impossible kite-flying for some bait-and-switch? Or is it a way to evade other procedural safeguards?
(A speculative example of the last: The Special Judge says there’s a case to answer. The accused is remanded in custody. A trial will take place when the prosecution is ready. Reporting restrictions are in place, to avoid prejudicing a future trial. But further evidence-gathering takes a very long time. In effect one has indeterminate imprisonment with a radically lowered burden of proof. There may be no opportunity to test the evidence. But there can be no public disquiet. No one will care, because next to no one will know–and those who do will be bound to secrecy.)