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SFO hard case. Bad law?

  • August 2nd, 2008

What do you think of the House of Lords decision upholding the UK Serious Fraud Office decision to drop investigations into Al Yamamah and the bribery of influential Saudis, because of warnings that prosecutions would cut Saudi/UK cooperation on terrorism?

Here’s a short summary from the Independent.

The Economist says the case has made very bad law.

I could not predict how our courts would deal with such a conflict between realpolitik and legal idealism.


  • MikeNZ
  • August 2nd, 2008
  • 9:32 pm

I’m not sure what you mean by the term legal idealism.

“I could not predict how our courts would deal with such a conflict between realpolitik and legal idealism.”

Surely if there Has been criminal behaviour then investigation and prosecution should follow?

Surely the corruption of democratic process and standards of integrity should always be pursued for high level graft.

  • MikeNZ
  • August 2nd, 2008
  • 9:38 pm

Melanie Phillips gives another comment on this issue.

If we were talking about our members of parliament I might well think that they would roll over like this but the Supreme court?

I’d like to think we’re made of sterner stuff


The courts must apply the law without fear or favour but the arrest and prosecution discretions commonly take into account practicalities, including costs in relation to benefits.

In this case a cost of not proceeding is of course the appearance or reality of having been scared into pulling back, because of the credible threat of the death of innocents.

I do not envy the decision makers at any level on this one.

  • Mike Mckee
  • August 7th, 2008
  • 5:51 pm

I don’t either but either we are a soveriegn state or we’re not.

It’s time people like the Saudis were brought to book in courts in the open.

It’s a farce to say we have fair and just justice systems when the rich and powerful can get away without being prosecuted.

I still remember the US Millionaire who brought drugs into the country during the Americas Cup and the judge said enjoy our clean air after accepting his $50,000 donation to Oasis in lieu of a conviction.

How many ordinary Kiwis have had that happen to them?

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