Saturday, November 29, 2008

Baby P: For legal reasons we can't know what the legal reasons are

There have been two developments in the case of Baby P - or Peter, to give him the dignity he was denied in life. Both involve excessive secrecy.

Lynne Featherstone has now read the Serious Case Review. You may recall that Ed Balls was at first unwilling to release it even to directly interested MPs and tried to hide behind the Information Commissioner.

Having read the report, Lynne writes:

What I can say is that having read the document I am even more of the opinion that it would be in the public interest for it to be published - obviously with some parts anonymized and with a tiny - very tiny - bit of editing of any personal information around the family.

Otherwise - how will all those who have an interest or experience or knowledge or expertise be able to judge Ed Balls action when the investigative report comes in on Monday? That report he has said he will publish - but surely the wider audience can only benefit from understanding how resonant the original document is and was.
The second point is that the sentencing of the three people convicted over the child's death has been postponed for at least three months. But we are not told why beyond the usual formulation of "legal reasons".

There may be good reasons for this and for the anonymity of all involved in the case. but unless we are given some clue as to what these reasons are, it is hard to see why the public should have confidence that justice is being done.

1 comment:

HE Elsom said...

It's actually easy enough to guess the reason for the delay of sentence in this case in the light of the anonymity of all involved, for which there is normally only one legal reason. Although it's an extremely important reason in principle, it does look silly and in this case makes the principle look foolish when it isn't.