Torture Inquiry Conflict of Interest Complaint

I think I’m missing something. I’ve read a couple of pieces online and in the papers about the complaint by Reprieve that Sir Peter Gibson should recuse himself from the torture inquiry on the basis that his former involvement in the oversight of the intelligence services as Intelligence Services Commissioner puts him in a conflicted position. And I’ve read extracts of the Treasury Solicitor’s response that are set out in today’s Guardian. It seems clear enough to me – there’s an appearance of bias. Perhaps it would be clearer if I read the whole letter (I can’t find it reproduced anywhere on the web) but I’m struggling to understand the merit in the government pointing out the lack of a legal duty to satisfy tests of impartiality and independence (although I suspect in fairness they were doing this in response to specific questions posed in Reprieve’s letter). Regardless of what prompted that assertion, it rather begs the question: if the inquiry is neither impartial nor independent what exactly is its purpose?

One thought on “Torture Inquiry Conflict of Interest Complaint

  1. I think this highlights whats wrong quite clearly and the reason that there is so little trust in these and other proceedings. I thank you.

    The appearance of bias alone, even if there is non, should be sufficient! There are plenty of precidents for that.

    But I would severely question that there is lack of a legal duty to satisfy tests of impartiality and independence, do these people not know the point of judicial or quasi judicial proceedings and the required standards in law?

    I sometimes think going back to basics and starting again with a primary school approach would not go amis. “Well children today we are going to learn about the Magna Carta.” I wonder if the treasury solictors have even read it?

    What indeed is the point except to waste money on something that cannot have the public trust, which of course leaves it open to allegations of being a whitewash!

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