Dr Howard Davis talks about Abu Qatada legal case on BBC Radio Solent

Posted on Wednesday, March 27 2013

Dr Howard Davis, Reader in Law at BU, was interviewed on BBC Radio Solent about the government losing an appeal against a ruling preventing the deportation of preacher Abu Qatada.

Howard specialises in public law, and particularly the impact of the Human Rights Act on UK law, and told Drivetime presenter Steve Harris: “Home secretaries have the power to deport people if they think it is not in the public interest for those people to stay in the UK.

“In the good old days, the police would literally come along at 6am and whip you off and you’d be deported and there’d be very little you could do about it.”

But, he added, that there was now a special court commission to deal with cases and that:”It’s an absolute fundamental rule of human rights law that you cannot deport someone to a country where they would have a real risk of being tortured or a real risk that evidence obtained by torture would be used against them.”

He said that Britain’s hands were tied in the matter by a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights, but said that they could get around it if they had sufficient diplomatic assurances from Jordanian government about the treatment of Abu Qatada if he were deported there.

“What the recent case has been about is whether those assurances are sufficiently strong and robust, and whether they show that the other evidence that Jordan does engage in torture is not so strong.”

Howard said that the Home Secretary could now appeal to the Supreme Court, but is not likely to be successful because the actual point of law isn’t in dispute.

“What’s in dispute here is the credibility of these diplomatic assurances about the treatment of Abu Qatada and whether he’d get a fair trial.”

He added: “In the end, the legal process may come to a halt, and we must not forget that the ban on torture and the use of torture evidence in trials is probably the most fundamental rule of law that we have.”

You can listen to the full interview here