So, there’s no evidence forthcoming from Jacqui Smith. Lord West had a wobble over whether it was a good idea. Now, more experts express their opinion:
1. Sir Ken MacDonald:
The director of public prosecutions has told MPs he will not be pressing the government for the current 28 day limit for holding suspects to be extended.
Sir Ken MacDonald said prosecutors had “managed comfortably” with 28 day detention and extending it would be based on “hypothetical” evidence. […]
“Our experience has been that 28 days has suited us quite nicely.”
He said it was up to MPs whether they extended detention beyond 28 days but it would be based on “hypothetical” cases.
“We have had very, very complex cases since this law was enacted and in only three have we had to go beyond the 14 days.
“Of course, evidence is increasingly complex and that’s why we have gone up to 28 days, which is by the far the greatest period in the common law world.”
2. Lord Goldsmith:
Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, giving evidence to the same committee, said he was “not persuaded” of the need to extend detention beyond 28 days.
And he said he would have resigned had Tony Blair’s government succeeded with their attempts at 90 day detention.
He told MPs Mr Blair was “aware of my concerns” but he had not wanted to put the then PM “over a barrel”.
Lord Goldsmith, who quit as attorney general when Gordon Brown took over as prime minister, said: “If the 90 day proposal had come from the Commons unamended, I would not have found it possible to vote for it.”
He said his view was based on the evidence he had seen when he was in government and he accepted the situation could have changed.
“I didn’t see any evidence during my time to indicate that longer than 28 days was necessary,” he told MPs.