Sunday 20 July 2003 at 1:54 am | In News | Post Comment

The death of Dr David Kelly.
Role of judges
“Independent judicial inquiries”.
Such enquiries are criticised as the weakest form of inquiry which a government can establish.
This was the reaction when the Scott inquiry into the arms-for-Iraq affair was set up in 1992.
The Denning inquiry into the Profumo spy scandal in the early 1960s was attacked – by Denning himself – for lacking the powers to require witnesses to give evidence on oath.
Statutory enquiries.
By contrast, an inquiry such as the Bloody Sunday tribunal, currently sitting, has full judicial powers because it was set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Evidence Act 1921, as were the Lynskey tribunal in 1948, which investigated the bribery of a junior minister in the Labour Government and the Aberfan disaster in 1967.
It will be for Lord Hutton former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland to determine how wide-ranging that examination needs to be to get at the truth.
Some of the material Lord Hutton may well wish to see is sensitive intelligence data and there will inevitably be tussles behind the scenes with Whitehall about what is appropriate to disclose.
Lord Scott’s inquiry into arms to Iraq caused misery for the Tories.
The Vassall Tribunal in 1963, set up to examine a homosexual spy scandal involving naval intelligence officer, John Vassall required journalists to give evidence and two Fleet Street reporters were jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.

GHB Outlawed

Wednesday 9 July 2003 at 12:34 am | In News | Post Comment

GHB has been outlawed, with dealers facing up to five years in jail.

Gammahydroxybutrate (GHB) is now a controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Drugs Minister, Caroline Flint:

“GHB has been used in numerous drug assisted rapes and sexual assaults [… ] It’s very important that we get the message across to club goers that this is a dangerous drug. People can pass out after just a few drops in an alcoholic drink, and an overdose could result in a coma. The strength of the liquid varies, so a user is often unaware how much they are taking.

GHB is a drug developed as an anaesthetic. It is produced as a white powder, which is dissolved into water. In small doses it acts as an ‘upper’. In larger doses the anaesthetic effect takes hold and can lead to respiratory problems. It is potentially lethal when mixed with other substances, for example alcohol.

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