20 May 2010

Mora, acquiescence and taciturnity...

As a blogger who aspires to revivify the connections between Scots law and Scottish politics, it has been culpably remiss of me to have failed to mention one of the politico-legal stories of the week. As most of you will have heard in media outline, Amnesty International commissioned a legal opinion from QC Aidan O'Neill (who is becoming something of a regular character in these parts), on the lawfulness of an ongoing Taser pilot in Strathclyde. This six-month experiment, authorised by the Chief constable of Strathclyde Police, provided for tasers to be issued to non-firearms officers after a short period of training.  The pilot proposes to 'test' the efficacy of this arrangement, cognisant of the future possibility that tasers become a standard piece of equipment of all officers in the force. Concerns have been expressed on many bases about the pilot-trial, resulting in a Liberal Democrat debate on the question in Holyrood on the 25th of February this year.  I also neglected this debate at the time - happily I've now got a chance to amend my previous dereliction. As you will know by now, Aidan O'Neill submits in his opinion that the Strathclyde taser pilot is unlawful. The question got a couple of mentions (and a couple of Eckly rebuffs) at First Minister's Questions today. For today, my mora, acquiescence and taciturnity will have to continue. Tomorrow, however, I'll be publishing a more substantial piece, trying to untangle the ugly yarnball of politics and law at issue here, which Amnesty International and the Scottish Government have been busily knotting and intertwining into the present almost impenetrable guddle.

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