15 October 2009

Border Area

The Independent reports,Terror Act used on climate activist, in which the journalist explains that a climate activist was stopped from travelling to Denmark.

"Chris Kitchen, 31, said he was prevented from crossing the border on Tuesday at about 5pm when the coach he was travelling on stopped at the Folkestone terminal of the Channel Tunnel.

Mr Kitchen told the Guardian that police officers boarded the coach and, after checking all passengers' passports, took him and another climate activist to be interviewed under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a clause which enables border officials to stop and search individuals to determine if they are connected to terrorism.

The article talks about "crossing the border" - what border? We're in the EU, there isn't a border. Or is there?

When in doubt look at the Act, Paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 explains,

"1 ...

(2) In this Schedule—
“the border area” has the meaning given by paragraph 4, ...

while paragraph 4 says,

"4— (1) A place in Northern Ireland is within the border area for the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3 if it is no more than one mile from the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

(2) If a train goes from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, the first place in Northern Ireland at which it stops for the purpose of allowing passengers to leave is within the border area for the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3.

Last I looked, Folkestone wasn't in Northern Ireland.

Entick v Carrington anyone? Illegal search, illegal detention.

Moving on from the legal points; the whole case reminds me of the phrase,

"... freedom of expression should not be measured by how likely the average person is to be silenced, but by how likely someone with something to say is."

The quote by John Allen Paulos can be found on page 82 of,

It is puzzling to consider why Chris Kitchen hasn't tried to challenge his detention. I wonder what one could reasonably abduce from his inaction?

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