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Sadly, that is a rhetorical question. On November 14, the London Evening Standard reported that “Justice chiefs have apologised after more than 1,000 London court cases were conducted in secret, in a controversial process that prosecutors believe they are forced to use.”
The article points out that most of the cases heard were in one East London borough, but sadly this is nothing new; Family Court cases are often shrouded in secrecy, the main reason for this is of course to protect the young. The names of the parties are publicised only in exceptional circumstances like that of false accuser Victoria Haigh.
During war-time, it may be desirable for courts to sit in secret for certain, very select cases. Prosecutions for terrorist offences can also present difficulties for the authorities. Finally, the courts may impose blanket restrictions on reporting in order to ensure the defendant receives a fair trial. For example, the homosexual serial rapist Reynhard Sinaga had four separate trials in 2019; these were not held in secret, but no reporting was allowed until the conclusion of the final trial.
The Guardian among others publications reported on secret courts way back in 2013; these are known as Closed Material Procedures. The pretext in these cases was national security. Reading between the lines, the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic wanted to protect the sources and methods of their (illegal) spying on their citizens.
What though was the pretext for secret prosecutions of those accused of breaking. coronavirus lockdown regulations, and where will this duplicity end?