`We Got the Balance Wrong' Falconer Admits Anti-Terror Legislation Broke the Law
Byline: ADRIAN BUTLER and DEBORAH JAMES
THE Lord Chancellor last night said he accepted the Government had broken the law in its anti-terror legislation during a speech in Liverpool.
Lord Falconer of Thornton QC told the audience at St George's Hall he accepted the House of Lords's judgement that detaining foreign terrorist suspects without trial in Belmarsh Prison had been a breach of their human rights.
Lord Falconer, who is a close friend of Tony Blair, said: ``There has to be a balance between human rights and the security of our citizens. We accept we got the balance wrong.
``I am not embarrassed by that. From time to time states will do things that the courts say are wrong.
``But we established the system that did put it right. ''
The House of Lords ruled that the detention without trial of 12 men at Belmarsh in London and Woodhill, Milton Keynes, was unlawful in December.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke last week said he was hoping to reach deals so suspects could be safely deported to their home countries.
In the annual Roscoe Lecture on citizenship, Lord Falconer also praised Britain's first Community Justice Centre, being piloted in Kirkdale.
He said: ``Local people will be able to influence criminal justice and put forward ideas.
I am delighted that the people of Liverpool are doing this, and I am sure it will make a difference to the area. ''
Lord Falconer said the current system of dealing with prisoners with mental health problems was unsatisfactory.
``But there are not enough resources to treat them all in a way which would be our first choice. ''
After speaking, Lord Falconer faced angry questions on Tony Blair's relationship with George W Bush and the Government's decision to go to war with Iraq. …