Human Rights Act must stay, says CPS director Keir Starmer
Repealing the Human Rights Act would be “retrograde step” that would hurt the victims of crime and witnesses alike, the outgoing director of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has warned.
In an interview marking the end of his tenure at the CPS, Keir Starmer implicitly criticised the Home Secretary Theresa May, who has said repealing the Act will form part of the next Conservative manifesto.
Mr Starmer said the legislation had significant benefits across the criminal justice system. “The Human Rights Act is a really important constitutional document, it isn’t just a villain’s charter,” he said.
“It has been a real asset to victims and witnesses, and if you trace their rights, you will find them written in the Human Rights Act, so for me it will be a retrograde step to repeal or amend the Human Rights Act.
“I have been very clear on this. I don’t think it’s an Act that should be amended in any way.”
In the interview on the BBC Mr Starmer also suggested that many victims of sexual offences have been afraid of reporting them in the past because police had asked “the wrong questions” and used “crude tests” to question if victims would be believed.
“If you go into a police station and report a burglary the first question is not: ‘Are you telling the truth?’ If you are the victim of a sexual offence, very often in the past that has been the first question.” He said that, for the past two years, he had tried to “fundamentally shift where we are in these cases to make sure that the police and courts are with us”.
“The first thing you do is you change the tests,” he said.
“You make it clear that, if you come in to report this sort of offence, you are not going to be tested according to whether you’ve reported it straight away, whether you give a consistent account, whether you’ve ever yourself had drink or drugs etc.”
He said that if victims knew that “you will come in, give your account and then there’ll be a proper investigation”, it would give them more confidence to come forward.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...