Parliament Gets Blair’s Justice Reform Bill
Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government promised major reforms to Britain’s justice system Wednesday, including stripping some suspects of the right not to be tried twice for the same crime.
The Criminal Justice Bill, announced by Queen Elizabeth II as she opened a new session of Parliament, would “rebalance the system in favor of the victim,” Blair said. Reading a government-drafted speech, the queen, wearing a white gown and jeweled crown, outlined the legislative plans to lawmakers. The proposals call for juries to be told details of defendants’ previous convictions and for scrapping the centuries-old “double jeopardy” ban on suspects facing retrial after being acquitted of a crime. Also planned is the indefinite jailing of serious offenders.