I’m sure you all know by now that Obama is the new President of the US of A. Congratulations to the Democrats and to those who support him. But this isn’t a post about him or the US election, just an obiter dicta.
The thing is, I’ve been thinking lately on our country’s preventive detention laws. In my previous post, Rights of Habeas Corpus I’ve touched on the laws that give the GOM the power to put someone in jail without having to charge that person in court.
The GOM justifies preventive detention as a need to protect the public from persons they deem a menace. Most detention orders will state that the GOM believes the person is involved in criminal activities either drug-dealing or other violent crimes. The thing is, why don’t they just charge the person in court? Could it mean that the police do not have concrete evidence to charge them? If so how can you detain someone on mere suspicions?
If these persons are as dangerous the government deems them to be, why not put them under police supervision and then arrest him in a criminal act red handed. Is it a cost cutting measure or taking the load of the police? What are the police for then? If we had a diligent and well trained police force I’m sure there is no need for preventive detention, as proper investigations can yield the evidence needed to charge a person.
I’m reminded of the novel & movie, Minority Report by Philip K Dick. In that story, the police uses Precogs, three psychics that can predict crimes that are about to happen through the precognitive powers (hence the name Precogs). When they predict a crime, the police come in force and apprehend the soon to be offender even though the crime did not actually happen yet. We can draw a comparison with preventive detention: we suspect someone that may be involved in crime but since we can’t actually prove that it will happen we take the preemptive action by detaining him before it could happen.
In the story, we learn that the Precogs visions are not the complete truth, as they also receive the titular Minority Report which shows an alternate vision of the future. Thus showing a fatal flaw in the Precrime system. The same can be drawn to preventive detention, a person may not necessarily be a threat to society and most importantly one should be proven guilty before depriving him of his liberty.
If you have any comments or opinions please share them here, thanks.