Torture traders to be prosecuted in Scotland, but not in England

REDRESS welcomes the Scottish Crown Office’s decision of yesterday (28th May 1997) to prosecute the managing director of a Glasgow company ICL Technical Plastics for alleged involvement in trading in instruments used to inflict torture abroad. The allegations arose out of Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary, “The British Torture Trail”, broadcast in January 1995, which presented evidence that representatives of three UK companies, one based in Scotland and the other two in England, possessed and negotiated the sale of electric shock batons in breach of UK law.

While heartened by the seriousness with which the Crown Prosecution Service in London has dealt with the issue, REDRESS is disappointed at the decision of the CPS (also announced yesterday) that there will be no criminal proceedings against the two English based representatives. Following a police investigation, a salesman with Royal Ordinance and a director of London based IPS Ltd will not be prosecuted for their possession of electric shock batons shown in the Dispatches programme.

Legal Officer Fiona McKay said: “We are particularly concerned that the CPS took the decision not to prosecute on public interest grounds, despite being persuaded that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a realistic prospect of conviction”.

REDRESS is considering whether to apply for judicial review of the CPS’s decision and is actively seeking legal advice on this question.

As a legal charity committed to “promote the rehabilitation and protection of people who are or at any time have been victims of torture anywhere in the world”, REDRESS calls on the UK government to institute effective legal controls on the supply of the means of terror to torturing regimes.