In Nov. 1971, the UK Government appointed a Committee of three Privy Counsellors to consider ‘whether, and if so in what respects, the procedures currently authorized for the interrogation of persons suspected of terrorism and for their custody while subject to interrogation require amendment’.
The Committee was established owing to public concern about the interrogation procedures which, as the Compton Report (Cmnd. 4823) had disclosed, had been in use for ‘ interrogation in depth’ at an interrogation centre in Northern Ireland.
The report of the Committee of Privy Counsellors was published in March, 1972 (Cmnd. 4901). A majority report, approving the use of these procedures subject to certain safeguards, was submitted by Lord Parker and Mr. John Boyd Carpenter, M P. A minority report rejecting the procedures was submitted by Lord Gardiner.
Somewhat unusually, the recommendations in Lord Gardiner’s minority report were accepted by the British Government in preference to those of the majority. In view of the widespread use in other countries of interrogation methods at least as objectionable as those which had been evolved by the British army, it may be of interest to lawyers in other parts of the world to know in more detail the conclusions reached by Lord Gardiner and the arguments upon which they were based.
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