Q: Why are we naming the Secretary of State for Defence and not say instead the Prime Minister personally ?
1. The “person” currently subject of the criminal information is not the current holder of the office of Secretary of State for Defence, i.e. Mr Fallon or his predecessor in post Mr. Hammond etc. etc. – but rather it is the corporate entity of the “Office” of the Secretary of State for Defence itself.
2. This was created by statute back in 1964 (the Defence Transfer of Functions Act 1964) and which in law is every bit as much “a person” as is any natural ordinary human being.
By s.1(1)(a) of this Act
“ If Her Majesty is pleased to make arrangements—
for one of Her principal Secretaries of State to be charged with general responsibility for defence;
and by s1(2)
“There shall be transferred to a Secretary of State the functions conferred by any enactment on the Minister of Defence, or on the Secretary of State for War or for Air(however styled), or on the Admiralty, except such functions of the Admiralty as are by subsection (3) below transferred to the Defence Council.”
Consequently the functions of this office in relation to the establishment and maintenance of the general duties concerned with the “defence of the realm”, and in particular with the establishment and maintenance of all naval forces (with the sole exception of Naval Discipline matters that fall for the Defence Council instead) are here set out for all to read in statute. This has the following obvious advantages:
- we don’t have to personally go after each individual natural person who has held this office, since the deployment of the first Trident Nuclear Submarine, as the office has continued unchanged since before that time, so that evidence dating back to that time and ever since then remains relevant in relation to this named accused ‘person’
- we don’t have to produce evidence about the specific state of mind of a natural human being, but instead can rely entirely on evidence written about the ‘official’ policies and strategies as stated as having been adopted by the Government at one time or another, during the relevant period, and in relation to our nuclear defence position, as being those of this office
- as long as we can establish, which I believe we can, were we ever to be permitted and called upon to do so, that those who actually are engaged in the business of planning, as in particular in creating potential computerised target lists for, the future use of the Trident nuclear weapons, are in the specific and direct employ of this office – then it follows we are able to bring the charge of conspiracy home to that named accused person.
Were we instead say to accuse the Prime Minister, as suggested by your non-legally minded friend, we would have to be capable of proving that he was personally, directly and consciously involved in the creation of such plans and targeting himself, and can be shown to have considered and entered into agreement regarding all relevant possible future criminal uses. Frankly, I don’t know whether or not he has, I seriously doubt it, but in any event the point is I most certainly couldn’t prove it.
Finally, “going after” the office, as opposed to all those individuals who have from time to time held the office, also has the distinct advantage of “de-personalising” the whole prosecutorial process – we clearly cannot be accused of being obsessed or gripped with the desire to personally punish these current or former ministers of the Crown, if we make it clear our purpose is to demonstrate the criminality of the policy and not of the individual person.