By Jamie Bryson
The Northern Ireland Executive has purported to regulate the movement of any household families of seven, or more (inclusive of children under 12) within the confines of their own private property.
Outlining the latest bizarre regulation, a statement from the Executive stated, inter-alia:
“Private garden gatherings- maximum of six people from one household or support bubble only, with children under 12 counting towards the permitted total”
This means that, for example, a family of two parents with five kids would not be permitted to gather within their own garden in the open air, but would be permitted to live together under the one roof indoors.
This ludicrous proposition is not only illogical, but amounts to the Government- acting not in accordance with the well established principles of law making but rather ruling by decree (see former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption QC- Cambridge lecture October 2020)- regulating movement within the confines of the private home. It is beyond Orwellian.
What next? CCTV in the household to monitor movement between living room and bedroom? Chased from your own private garden at gunpoint or on pain of criminal penalty if two parents have their five children in their own garden at once?
Worryingly large sections of the media have wholly forsaken their scrutiny role, in favour of blindly accepting each and every draconian regulation without any critical analysis or assessment of the proportionality of same. This is even more concerning given the regulations interfere with the fundamental Human Rights and liberty of all citizens.
It is this site which challenged the PSNI on the unlawful efforts to prevent travel for exercise, forcing an epic PSNI u turn.
It is this site which challenged the unlawful closure of car washes, which the PSNI again had to u-turn on.
It is this site which repeatedly pointed out that the PSNI had no power of entry to force their way into private property in pursuance of investigating alleged Covid breaches. Today (5 Jan 2020) West Midlands Police finally accepted they have no power of entry, thus proving this most obvious point which had been highlighted for over five months.
It is this site which exposed the lacuna in the International Travel regulations, which means that all fines from 8 June until 11 December are unenforceable. The mainstream media wholly ignored this scandal, happy enough it seems that over 50 citizens were unlawfully fined.
It is this site which has pointed out that the PSNI have in fact no statutory stop and search power by which to stop vehicles to enforce Covid Regulations.
It is an indictment on large sections of the media that they have failed to place scrutiny on the most draconian restrictions in living memory, instead permitting an underserved degree of leeway to the bumbling Executive and increasingly gaffe-prone PSNI, as they take a hatchet to one basic right after another.
The lunacy is summed up by the fact that a recent set of regulations were only voted on by the Assembly… after they expired.