UK: Lord Sumption endorses calls for Covid amnesty

Scottish Legal News

Lord Sumption has backed calls for an amnesty for those given criminal convictions for breaking Covid rules.

The former Supreme Court justice said that the criminalisation of more than 29,000 people was “ridiculous” and a “miscarriage of justice”.

But neither Rishi Sunak nor Sir Keir Starmer have backed calls for an amnesty.

Calls to wipe the slates clean for offences such as attending gatherings, failing to wear face coverings and leaving home during lockdowns have been made by charities and former ministers, including Robert Buckland, a former justice secretary.

Lord Sumption said: “People were victims of a miscarriage of justice. They were victims of a stupid set of legal priorities.” He also said the laws were “absurdly draconian” and criminalised people on a “ridiculous” scale.

“It was a fundamental failure to treat people as grown-ups with judgments of their own to make,” he said.

“The reason I would support [wiping the slate clean] is that I rejected the whole system at the time.”