The lawyer who represented the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four has questioned the validity and the morality of the assassination of Osama bin Laden by American forces in Pakistan.
Gareth Peirce was celebrated across the world when she famously led the legal battle that freed the six people accused of the Birmingham bombs after they had served 16 years in British jails.
She was also involved in the correction of the Guildford Four case.
A regular visitor to Ireland, Peirce was the guest speaker at a Law Society meeting in Dublin on Tuesday when she claimed that the bin Laden killing ‘set a dangerous precedent’.
Peirce also maintained it ‘would not have been impossible’ to bring bin Laden to trial if the Americans so wished.
But she believes that America’s ‘plans a, b and c’ were to kill bin Laden.
“You don’t get the feeling that much thought was given to him being captured and tried,” Peirce was reported as saying by the Irish Times report of the society’s annual human rights lecture.
“There is a fine line between lawful and unlawful killing with the circumstances of bin Laden’s death. This fine line was important for many reasons,” she said.
Peirce also compared the situation to post-second World War when the British wanted to hang senior Nazis immediately but the US wanted a trial, resulting in the Nuremberg military trials.
“If it were possible to try the leaders of Nazi Germany, bringing Osama bin Laden to trial would not have been impossible,” claimed Peirce.
The noted solicitor also questioned if the information from the courier which eventually led the investigators to bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout was from torture.
“Information from a torture situation is unlawful,” said Peirce whose lecture topic was the ‘use of torture and the death of justice’.