The four occasions I have come into contact with the British Justice System have all left me disgusted with how it has worked and the decisions it has reached. I have no doubt that there are many people currently in prison who are completely innocent. I have no doubt that many guilty people are released and go Scott free. I know many innocent people have been dragged over the coals for years before being proved innocent.
This is disgusting!! Something needs to happen to put this right!! I illustrate this with 4 cases I have been directly involved with as a Jury foreman, close friend, work colleague or family member.
Case 1 – The disgusting castigation of Celebrities.
In the wake of the obnoxious serial sexual abuser Jimmy Saville the pendulum swung too far the other way. In Jimmy Saville’s case victims were not listened to or believed. Post Saville ‘victims’ were listened to and believed. Unfortunately this was carried forward whether there was foundation or not, evidence or not. So complaints were made and innocent celebrities and Rock Stars were dragged before the court without there being a shred of evidence apart from the accusations of a single ‘victim’.
In order to attempt to put together a case the celebrities name was put out in the media in the hopes that other ‘victims’ would come forward to substantiate the claims of the first ‘victim’. For years the celebrities name and reputation was dragged through the mud. Their career was ruined and they spent a fortune on solicitors fees in order to put together a defence to clear their name. The psychological pressure was enormous and destroyed people.
But were all these ‘victims’ really victims? Were some looking for a pay out? Were some psychologically disturbed and looking for power or attention? Were some psychotic and looking to bring people down?
Surely there has to be some solid evidence before destroying people?
At the end of this process many of the accusations were deemed not credible. In some case the final accusations were trivial and not worthy of the huge furore.
Have the Crown Prosecution/Police been too intent at taking ‘victims’ words at face value? Have some celebrities been made into victims?
After having had their careers destroyed and finding themselves having spent a fortune to clear their names they find themselves with no redress.
It would seem to me that the Police/Crown Prosecution should listen to ‘victims’ and take them seriously but be much more circumspect about making the accused’s name public or taking cases to court. They should be much more cognisant of the effects of that process on the accused. Innocent people have been ruined.
Case 2 – The Lack of Diligence by the Crown Prosecution
A relative was accused of attacking someone in a pub. He had been abused and threatened by a drunken young man which had resulted in a scuffle in which he had been hit and responded by hitting back. He ended up in a prison cell and was subsequently charged with Grievous Bodily Harm.
The police at the time took witness statements from the young man’s friends who accused him of attacking their friend and punching him repeatedly.
My relative denied the charges.
My relative was put on bail and had to wait for well over a year for the case to reach the Crown Court. In the meantime his place of employment held a tribunal and sacked him. So much for innocent until proven guilty!
There was a CCTV video of the incident that clearly showed that the prosecution’s case was wrong. If, at the beginning, the Crown Prosecution had looked at the CCTV they would not have prosecuted. As soon as the Judge saw the CCTV he threw the case out without a stain on his character and asked the Crown Prosecution how this case had come before the court.
My relative had been through hell for over a year with the threat of a prison sentence hanging over him. He was innocent but it did not prevent him being sacked, having to sign on the dole and losing a great deal of money. It did not put right the psychological damage that had been done to him.
Were the Crown Prosecution just not wanting to make a decision and chose to pass it to the court without considering the impact on the innocent accused? Had they spend half an hour looking at the evidence? I don’t think they had. A half hour’s work would have saved a year of huge stress, him being sacked and a wasted expensive court case. In my opinion the Crown Prosecution had simply not done their job.
My other two cases were of a murderer who went free simply because members of the jury refused to believe a word the police said or find anybody guilty despite a hugely detailed mass of evidence that he was undoubtedly a hitman for a gang and as guilty as hell. Then a ‘rapist’ who was quite probably not guilty who had been found guilty because the defence solicitor was incompetent. He had made the wrong defence. He was sent to prison and lost his career.
Justice is a lottery. The Crown Prosecution and police are often incompetent. If you can afford a good defence you will probably get off even if you are guilty.
Part of this is due to a lack of money and part of it is due to having an archaic system that is not fit for purpose as well as incompetence and poor procedures.
It needs overhauling!!! It is not fit for purpose!! Justice should not be a lottery for either victims or the accused!!