Anorak News | Guilty Secrets

Guilty Secrets

by | 26th, October 2004

‘WOULDN’T it be great if you could spot a lawbreaker instantly and so know in a flash whom to trust and whom not to?

Lord Chief Justice Cowell can spot a wrong ‘un

Sure, there are those badges of dishonour, the prison tattoos, but clothes and balaclavas render them hard to spot.

And although driving while black (DWB) often arouses suspicion in the eyes of our police forces, what happens when the black face steps out of the vehicle?

So, the Telegraph reports, the Government is planning a new route to justice.

The powers that be now think it’s a good idea that, when a defendant appears in the dock charged with some crime, the jury and judge get to hear about their past record.

This masterstroke of justice is the brainchild of the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who thinks bad character should be made known.

“Trials,” he says, “should be a search for the truth and juries should be treated with all the relevant evidence to help them to reach proper and fair decisions.”

That Blunkett says nothing about the defendant’s rights is a shame.

However, when we learn in the Guardian that these proposed new powers will include a range of offences under the Theft Act and child sex offences, many who first baulked at the idea will be less bothered by it.

But telling a jury that the defendant has previous for abusing children as they stand trial is unlikely to lead to that person’s acquittal.

Indeed, the Guardian says that trials on mock juries have demonstrated that jurors are more likely to think a defendant guilty if they are told he has committed a similar crime in the past.

So why bother with any of this jury and trial nonsense at all?

Why not just inflict a conspicuous punishment on the guilty, like chopping off the hand of a thief or castrating a sexual predator?

Just think of the money it would be saved on needless trials, and how easier police work would become.

Although some do-gooders, bleeding hearts and Russell Grant fans would doubtless find room for complaint…’

Posted: 26th, October 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink