Tuesday, January 30, 2007

British Justice

Mrs. Lear has been sitting as a juror for the last few days in the hight court in Glasgow. The case revolved around demanding money with menaces in the " security " industry. As in, if you don't give us the contract we will a) smash your face in and b) destroy the premises. Of course, the accused are far too smart to do it that way. What they actually do is turn up at the building site, present a very snappy brochure with quotes from "satisfied" customers, and suggest it would be worth employing them. Nothing else needs to be said. After all, if you find stuff nicked and destroyed three nights on the trot and the chap turns up again expressing astonishment at your problem,it's clearly your own fault if you don't get the message.
What galls me enormously - and this runs right through the Crown Prosecution Service, the Police and Prosecuting Counsel - is the belief these people have that simply saying " You did it" is enough to convict. In the scenario above, no crime has been committed - the terribly polite large gentlemen are merely trying to help you. As a result there are lots of prosecutions which are brought largely because the Police etc want to be seen to be doing something, and giving the toe-rags a fright. Of course, it has exactly the opposite effect. After you've been up two or three times and had the cases thrown out of court, you don't worry too much. And there's no place for you in prison anyway.
Mrs. Lear has been assuring me since Friday that the case would last 2 to 3 weeks. I predicted it would be dismissed by tomorrow. I was wrong by a day, and most of yesterday and the hour or so this morning was taken up with legal arguement, so the jurors had little to do at all.
Of course, if you are a law abiding citizen, that is a completely different matter. Driving offences by their very nature have a 100% clear-up rate. Don't pay your council tax and see how long it takes them to bang you up. Defend yourself against people who come into your house in the middle of the night uninvited, or prevent some poor soul from getting attacked in the street, and you will very quickly find your collar felt.
It's time there was a root and branch change in our law and order situation, and I can guarantee you John The Bruiser Reid won't do anything apart from spew out more meaningless platitudes and laws which will be unenforceable.
Let's have fewer, properly enforceable laws. Let's have ctrimes properly investigated, with properly documented evidence, properly prosecuted ( most prosecuting counsel don't even get to see the evidence until a day or so before the trial) and properly sentenced.
Oh, and by the way, police numbers have just fallen.

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