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Barry George,Mea Culpa

Is there something rotten at the heart of British Criminal Justice? At long last BARRY GEORGE has been acquitted of the Murder of Miss JILL DANDO may God rest her soul and comfort her Family.

We have heard how wonderful our System of Justice is, how good our Jury System, how fine our Lawyers and how irreproachable our Police Force. Well I have been around for some seventy four years now and am astonished to see how many miscarriages of Justice are coming home to roost. Apparently Crippen was not guilty as charged, then there was the miscarriage of Justice at 10 Rillington Place, miscarriages of Justice concerning various Terrorist convictions, and that affecting our ‘local girl’ Mrs Sally Clark deceased. Less spectacularly the list runs on and on. We have seen children put unjustifiably into care, heard of the inadequacies of not only ‘Expert Witnesses’ but too of the alleged incompetence of the Social Services. Nice though it is to see retrospective pardons arising from Courts of Appeal, none the less too often the seeds of doubt have to be nurtured by the Media, rather than the Establishment, for to it conviction seems to have become far more important than Justice itself.

Crime is committed and we all want to see justice administered, however no one wishes for some ‘whipping boy’ to be unjustly convicted be it through anyone’s incompetence or deceit. Nor do any expect the detection of crime to be as depicted on the television. Very possibly most crimes are ‘solved’ on the basis of information received. That apart how on earth is any Police Force to do what all expect of them. Scientific back up, be it DNA or finger prints; or the evidence that a speck of gunpowder found in Mr. Barry Georges pocket matched that found in Miss Dando’s hair has all to weighed in the balance of judicial probity and too probability. What sort of a bl***Y fool would expect a criminal to stuff his cartridges with a ‘bespoken’ explosive charge. Millions of rounds of ammunition will all contain the same chemical formulation, further more many of us are innocently polluted with all manner of incrimination. Look at that nonsense in Portugal concerning the Mc.Canns.

Apparently it is the Director of Public Prosecutions who decides whether or not a case is to be prosecuted. He or she has to consider the evidence given, and apparently other matters too if the case relates to alleged fraud in Saudi Arabia. Does he or she not also have to consider the probability of a successful prosecution, if so he was undoubtedly right when it came to the Prosecution of Mr. George for a Jury of Peers convicted a man, who after some eight years as a Category A Prisoner is declared not Guilty after all. Why was it that the CPS pursued the Barry George case after the Court of Appeal had declared his initial conviction unsound? Is there not other crime justifiable of its attention? Too often one hears tell of that which the public imagines to be an open and shut case not being pursued due to insufficient evidence.

Who now are ones ‘Peers’ who sit in judgement, we are now in such a multi cultural society, I am not sure the system really works anymore, even if it ever did. Is the Jury System well past it’s sell by date? Should we drop the confrontational approach in Court, maybe adopt the Continental System of cases having first to go through an examining magistrate? But then where does one acquire ones Magistrates. One has heard Lawyers wives privately distaining the capabilities of some Magistrates, and of Magistrates who tell that they have to spend more time attending courses than on sitting on the Bench.

Is it he who pays the highest fee for Counsel who wins his case? Should not Justice match Counsel with Counsel? Is the run of the mill Solicitor worth the paper he writes on, in my civil experience he seldom is, but if he is he tends to charge a fee one can not afford to pay, whilst others seemingly over assess their capabilities and financial worth.

Someone somewhere along the line needs to pay the price of incompetence. Whether it is Parliament at fault, the Police or the Judiciary One knows not, but we are not a Banana Republic, even if the powers that be make us seem to be so.

Possibly as the Americans so succinctly put it, its time to kick… I forget, none the less it is.

contact : John B. Poe
Email : pionono@tiscali.co.uk