What kind of a world are we living in when a grieving family's right to vengeance is denied simply because the person who killed their loved-one is found not guilty by a court?
What has happened to our traditions of justice and fair-play now that these 'not guilty' verdicts can be returned on grounds such as the absence of reliable witnesses, the absence of solid evidence, the existence of a good alibi, and other legal technicalities?
The police know what kinds of people commit crimes; that is their job.
When a crime happens, they arrest a person of that kind: that is also their job.
If a copper has his ear to the ground in the local community, he will, in most cases, know who is doing what to whom: again, that is what we pay them for.
So when the police present the court with a person whom they know to be guilty, the court's job is to punish the malefactor, not question the police's judgement. Why do so many modern judges waste their time with politically correct notions of burden of proof, permissible evidence and presumption of innocence, which so often result in the guilty going free?
Suppose the police do make a mistake and an 'innocent' person ends up in the dock. Is this innocence really good enough grounds for letting them off? After all, they are not really 'innocent': they merely happen not to have committed the particular crime for which they have ended up on trial. We can be fairly sure that the police only arrest bad people. (If we don't believe this, then we might as well not have a police force.) These people will carry on being bad regardless of the facts of one particular case. They should therefore go to gaol regardless. To say otherwise is to say that you are happy to have bad people on the streets, that is, to abandon any notion of law and order.
One phenomenon above all shows to what low levels our respect for the law has fallen. I am talking about the existence of people who make a profession of trying to get criminals freed by courts. Many of these so-called defence lawyers are clever people, who have studied law at university. They sometime put this cleverness to use in order to discover when witnesses are telling lies. Since witnesses are sometimes ordinary people without the advantages of Oxbridge educations, how can this possibly be fair?
It often happens that when the jury has heard the police's case they accept that the bad person in the dock deserves to be punished. But once the Defence Lawyer has got to work on them, they doubt the police's word, and return a Not Guilty Verdict. It follows that there are at this moment bad people walking free who, if not for the actions of their defence team would long ago have been hanged from the yard-arm. (Or, in line with the weak liberal laws which have been imposed on us under European Human Rights legislation, the Metre Arm.) I repeat: how can this be fair to the victims of crime, for whose benefit alone the court exists?
I propose the following modest changes to the legal system.
1: Abolition of defence councils.
2: Abolition of presumption of innocence
3: Abolition of right to remain silent. (Check this - AR)
4: Abolition of automatic right to trial by jury. (Check this too - AR)
5: Abolition of rule which prevents previous convictions being admitted as evidence.
6: Abolition of 'sub judice' rules which prevent newspapers interfering with juries by commenting on cases.
Under the new system, police will be free to arrest anyone who they know to be guilty. I think, at present, they should only arrest people who they know to be guilty of particular crimes, but we should aim at move towards a situation where badness in itself should be grounds for a court appearance. The home secretary believes that it is possible to spot future criminals at the age of three, so it should eventually be possible to round up bad children on the basis of misbehaviour, restlessness, low IQ, skin colour etc and remove them from society before they start primary school.
The police will not be required to present a court with evidence that the Bad Person committed the crime of which he is accused, but merely to show that they are the kind of bad person who must have done this kind of thing. This could involve evidence of previous convictions, the opinions of neighbours, the opinions of journalists. Particular weight ought to be given to the opinion of the victim or victim's relatives. Most burglary victims seem to be pretty sure that their house must have been robbed by one of those asylum seekers and it is pretty scandalous that this can't be raised in court.
No defence will be permitted or indeed necessary: we have to trust the moral judgement of our police. However, we will retain juries, whose duty it will be to determine what kind and degree of punishment the bad person should suffer. This should, of course, be based on how bad a person the jury believes the criminal to be. This eliminates the possibility of miscarriages of justice where people have been sent to prison despite the fact that they are rich.
We need, in short, to re-instate a proper democratic element into our courts. The do-gooders and experts are unlikely to go with these suggestions: but let us hear them propose a better system. Vengeance is a human right, and it is getting mighty hard to find suitable court-appointed scapegoats. We cannot any longer allow the guilty to walk free merely because they are innocent.