Though in truth, you should be mighty afeard; Calibans’ ‘thousand twangling instruments’ are in full throttle and care not how they put at risk our hard won and historic rights to fair judgement by our peers.
In the light of Greater Manchester’s astounding statement last night concerning Cyril Smith:
The Force is now publicly acknowledging that young boys were victims of physical and sexual abuse committed by Smith.
I thought it might be helpful to set out the changes in British law which has led them to conclude that if:
…the same evidence was presented to the CPS today there would have been a very realistic prospect that Smith would have been charged with a number of indecent assaults, and that the case would have been brought to trial.
Those reading this with some legal training will have noticed immediately that the first quotation goes further than ‘the case would have been bought to trial’ – and assumes the role of the jury in deciding that ‘young boys were victims of physical and sexual abuse committed by Smith’. Does that matter, in the present climate of hysteria surrounding paedophilia? Good Lord Yes! The day we allow the Police to be both Judge and Jury is the day we turn our backs for ever on the Magna Carta. The righteous mob, however, is delighted; they have been handed an acknowledged paedophile, a dead and thus libel-free one, a politician no less, to kick around the Internet.
They are playing a dangerous game, a game with many different components.
Was Cyril Smith a paedophile, a sexual abuser? I have no idea, and it is right and proper that I have no idea, for he never was, and never can be, brought to trial. Nor can Jimmy Savile. I have no idea, yet, whether Madeleine McCann’s parents are ‘murdering scumbags’ or tragically bereft parents. I have no idea whether YOU are a dangerous rapist, nor your neighbour a serial thief. Why is that right and proper? Because 900 years ago, we wrested control from those who ruled us to denounce and punish us as they chose, and insisted that only a jury of our peers could decide our guilt or innocence, on the basis of the competing evidence laid before them by prosecution and defence. Only then, and only if found guilty, could the authorities punish us.
Slowly and surely, those who rule us have been trying to take back that right by degrees.
When we were horrified by the blood and carnage wreaked upon us by the IRA, they said it was impossible to bring those responsible to trial by their peers; juries were being intimidated and could be corrupted. We acquiesced when it was decided that a Judge, and a Judge alone, could decide guilt and pass sentence on those denounced as responsible.
When we were frustrated that the impatience of the mob led to a premature civil prosecution being made against the murderers of Stephen Lawrence, they said it was impossible to try them a second time because of the double jeopardy rule. We acquiesced when it was decided that you could be tried and retried on the same charge until found guilty.
When we were sickened by the sight of fellow citizens reeling in pain and injury from the explosions created by Al Qaeda terrorists, they said they could not successfully prosecute in open court, witnesses could be put in danger. We acquiesced when it was decided that a Judge, hearing unknown evidence in secret, could decide guilt and pass sentence on those denounced as responsible.
When we were appalled by the allegation that a Father had sexually abused his own two daughters, they said they could not bring other witnesses to court, there were none, the evidence of each daughter should be allowed to stand in each indictment, so long as there had been no evidence of collusion between the witnesses. We acquiesced when it was decided that evidence that was only corroborated between the actual complainants could prove guilt and allow the authorities to pass sentence on those denounced as responsible.
When we were shocked to find that Father’s were still sexually abusing their daughters, they said that not only did they not have witnesses other than the complainants, but that even when there was ‘strong evidence’ that there had been collusion between them and that their evidence had been fabricated, it was not the role of the Judge to decide whether evidence had been fabricated and should be put before the Jury. We acquiesced, even if we barely noticed, when fabricated evidence, drawn up in collusion, was put before a Jury, so emotive was the charge.
When we found that in some cases, the assailant was unknown, or the witness nor suitably credible for cross examination in a criminal court, they said that in order for justice to be done, it was necessary to have a separate court. One that would examine the evidence on the basis of ‘probability’ rather than ‘beyond reasonable’ doubt. There was no need for Judge or Jury, nor open court to hear the evidence, since no punishment would be handed out, rather the victim should be offered ‘justice’ in the form of a cash award contributed to by every taxpayer.
Each time there has been an erosion of the rights laid down in the Magna Carta, it has come at a time of high emotion. When there has been rightful indignation at the nature of the crime.
Cyril Smith has been both denounced and pronounced guilty. Jimmy Savile proclaimed the ‘most prolific sex offender’ ever. Now we do not know, nor will ever know, if the ‘evidence’ was the result of collusion, or fabricated in search of a cash award. It has been heard in a secret court, bereft of Jury, bereft of Judge. And we applaud?
Yes, we applaud. We do so because we have been manipulated by the media, with images of endearing five year old girls in slightly-too-long nightdresses clutching their teddy bear – and we cannot understand how any right minded person could possibly think that it was OK to vent their sexual urges on such a child; and we are told that such persons are paedophiliacs. We are then told that accepting oral sex from a 15 year old girl also makes you a paedophiliac – and the images of disgust in our minds that the term induces is such that reason leaves us, and nothing is too terrible to happen to such a person. Surely they cannot be entitled to the same rights as the rest of us – they are animals?
So far such denunciations from the media and the authorities have only been visited on the dead, the libel-free. But the erosions of our rights have been visited on all of us.
When you find yourself denounced by the authorities in a secret court – for theft perhaps, or homophobia – on the basis of colluded and fabricated evidence that has never been put before a Judge or Jury, will never be publicised, and sentence is pronounced by the Police – a body that is soon to be privatised and rated by results - will YOU be horrified, sickened, frustrated, shocked, appalled – or acquiesce?
Whilst the rest of us applaud…
You should be very afeard. That is how the law progresses in the UK, little incremental steps…