Search This Blog

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fair trial

One of the strangest aspects of life in the cold, damp lunatic asylum formerly known as the United Kingdom is the "justice" system. Some of the reports of court cases, police actions and government strategies are utterly beyond parody. I imagine life as a satirist must be even more depressing than life as an investment banker at the moment, since it's impossible to make up anything more ridiculous than what is already happening. There was a case recently when a British judge let a defendant off because he (the judge) thought that the fact that the victim had identified the perpetrator in a police line-up would prejudice the jury.

he ruled that her evidence against a lout she picked out in an ID parade was so compelling it would unfairly sway the jury

[From Judge throws out robbery case: Victim is too honest | The Sun |News]

WTF? Why have an ID parade then? In fact, why allow the prosecution to bring any evidence at all, since presumably any evidence connecting the defendant with the crime would prejudice the jury.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]


GreatSheElephant said...

When I read about this a bit more, the judge's decision actually made sense although it certainly sounds odd. She apparently embodied everything that makes a witness convincing in one respectable, groomed, middle class package but apparently her identification of the guy in the line up was based on nothing at all (presumably the judge must have been aware that it was a misidentification) but she appeared so credible that the judge thought there was a serious risk that the jury would convict on her 'dubious' evidence alone.

Cayce Pollard said...

I'm pretty sure that research shows that almost all eyewitness accounts of anything are wrong.

GreatSheElephant said...

Indeed - I remember learning that in my criminal psychology class.