Showing posts from August, 2016

Over use of special measures

When a matter comes for trial the procedure is for the prosecution to call their evidence and prove that the defendant is guilty of the offence(s) against him. In ye olden days, the prosecution would call witnesses who could say, “I saw X do Y” and would then use this to build the case against the defendant. The accuser would give evidence before the judge, jury and defendant – the defendant would face his accuser and the accuser would face the accused.

I’ve always thought that this is a good idea – in my opinion it’s much harder to lie to the face of somebody who knows you to be a liar than it is to lie to somebody with no knowledge of the facts. Don’t believe me? Go have an affair, send your wife the photos of your liaison and then deny it to her face and see if she can see through your lies – go on, I double dare you and we all know you can’t get out of a double dare!

Also, assessing a witness’s credibility requires the magistrates or jury to observe the witness so they can look out …

Are judges unduly lenient?

I read a story in this morning’s Times entitled, “’Soft’ sentences increased for sex abusers and killers”. The story goes on to report that 102 criminals had their sentences increased following appeals by the Attorney General. Of those 102 cases, 40% involved sexual offences.

So, are judges being surprisingly lenient?
In the period March 2014 to March 2015, there were 1.72 million individuals dealt with by the Criminal Justice System, while that may sound a lot it is in fact a record low since 1970! This figure includes a large number who were dealt with in the magistrates’ courts rather than the Crown Court, from whence Attorney General's references all emanate. It seems that of that 1.72 million, only 80,000 cases made it to the Crown Court.
The Times makes the point that 40% of increased sentences were for sexual offences, based on 102 increased sentences I make that 40 cases. So, that’s 40 out of how many? In the 12 months to March 2015 there were 12,000 sexual offences proceedin…