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Re-evaluate the use of juries

Comment 22nd August 2010

 

I feel the use of juries should be re-evaluated as the way evidence is presented in court is in need of a radical overhaul.

Any logically-thinking human being would assume that if twelve people decide to convict a defendant then there can be no possibility of a miscarriage of justice; The Jury will have been convinced of the defendant's guilt 'Beyond all reasonable doubt.'

So, as a logically-thinking human being you would ask yourself, twelve people surely cannot get it wrong? Think again. I am a logically-thinking human being too. I thought the British Legal System was fair and just until a person I care about was convicted of crimes he did not commit… crimes that never even happened. I do not however blame that particular jury as I firmly believe that any twelve people would have convicted him. If I had been a member of the jury I would have convicted him too! And this is why:

The jury is just a pawn in the game: picture yourself as an innocent man, falsely accused. The police want a conviction. They can readily gather together sufficient evidence about you, delving into your past with a fine-tooth comb. They will say that people have 'Come forward' when really the police have gone trawling for people to tempt them with compensation packages. Ninety nine people who the police have questioned may say good things about you but if the hundredth person says something bad it is THEIR evidence that will be placed before The Jury.

Then when the police have done their 'Dutiful' deeds, to the public, the Crown Prosecution Service takes over. They have unlimited financial and legal resources at their disposal, but you, the accused, have only your innocence, the truth and legal aid which is never enough.

If several people bear a grudge against you, the corroboration of these liars and the compounding of their lies and machinations will be enough to convict you if the jury are duped into believing their allegations are totally separate. Quite often the accusers are tempted into making false allegations due to the lure of compensation. They have nothing to lose as their anonymity is protected. They don't even have to face you in court as they can choose to be screened off. The Jury will always be convinced by the lies of many rather than the truth of a few.

Would you think it possible that a jury could convict you purely on the grounds of accusation? I did not think so until the person I care about was denied a fair trial. All the people who could vouch for his innocence, including me, were excluded on the grounds that there was not enough public funding, with the consequence that he was not allowed an adequate defence. So the Jury heard only lies, wrongly assuming there was no other side to the story. The Jury can only make a decision on the basis of what is placed before them and if they are only presented with lies then it is not outside the bounds of possibility to convict a saint on trumped up charges. Juries will always err on the side of caution and it often happens that an innocent person is convicted rather than risk a guilty one walking free.

The judge is Pontius Pilate in his own court; he can easily wash his hands and say: 'Don't blame me… The Jury convicted you.'

The police will say: 'Don't blame us, we only gathered the evidence together' and the Crown Prosecution Service say they only acted on that evidence. So at the end of the day the Jury have been used as a means to an end… a pawn in the game: 'It was The Jury who convicted who you.'

After conviction the Prison Authorities and Probation services will not tolerate cries of 'I'm innocent' they will keep on repeating the same old one liner: 'But The Jury convicted you.'

And as for The Jury themselves – they can easily sleep soundly at night thinking they have done their bit for truth and British Justice when really they have just been used as a tool to destroy an innocent person's life.

It may be too late for the person I care about, unless he can find the legal representation to support him wholeheartedly in the fight to clear his name. The Jury has convicted him and the judge has viewed him as dangerous, but there are far more people who know the real truth of the matter and are unable to prove it.

The British Tax payer now has to pay for an innocent man to be kept in prison for perhaps the rest of his life at a cost of around 35,000 pounds per annum. Where is the sense in that?

In order to prevent miscarriages of justice like this occurring, I would advise anyone serving on a jury to question everything put before them so they can make a fair decision. Don't just accept the evidence placed before you because several accusers have said the same thing – you may be destroying the life of someone who has been falsely accused. If you are a jury member attending a trial where the only evidence put before you is bad then you must surely begin to wonder whether the good has somehow been deliberately excluded.

All the good was excluded at the trial of the person I care about. He was allowed no proper defence. I was waiting in the witness waiting room for two hours to be called but I was not called. I feel certain the outcome would have been different if I had been given a chance to appear in his defence and I feel the way the evidence was presented was totally engineered and geared up for a conviction to ensure that he would not be given the chance of a fair trial. The scales of Justice were weighted against him from the onset, but Justice should be all about balance… so that the Jury can weigh things in the balance and reach a fair and just decision as to the defendant's innocence or guilt. This was not permitted in his case and if it can happen to him, an honest law-abiding citizen, then it can happen to anyone.

Why does this matter?

 

The idea is important because under the current criminal justice system every upright citizen in this country is at risk of being wrongfully convicted if enough lies are told about them and the Jury believe those lies.

If being falsely accused and wrongfully convicted  is not an infringement of civil liberties then what is? To have your whole life destroyed because of the false accusations of others is the worst thing that can happen to anyone.

 

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