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Restoration of presumtion of innocence, common sense, discretion and proportionality

Comment 18th August 2010

The presumption of innocence should be restored as a fundamental plank of British justice. There has been an alarming trend in recent years for this to be eroded. We increasingly see regulations and law being introduced which create absolute offences where someone is going to be found guilty because they cannot prove their innocence. There should be substantial proof of guilt before anyone is charged or fined for an offence. For the most part, such cases are currently relatively minor (but potentially important for those involved) ones, but there does seem to be an increasing tendency for the presumption of innocence to be lost or effectively set aside for more serious offences.

Common sense, discretion and proportionality should be restored to the criminal justice system. Policemen and magistrates particularly should be encouraged to stop adopting a tick-box approach to justice, and should use their common sense to ensure fairness fo treatment in the light of the specific circumstances instread of being hamstrung by unbending rules.   

 

Why does this matter?

Protection of civil liberties. Fairness and Justice.

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