In a fair and just society it should not be possible for a defendant to be convicted purely by accusation but sadly this can and does happen rather more frequently that most members of the British public care to realise. It is a common occurrence in America too.
The Criminal Justice System is held in high regard by most UK citizens and is still viewed as one of the finest in the world but it is being abused by malicious liars who bring false allegations to court in the same way as some people make fraudulent claims on their insurance. But in cases such as these, the monetary gain succeeds in destroying the lives of innocent people, sometimes causing them to be incarcerated indefinitely. This is no overstatement; due to the introduction of the absurd Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection in 2005 it is possible to be imprisoned for up to 99 years even if you are an innocent person, falsely accused.
Currently in the UK our prisons are full to overflowing and the number of wrongly convicted prisoners needs to be drastically reduced. There is very little opportunity for the innocent to overturn the decision of the court and right the wrongs that have been done to them once their trial is over. Recently in the UK, legal funding for appeals has been reduced even further so these unfortunate victims of an imperfect justice system are left with no realistic hope of release.
It should be made impossible for a person to be convicted when the only "Evidence" that an offence was actually committed is based on the accusations of others. But at present it is quite possible for juries to convict when there is no proper factual evidence such as a body in the case of a murder or DNA evidence in the case of a rape. The only "Proof" of the defendant's guilt is sometimes the lies and vindictive corroboration of people who bear grudges against the accused and are abusing the power of the state to convict an innocent citizen.
The Jury only have to be convinced by the prosecution that the defendant is guilty and if they believe what is placed before them "Beyond all reasonable doubt" then a conviction is guaranteed. The Jury are more than willing to go along with the lies of many rather than the truth of few. This is especially true in cases of alleged sexual offences against children when quite often the mere implication that this may have occurred is enough to swing the jury in favour of a conviction.
Judges in cases of this nature should be more willing to direct juries away from this absurd reasoning which would be better suited to a medieval witch hunt than a fair and reliable justice system that we should be able to respect and rely on. The defendant should always be found not guilty when it is a case of accusation alone or perhaps the introduction of the Verdict of:"Not proven" would be prudent as is the case in Scotland. The Crown Prosecution Service, in bringing innocent people to trial is only succeeding in imposing further burdens on the British tax payer. It costs over thirty thousand pounds per annum to keep a prisoner imprisoned so the only people who benefit are the liars who have ruined the lives of upright citizens.
The British legal system can therefore be abused by blatant liars who know they can secure the conviction of the defendant purely by invented evidence. They may be awarded compensation for their false evidence – sometimes as much as twenty thousand GB pounds apiece but as a result an innocent person can easily be denied justice and have their life completely ruined.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will gladly pay out to the unscrupulous people who have borne false witness against their neighbours and perjured themselves in a court of law and the public will feel safer because they have been led to believe that another dangerous offender has been locked away. Justice has not been done, it has been abused but the innocent prisoner and the people who know the real truth are given no chance to prove it.
Cases based on dubious evidence should not be allowed to proceed, thus avoiding expensive trials and depriving innocent people of their freedom. Innocent people should never be deprived of their freedom without any realistic hope of release or ever having a chance to clear their name. It is a breach of Human Rights… and there are enough real criminals with which to fill our prisons.
Why is this idea important?
This idea is important because it is far too easy for a defendant to be convicted on word of mouth alone.
If several people decide to conspire against you then you will have very little defence if they have the entire resources of the crown prosecution services on their side and you are only entitled to the bare minimum on legal aid.
In such cases, it is possible to invent a whole past for someone that never happened and the jury will believe it unquestioningly purely because you are have been accused by several others and you will not have the legal support and financial backing to prove these accusers wrong.
The jury will always be convinced by the lies of many rather than the truth of a few.