Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.





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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

WHY NOT A "NOT PROVEN" VERDICT?

I have long argued that English courts could take a lesson from the Scots in at least giving consideration to having a third verdict; that of not proven.  The anecdote published recently in the Law Society Gazette would seem to justify such an innovation.

6 comments:

  1. The problem with not proven verdicts is that it gives those on the jury with a penchant for pedantry or mischief an option for saying "Yes, I think they did it, but I don't much like the cut of the prosecution's jib, or the victim."

    Witness this topical case in Scotchland: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-40493054

    DNA evidence was found on the (stolen) car, documentary evidence was found, and given that the coppers had spoken to the culpri-... the innocent men, I have no doubt that they gave positive identifications as well. And yet they strutted out after a "not proven" verdict.

    The job of the jury is to decide whether they think the accused did it, or if they dindnu nuffin and was well fitted up, innit.

    "We think they did it, but..." is a slap in the face to victims.

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    1. Thanks for your opinion:- "The job of the jury is to decide whether they think the accused did it". I would be pedantic and respond that the jury is to decide if the evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt that the charge is made out".

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  2. http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/local/brighton_hove/15361786.Ex_cleaner_is_cleared_of_theft_from_children/

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    1. Below copied from court report for which I thank you. In my opinion the words of the bench chair were totally and absolutely inappropriate. If I were the defendant I would report this to the relevant authority.

      Lead magistrate Dr Ian Haffenden concluded that “although we think that the defendant may have taken the items, the prosecution has not proved it so”.

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    2. I doubt if the defendant has the wherewithal or the finances to challenge the bench. This just demonstrates the high handed way some magistrates think their position gives them to pronounce their own opinion. Beyond reasonable doubt or the latest thing is are you sure means exactly that. If not sure or the CPS have note made their case then INNOCENT. I bet Dr Haffenden doesn't come under the scrutiny of the JCIO, only magistrates who pop into their court room when not rota'd

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    3. https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/jcio-prod-storage-1xuw6pgd2b1rf/uploads/2017/03/Mr-Colin-Speight-JP-JCIO-Investigation-Statement-0617.pdf

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