Rush to judgement for anonymous trial witnesses...wronging a Right....more hastily prepared laws restricting ancient Common Law Rights
Well here IS a surprise. Justice Minister Maria Eagle (never voted against the Government) is reported by the BBC saying that as a result of the succesful Davis appeal which rules out the use of anonymous witnesses except where provided for by current legislation : "We're looking very urgently at the implications of the judgement. "
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "I certainly accept, and I said some time ago, that there is a problem here that we need to solve."
"We are working now... to look at what we need to do to put this right."
The justice secretary, war criminal Jack Straw, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he could put anonymous evidence on a statutory footing before December's Queen's speech.
"I'm looking at this as we speak," he said. "Ever since this judgment on Wednesday this has been my major preoccupation - to ensure that we are able to change the law as quickly as possible."
""We are working now... to look at what we need to do to put this right." said kebab chomping Jacqi Smith ...Oh no she isn't. The Government want to chang / mangle / destroy the common law that has survive for centuries to provide cover for the scret stitch up between the CPS and the Police, in defiance of the Common Law by allowing witnesses not only the cover of screens, but also anonymity, voice modulation and secrecy about their names, occupations, addresses. Thus denying the defendant the chance to truly test the accusers evidence and reasons for it.
Shock and Horror, scream the headlines .... a £6 million murder trial was halted at the Old Bailey today .
Common law and uncommon practices
It is now apparent that the Police and CPS lawyers had become so cocky in skipping round the Common Law. Misleading juries by preventing proper cross examination of witnesses. Making the job of obtaining evidence by the Police and case preparation by the CPS lawyers much easier. There are now at least 44 trials halted in their tracks, and a substantial number who will as a result of the Davis judgement, be subject to appeal .. and then a possible re-trial.
LORD BROWN OF EATON-UNDER-HEYWOOD @ Para 66 of the Davis Appeal Judgment said ..." ..If, .... the government now think it right to legislate in this field, so be it. Meantime, however, the creeping emasculation of the common law principle must be not only halted but reversed. It is the integrity of the judicial process that is at stake here. This must be safeguarded and vindicated whatever the cost. "
LORD CARSWELL @ Para 51 quoted the consequences identified of anonymity spelled out by Judge Ackermann in the South African case of State v Leepile (5) 1986 (4) SA 187, 189:
"The consequences to the accused of such a wide direction are, inter alia, the following:
(a) No investigation could be conducted by the accused's legal representatives into the witness' background to ascertain whether he has a general reputation for untruthfulness, whether he has made previous inconsistent statements nor to investigate other matters which might be relevant to his credibility in general.
(b) It would make it more difficult to make enquiries to establish that the witness was not at places on the occasions mentioned by him.
(c) It would further heighten the witness' sense of impregnability and increase the temptation to falsify or exaggerate."
Which , when considering the credibility of witnesses who frequent nightclubs in the early hours and are involved in the fringes of drug dealing and criminality, or who may be paid police informers on paint ball expeditions of brown men with beards, or help brown men with beards buy allegedly bomb making chemicals etc., etc., must be taken into account by a jury.
This is Gemma Garrett s latest Speech in her race for the seat of Haltemprice and Haydon - catch up with her Blog She will be speaking about David Davis's limp performae on You and Yours BBC 4 today which you can hear here. In which the surprise Studio guest was Gary Hindle (?) from the Royal United Seervices Institute, that fair minded bunch of Right Wing bastards and (fully paid up) members of the LadyDame Jane Pauline Baroness Neville Jones an Club for whom 42 days detention without charge is is nowhere near long enough.
As Lord Patel explained to Gemma over a cool, refeshing and relaxing glass of non post coital orange juice, his Nanny used to say..." Well Teddy, they must be very bad men, or else the Policemen wouldn't have taken them away".