We often find out about defence and prosecution arguments in historic abuse trials, rarely – if ever – do we discover what members of juries in these cases were thinking.
An anonymous post giving one person’s view on how the justice system seems to be abandoning legal process in historic sex abuse cases has been published on the FAHSA website.
To be honest, as the trial was quite a while ago now, I don’t remember many of the details. What I do remember is that there wasn’t any evidence and not too much detail. I kept waiting for something which I could make sense of.
There was only one witness, a female relative, who didn’t actually say very much other than that the accuser had told her (recently) what had happened. She hadn’t actually been witness to any of the alleged acts.
Both the accuser and her relative did not seem very convincing with their answers, in fact I felt they might be lying. It was almost as if it had been rehearsed. They were very careful with their words and the barristers seemed very careful with their questions. However, I told myself that they could be nervous and struggling to speak at all in front of the court.
The accused when he was questioned came across as quite believable with his answers. However, I told myself that this meant nothing, perhaps he’s a very good at lying
I told myself to wait for the evidence, because that would help. I waited in anticipation every day, watching and listening to the barristers performing. They (in particular the prosecution) were the only part of the proceedings that reminded me of a television drama. Although the prosecutor was quite entertaining and obviously enjoying every minute of his performance, looking back I find it rather irritating that a criminal case was treated in this way.
My wait for evidence was in vain.
The barristers’ questioning fell short of my expectation that it would provide anything to go on. I expected the questioning to result in some detail that proved that the accused had at least been in a certain place on a certain date, but I suppose with historical cases that’s very difficult. There was no evidence in the whole trial.
The accused was found guilty by 11 votes to 1, with hers being the only dissenting voice.
…. During the following weeks it was on my mind a lot. How can this happen? What if someone accused me or my husband for something I hadn’t done or, even worse, my son? How would we prove we were innocent if the allegations related to events that were supposed to have occurred years ago? I’ve thought about this from time to time over the years and pushed it to the back of my mind. However, since the Savile revelations and the knee-jerk reaction which has resulted in high-profile cases, I have thought about it once again.
One thing I do know is that if ever I am called to carry out jury service again, I will opt out of any sex abuse case.
Something is VERY WRONG in a justice system which will allow people to be jailed by a jury which can only guess who is lying. Is this really the law in the United Kingdom? Why do we accept it?
To read the whole article please visit the FAHSA website.