Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Justice Sec Kenny MacAskill and SNP Govt considering plans to ‘poison’ the minds of juries and deny accused persons the right to a fair trial!
The right to a fair trial is a human right; the defence of Article Six rights is a cornerstone of a decent society.
When a criminal case is being tried in a Court of Law, the proceedings are based on the evidence presented by the Crown in relation to the crime.
Justice under the SNP Government is a disgrace.
I have previously blogged on the need to sack Kenny MacAskill as a necessary prelude to even attempt to win independence.
Quite frankly he is unfit to be the Justice Minister of Scotland, if you take the time to read Ian Hamilton of Stone of Destiny fame, he lays quite well the case for the removal of MacAskill.
He isn’t the Justice Minister, fair and impartial; he is in the pocket of the Crown Office.
This has led to disgraceful decisions and bad judgement such as the row with the UK Supreme Court (never winnable) and the Cadder Case (open and shut human rights abuse).
Now proposals have been brought forward to effectively corrupt trials in favour of the prosecution.
Judges and jurors in Scotland will be able to hear evidence not related to the trial regarding an accused person’s previous convictions and "bad character."
The idea comes from a panel that advises the Scottish Government on new legislation, the Scottish Law Commission.
If such a move is introduced in Scotland, it would be a retrograde step, is prejudicing a trial a good move?
It is all a matter of checks and balances to coin a phrase and this is not helpful, it will lead to miscarriages of justice because straightaway evidence will become secondary, and it is the evidence that should be subject to testing not the accused.
This turns the right to a fair trial on its head as under these proposals a person would have to prove their innocence, which means the less articulate stand a higher probability of being convicted even if they never done the offence.
Donald Findlay QC has expressed "horror and disgust" at the proposals.
"It is another fundamental strike at the very heart of what has been our distinctive legal system for hundreds of years that, except in very particular circumstances, we try people on the evidence, not on what they may or may not have done in the past. I can guarantee there will be horrific miscarriages of justice."
Niall McCluskey, an advocate and human rights expert, said:
"This is not conducive to a fair trial. It is ironic that under an SNP Government our criminal justice system is becoming more and more like the English system."
In the UK Supreme row, the SNP Government also wanted Scotland to be brought into line with England.
Patrick Layden, QC, the lead commissioner on the project, said:
"Evidence of how the accused has acted on another occasion is relevant to whether he has acted in a similar way in relation to the offence with which he is charged. It does not become irrelevant because he has been convicted on that other occasion. This report, if implemented, will ensure that the jury can consider all relevant information. We believe all the relevant evidence should be before the jury. The argument depends on where you would strike the balance between the interests of society and the interests of those charged with a crime. If someone with five convictions for rape was charged with rape then these convictions would go before the jury."
Clearly Layden doesn’t believe in human rights and a fair trial.
If Kenny MacAskill goes ahead with these proposals he is clearly a bigger fool that I previously took him for, but since stupidity is clearly valued far more than intelligence in the Scottish National Party, he will probably roll these recommendations out as part of judicial reforms.
What a pity that the First SNP Justice Minister turned out to be the Crown Office’s man in the Scottish Cabinet, not a man of vision and of calibre as Sir George Mackenzie (c.1636–1691).
Acting like just another shitty little ambulance chaser wanting to be loved!
Maybe my friend’s suggestion of 25% in the Yes Vote for independence may not be as wildly speculative as I previously thought.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University