To an extent it’s never really been possible for anyone going to court to feel they got justice although there are exceptions. The exceptions are really mainly based on money. How much you can afford to spend to get the best legal team who are basically better than the Crown or the Procurator Fiscal teams? Money has always talked in court although it may not solve all problems although it will solve many.
For the man in the street it’s a tricky business, which has become trickier of late. There seem to be two specific areas where justice has become more difficult; being tried for the same crime more than once and the issue of the MSM giving out far too many details of the accused and the crime prior to the court case. In both examples it’s clear that the defendant is placed in a much more difficult position. Of course the same could be said of the victim and their families, if and when the justice system gets its wrong.
You will no doubt be able to look back at TV news items and wonder how the person accused of the crime l ever got a fair trial given the amount of coverage. Or you’ve seen people being retried for a crime and again seeing a lot of information on TV news and in the newspapers.
The two most stand out cases are the Arlene Fraser disappearance case and the Stephen Lawrence murder case. Both played out with significant press coverage. Indeed the judge in the Arlene Fraser case instructed the jury members to set aside anything they may have heard, seen or spoken about with regard to the previous trial. How could they possibly manage that?
The press have also gone too far at times and ended up being sued by people they had suggested may have been significantly involved in a crime only to see the Police satisfied that the unfortunate individual took no part in the crime whatsoever. This helps no one.
Double jeopardy, retrials seem to suggest that in certain circumstances the Crown will continue to take the accused to court until such times as they get the result that they want. However, the victim’s families want to see justice and want their nightmare to end.
Perhaps the Leveson enquiry could do something about the excessive and damaging overage, which is given to the accused? Given that they can’t even secure the building and the room the enquiry is being held in, well who knows.
The Police are under pressure to solve the crime and have the person responsible charged, tried and sentenced and this has all to be done within the confines of a fair justice system.
Is it a fair justice system though?