Robbery victim too honest ... so judge halts trial, acquits accused

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. dong20

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    In the UK recently, witness evidence was effectively dismissed because the witness was ... wait for it - too honest, of too high a character and too credible and thus her 'witness testimony' may have adversely influenced the jury in their deliberations. So, telling the truth and being credible in court is now cause for one's witness evidence to be disregarded?

    Of course I can understand the legal reasoning; in part the possible presumption of racial motivation (based on such a short and positive ID) laying grounds for a potential reversal on appeal. But such an intimation is spurious, hypothetical and above all unproven, and, as I recall, that's what the court of appeal is for ... isn't it?
    l
    I'd imagine a transcript would make an interesting read, but I also suspect there is a little more to this than meets the eye, in part because it appears to have been covered primarily by the red tops and freebies, but I found this in an online 'broadsheet':

    Judge tells female witness: you're too believable - Times Online
     
  2. Gillette

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    Absurd.

    The world really has gone mad, hasn't it?
     
  3. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    The article states that the CPS has no plans to appeal the decision. I think that's a tremendous mistake as the judge has stated this isn't an isolated case in his courtroom. I hope there is some kind of judicial review of judges like this.
     
  4. dong20

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    In theory there are a couple of avenues; the OJC (Office for Judicial Complaints) and peer review and I suppose ultimately the appeals process.

    The OJC is primarily concerned with matters of personal conduct, not law - the latter being more the remit of the appeals court. Peer appraisal is unlikely to result in censure for obvious reasons unless there is clear and unarguable malfeasance.

    An overhaul of peer appraisal was mooted last summer but the idea fell on stony ground. Essentially, Judges are 'operationally' unaccountable (at least High Court Judges are) other than the appeals process. I imagine that's far from unusual in judicial systems worldwide.

    As a 'Purple', Judge Tabor (appointed to bench in 2003) could be 'reprimanded' by a High Court Judge, however it seems unlikely anything more than a quiet word 'in one's ear' would result from this and of course that wouldn't have any effect on the trial outcome.

    As I wrote earlier, without sight of all the evidence, and not having being present during proceedings it's hard to render an informed opinion; other than prima facie, it seems to fly in the face of common sense.
     
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