Friday, 28 September 2012

Enhancing the law in cases of racism and sexual offences

I’m no legal expert so my terminology may lack some expertise. One thing that’s struck me this week over John Terry, is that a court of law could not find him guilty due to the need to be beyond reasonable doubt. The FA could however rule him guilty on the mechanism of in all probability.

This got me thinking about the law of the land with regard to racism and sexual assault/rape cases. Very often, the nature of the evidence may mean there is insufficient conclusive evidence to remove reasonable doubt. So what if we flipped these to “in all probability”?

The issue is the defendant… it may never be considered appropriate to imprison based on probability. So perhaps courts need a two tier punishment system, and a jury can decide on both counts within the same court case.
If a conviction beyond reasonable doubt can be achieved, then go with the imprisonment option. If the evidence falls short of such a conviction, then at least an “in all probability” guilty verdict could be given. The penalty would be less (and in the scheme of things obviously still not sufficient for someone getting off committing such vile crimes), and could be in the realms of fines, sex offenders register, criminal record, even suspended sentences and probably other sanctions that my non-legal mind can’t think of.

At the very least this would give a criminal record and ensure someone who very likely perpetrated the crime, does not get a not-guilty verdict. I think however, it may be hard for the victim to support the case if they felt their assailant was likely to be out on the street after a probability ruling, but then that happens when they’re found not guilty too.

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