The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just A Minute.....

The police are dealing with the horrible Bristol murder, and we ought to let them get on with their job. A man is in custody, and investigations continue. If there is enough evidence the CPS will authorise charge, and the justice system will take its course.

Partly because of the time of year and partly because the victim was a photogenic young woman the press have gone all the way to report who they (nudge-nudge) think did it. High quality full-face photographs adorn every front page.

I grew up used to phrases such as 'helping police with their enquiries'. Even before the current tight rules on identification evidence photographs of suspects were not printed for fear of prejudicing a jury. .

It may be unlikely in this or any case, but if the evidence turned on identification, a notoriously tricky area of law, how the heck could twelve jurors be found in Bristol who did not already know what the accused looks like?

It's a lost cause of course, as our system becomes more and more American.

(Later) The Attorney-General isn't happy either. Shame it's too late.

Update - Fat lot of good the AG's warning did: The Sun couldn't give a toss.