- Crime is at unacceptable levels. People do not feel safe. Houses are broken into and residents assaulted. Crime must be reduced.
- Judges too often absolve people of responsibility for their behaviour. Victims suffer for life while perpetrators get slapped on the wrist. Judges must be made to realise their role is not to forgive, but to apply the criminal sanctions of the law. They must act in accordance with the dictates of society, not their conscience. They are free to resign and if they are unable to do their job, must be sacked. Judges performance could be assessed annually by say, juries chosen at random from the electoral role.
- Police clear up rates are too low. Criminals no longer fear the police and victims often don’t even bother reporting crime. Criminal investigations are becoming public relations exercise undertaken without any expectation of catching or convicting the perpetrators. Police resources are spread too thinly and our prisons and court system are clogged up dealing with victimless crimes. Police must be focussed on ensuring our security and given the support required to function successfully. The judicial system needs to be revamped and the statute book revised. The system must be redesigned to enable the police to ensure the safety of our property and person.
- The judicial system is arcane and overly sensitive to the calibre of the barrister and prosecution. There is far too great a tendency for guilty clients of good barristers to be found innocent, while innocent clients of poor barristers are found guilty. Justice needs to be restored to the judicial system. Legal procedures and practices need to be comprehensively revamped to create a fair and just criminal justice system.
- Certainty of capture and conviction needs to become the cornerstone of the system. This is the yardstick by which the system must be measured.
Restoring Truth and Justice
The legal system has evolved from one featuring champions fighting with sword and shield to one in which champions battle with arcane rules of procedure and precedent. Neither method has much to do with finding out the truth. To find out the truth you need to look at the evidence. All the evidence, not just some small part the defence has not been able to get excluded. If necessary have experts or even the judge sit with the jury to explain why some of the evidence can’t be trusted. But don’t deny the jury the opportunity to see the facts.
If police illegally obtain information then they should be prosecuted for breaking and entering, breach of privacy or whatever. The evidence itself should still be admitted as it will help find out the truth. Not admitting evidence makes it likely the jury will come to the wrong conclusion and let a guilty man go free. Freeing someone in this manner is an insult to their past and future victims. It is wrong for the police to act illegally to get information and it is wrong to let criminals go free. Two wrongs do not make a right. If necessary punish the criminal and those who criminally obtained the evidence. Don’t let some psychopathic murder or rapist back into the community. That way the wrong gets compounded every time the criminal strikes again.
Most facets of life in the west have improved immensely over the last 100 years. We have become much more efficient and this allows us to lead much better lives. It is time the criminal justice system was made more efficient. This too would allow us to lead much better lives. It would increase our freedom. Gone would be much of the threat to our person and property from criminals wrongly acquitted. Gone too would be much of the fear of being wrongly convicted. Truth is central to justice and we neglect that at our peril.
There is huge scope for improvements in the system. It must be made relatively insensitive to the calibre of the defence and prosecution. Having good prosecutors or defence attorneys significantly influencing results is the same as saying the guilty will go free or the innocent will be convicted, depending on the calibre of the defence or prosecution, not the truth of the matter. Clearly this element needs to be minimised and ideally competent people ought to be capable of representing themselves and seeing justice done.
Instead of fixing their system judges seem intent on expanding their influence. It is not enough for them to simply apply the law, they want to create it. As “Reflections of a Survivor of State Judicial Election Warfare” makes clear. In America many judges are elected and the people can hold them accountable for their actions. In other jurisdictions there are no such constraints, with judges effectively being appointed for the rest of their working lives. There is little to stop them trying to use their position to remodel society as they see fit. This lack of accountability to the people is particularly apparent with the expansion of international courts. It’s not surprising that the “Internationale” was the anthem of socialism. International law is a similarly flawed method of achieving utopia and needs to be opposed.
The “job for life” has long since disappeared from the rest of society, competition as the spur to progress, efficiency and improved performance being incompatible with it. All people benefit from being held accountable for their work. Those jurisdictions that don’t have regular judicial performance review need to implement them. Judges need to be answerable to the people in regular elections.
The lack of accountability to the people is particularly apparent with international courts. These by definition are not going to be answerable to the people. They are answerable to a bureaucracy and a trademark of bureaucrats is their desire to expand their own influence. They will try to use their position to remodel society as they see fit. But international law is as flawed a system as socialism for achieving utopia.
In May 2002 President Bush “unsigned” President Clinton’s signature on the treaty creating the International Criminal Court. This splendid example ought to be followed and extended to other treaties.