I’ve recently been discussing the changes in the law relating to jury trials with my dad. David Blunkett wants to make the jury aware of previous convictions of a defendent during a trial (see the coverage in the Guardian or the Telegraph. The idea is abhorrent to me, a defendent should be convicted or released on the basis of the evidence and NOT on whether they’ve done similar things before. Even serial offenders should be given the chance to go straight. My dad argues that I’m patronising the jurors, and they should be able to disregard the information given it does not determine whether they commited the crime they are being tried for or not. I disagree, in most cases the information will be discarded but as it is not relevant, it should not be presented in the first place, and will cause miscarriages of justice.
I was hoping there would be an outcry in blogs which if mirrored elsewhere might cause a change of policy but the blogs I regularly read have been relatively quiet on the subject, there is limited coverage but outside the dedicated political blogs it hasn’t generated the hue and cry I’d hope for…hopefully it is a storm still brewing.