Jamie Bauld is an 18 year old lad from Scotland. He had a run in with the law last year & his story is told this week in the newspapers & radio.
Jamie was investigated, interviewed & charged with an offence of racially aggravated assault last year. Nothing unusual or newsworthy in that. The thing which made it hit the news was that Jamie has Downs Syndrome & a mental age of just 5.
Jamie was at college last year (in the special needs department) when he was involved in an incident with a slightly older Asian girl, also with Downs Syndrome. Jamie’s family said that he had previously complained to them that the female in question followed Jamie around & her behaviour scared him. The parents advised Jamie to walk away. In September the girl apparently came up to Jamie while he was eating his dinner. He pushed her & told her to go away. Later that day they received a call from the college explaining what had happened & advising that both Jamie & the girl had been reprimanded.
You’d have thought that would have been the end of the matter, after all, Jamie’s parents summed it up when they said it was like a couple of 5 year olds arguing.
No, this is Great Britain, the land where everything has to be approved by the state. Later the family saw an advert in a local paper asking for witnesses to a racial assault occurring the same day at the college. They then received a call from two of Scotland’s finest who proceeded to interview Jamie getting a ‘cough’ from him to slapping the girl’s face. The officers advised that there was nothing to worry about & they would advise the procurator fiscal of Jamie’s condition & thought that would be the end of it.
Oh contrare, the family received a letter from the prosecuting authority to say they had enough evidence to prosecute Jamie for the assault. Seven & a half months later the received a letter saying the proceedings had been dropped.
Another victory for justice, a detection for the Scottish stats.
I know I should not be surprised at some of the things which happen in our legal system, & I know that in the end charges were dropped. But I can’t believe that we have a legal system which allows a lad with Downs & a mental age of 5 to go through the rigmarole of being cautioned & interviewed & charged with a criminal offence over what was basically a kids spat dealt with by staff at the time. The lad clearly has no concept of racisim & no understanding of the judicial process. I wonder how much damage this has done to the lad. His mother said he had no understanding of what the police officers who interviewed him were doing – he thanked them & shook their hands when they finished. Some time later he said that his mum & he should run away to Australia in case the police came back.
I don’t know who deserves more criticism, the government for introducing systems which make the police think they have to follow every reported incident to the nth degree or the local police department for not having anyone in the chain of review stepping in to say, wait a minute, there are cases which deserve our time & effort & those which don’t.
I think the whole case is a pretty sad indictment on the state of our legal system.