Archive for April 2nd, 2010

April 2nd, 2010

Slope that playing field

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Like politicians, journalists are often accused of talking out of their arses. A prime example of someone expelling his thought processes through his anus & onto the pages of the Guardian’s website is one George Monbiot.

In his blog on the newspaper’s website this week he says the aquittal of Sgt Delroy Smellie in the infamous G20 baton strike case was ‘ridiculous’. His drivel is entitled “Police officers must face trial by jury” & goes on to tell how he is left “gawping in disbelief” at the outcome of the trial. He openly admits that his only knowledge of the evidence is  the YouTube footage, but somehow demands the right to to try & convict the police officer without any access to the evidence presented.

Monbiot says: “The courts and prosecutors are renowned for their lenient treatment of police officers. The need for a jury trial in these cases is even more pressing than in others.” So, if I get that right,  the same rights afforded to everyone else should not be afforded to police officers. And, in a crass misunderstanding of the legal system, he suggests by inference that the ‘solution’ to police officers ‘getting off’ is to put them before the Crown Court.

Anyone who has been in the law enforcement/judicial field for longer than the time it takes to check out YouTube would realise what a ridiculous proposition this actually is. The plain fact of the matter is that MORE people ‘get off’ at crown court than they do at Magistrates. That’s why the pettiest of criminals in the most pathetic of cases opt for trial by jury when given the chance; because there’s more chance of them getting off.

In 2006 the highest conviction rate for crown court was 71% for summary offences, with indictable motoring offences only 53% were convicted, 55% of drug offenders were convicted & only 22% of criminal damage charges were upheld.

By contrast the conviction rates at Magistrates in 2006 were summary offences, 98% drug offences 97%,  damage 93%,  motoring offences 97%, overall the conviction rate was 97% across all offences.

Granted many of those figures will be for people who pleaded guilty, but given that in many cases the defendant will have the option to be tried at magistrates or elect for a crown court trial, there is a reason that many elect for trial by jury; because there is more liklihood of them getting off.

Of course, I might be talking out of my arse. I have no idea whether police officers specifically have more chance of getting off at crown court as I’ve not had time to try & find out, neither am I paid to get my facts right.