Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another barbaric idea from Harriet Harman: targets for police and prosecutors to jack up rape convictions

Labour's deputy leader in the UK is at it again: "Ms Harman is understood to want a more radical overhaul of the law which could include targets for prosecutors and police to secure more convictions."

The comment I left on the Times Online:

As the founder of the leading internet site giving voice to victims of false rape claims, The False Rape Society, I find the suggestion of "targets for prosecutors and police to secure more convictions," in all its Star Chamber ramifications, to be among the most barbaric I have encountered.

This proposal mocks the image of blindfolded Lady Justice meting out justice in accordance with the facts of the particular case before the court. Ideological zeal that sweeps over the rights of the presumed innocent, and that pretends "justice" can be achieved by meeting quotas, has no place in the most advanced jurisprudence the world has ever known.

The notion of hitting targets for convictions blinks at the maxim handed down some 250 years ago by the celebrated English jurist William Blackstone: It is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." (Commentaries on the Laws of England.) This principle not only is fundamental to our criminal jurisprudence, it is the hallmark of a civilized society, and it is has never been seriously challenged. Until now, that is.

Will the rights of innocent men and boys be jeopardized if police or prosecutors have difficulty meeting their rape conviction targets? The question scarcely survives it's statement.

Persons of good will the world over implore you not to allow Ms. Harman to politicize and defile the criminal justice system that has long been the model of civility throughout the world.

Pierce Harlan