Sex offender trials

There’s nothing like a sex case to get the tabloids, the “broad sheets”, televison and radio as well as politicians chatting.

The recent “debate” about comments made by Prosecuting Counsel and the supposed lenient sentence, following on from Stuart Hall’s case makes me wonder why we bother with Court at all. Why dont we just throw some “facts” mixed in with comment on to the internet and have a vote and decide the guilty person’s fate that way?

I dont know the prosecuting barrister in the case of the 13 year old girl. What I do know is that any comment by prosecuting counsel is based upon evidence. Evidence he has seen or been told by Police or been shown by the defence. My guess is that social services records and Police enquiries were the basis for what he said.

The truth is however that an adult should never avoid jail for having sex with a child (unless there is such proximity in age and a real bond that it is not in the public interest to prosecute). But is that what happened in this case? Did the defendant have sex with a child?

To what charge did he plead guilty?

What is the victim’s history?

What do we know about the 41 year old man?

There has been a lot of comment and not a lot of fact.

The fact is that daily many sex offenders are sentenced appropriately and both defence and prosecution advocates address the Court appropriately and Judges manage cases appropriately. One poorly reported case, a lot of comment and suddenly there MUST be a review.

The only review that is really urgently required is “why are so many people allowed to comment about something about which they know very little?”