Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Law is an ass....

I've had this feeling building up in me for years that Law in general really needs some fresh thinking and serious reform.

I suppose the Mr. A case this week tipped me over the edge into something close to a state of rage. I'm not going to go into this in detail but let's just state a few stark realities...

The difficulty with the existing piece of law it seems related to not allowing for the defense by an accused that they genuinely thought that the girl was over the correct age. In the Mr. A case the guy admitted he KNEW the girl was 12 years old at the time. However because of the technicality of the piece of law being deemed imperfect due to the non-allowance of defense of genuine assumption by an accused of age of victim - it was decided the entire piece is flawed and we throw out the whole damn piece of legislation - both currently and historically. Mr. A knew he was guilty of a crime, so did his defense team - and Mr. A even apologized for what he did as he was released. It seems the Judge could not take any other decision as it would involve the court in "a process akin to legislation".

What a disaster. If we can't allow Judges to make intelligent moral decisions in the stark irrefutable logic of justice then the law is indeed an ass.

I'm not just talking about Irish Law. It's the same Worldwide. Everything is about minute technical detail - Law and Justice are two different worlds when it comes to the written detail. Yet we allow (rightly I believe) considerable outcome variations to occur by using random juries to decide guilt or innocence and the level of sentencing (within ranges) is at discretion of a Judge - so that two seemingly very similar cases can have wildly different sentences by different judges. I believe the execution of true justice must become a foundation of all interpretation of written law. Furthermore I think the performance of individuals in the legal system (from solicitors upwards) needs more than self regulation from within, it needs outside independent monitoring.

All I'm asking is that we laterally rethink many of the parameters which make up LAW and give us what we all want - JUSTICE.


Anonymous said...

Easier said than done! Lawyers are paid a lot of money to come up with interpretations of that law that can be used to ensure that their clients don't pay for their crimes. What's required is modernisation to ensure that the laws reflect the current norms of society and also simplification to ensure that there are less loopholes to be exploited.

What's happened here is that the government didn't want to grasp the nettle of age of consent laws as recommended by the Law Reform Commission because it would, as is now being suggested, probably involve the lowering of the age of consent to 16. Your average likely voter, parents - particularly of young girls, won't be best pleased by such a move.

John of Dublin said...

I can't disagree with anything you said. I'm just looking for a fresh approach and modernisation as you mention and your point about simplification is good. And btw - Im not suggesting any of this will be easy.