Saturday, June 24, 2006

Blairs Balancing Act

Our Prime Minister has now spoken about rebalancing the criminal justice system.

A comment was made on a different web site that I thought was rather good:
Interesting speech but much of it does seem to be political spin:

"Here is the point. Each time someone is the victim of anti-social behaviour, of drug related crime; each time an illegal immigrant enters the country or a perpetrator of organised fraud or crime walks free, someone else's liberties are contravened, often directly, sometimes as part of wider society. It's no use saying that in theory there should be no conflict between the traditional protections for the suspect and the rights of the law-abiding majority because, as a result of the changing nature of crime and society, there is, in practice, such a conflict; and every day we don't resolve it, by rebalancing the system, the consequence is not abstract, it is out there, very real on our streets."

If Mr. Blair is seeking to rebalance the system he is in fact talking about tipping the scales in favour of the victim, does that not mean that the saftey of some questions will be called in to question? Bad character has been brought in, I have seen a spate of applications made in the early days, and now less and less applications for bad character are made. I sometimes sit down with Clients at the first hearing and advise them that if bad character is thrown in to their trial they might as well plead guilty. Hearsay applications, I have had about two of these in the past year.

Custody plus, now there is an idea that is supposed to balance the system. Send people to prison but ensure that they keep their jobs. Custody plus cannot work at this time because NOMS cannot provide the support that is required.

Bail has been tightened up with regards to drug users, but there are still areas where there are no drug workers and the Court is unable to take advantage of these laws because the system has not been put in to effect.

The real danager is that if the system is rebalanced then cases where the evidence by today's standard is not good enough for a conviction will result in convictions by tomorrow's lesser standards.

If Blair put the right funding in to NOMS and increased their staffing levels by massive amounts he would then be able to monitor offenders and tackle reoffending rates.

What I want to know is what does Mr. Blair actually intend to do to rebalance the system? His speech was not particularly clear to identify what is going to do other than think about things.

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