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British Criminal Justice in Crisis

NCJ Number
Police Journal Volume: 63 Issue: 4 Dated: (October-December 1990) Pages: 325-329
A Green
Date Published
5 pages
In this address, the speaker names two situations in which there is a gross miscarriage of justice: when a defendant is in fact guilty, but is acquitted in spite of sufficient evidence, and when a defendant is innocent, but is convicted.
He explains that in the first scenario, the jury conjure up unreasonable and fanciful doubts about the case based mostly on what they have heard or read about highly publicized cases and that the only infallible way to avoid the second scenario is to prosecute nobody. He refutes the sentiment that it is a lesser evil to acquit a hundred guilty criminals than to convict one innocent person, essentially saying that it is absurd and useless to try to quantify such values. The criminal justice system must do all it reasonably can to prevent such miscarriages of justice, and the most it can reasonably be expected to do is to minimize them. He cites the audio taping of police interviews with suspects as a substantial improvement and declares that the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and other acts have not, as some commentators have said, made matters worse.


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