Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%. It’s at the top end of the Labour lead than YouGov have been showing over the last two weeks, but is probably just normal random variation (before anyone asks, it’s too soon really to see a Ken Clarke effect).

Meanwhile, turning to the other cabinet member under fire, this morning’s Sun also had a YouGov question on Chris Huhne’s future: 49% think he should resign, 29% think not, and 23% don’t know.


348 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 36, LAB 42, LD 9”

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  1. Further on the reaction to the Clarke proposals on sentencing, YouGov now have a poll up showing the state of public opinion:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-kenclarkecrimes-200511.pdf

    On the surface it looks bad for Clarke – the public want him to resign by 47% to 42%. But a lot of this is due to Labour supporters. Tories still back him by 59% to 32% and Lib Dems are even more enthusiastic for him to stay – 68% to 25%.

    They are less enthusiastic about his proposals however. Only 21% support the maximum reduction for an early guilty plea being 50% and 64% oppose it. Even Lib Dems are against 42% to 41%. (The question is slightly spoilt by the wording being The government have proposed that this reduction in sentence be increased to 50% rather than “up to 50%”).

    In addition YouGov asked about the general principle of such reductions. Only 10% felt they should apply generally, while 51% backed There should be a reduction in sentences for people who plead guilty to minor crimes, but it should not apply to serious crimes like rape or murder. 33% thought there should be no reduction at all. There was little difference between Labour or Conservative but again Lib Dems were the most er liberal. 27% back reductions for any crime.

    Or they were the most practical and compassionate. If no reduction is given for guilty pleas, all those accused will have nothing to lose by taking the most expensive option of full trial as there will be nothing to gain by pleading guilty and always a chance however small of an acquittal. For the most serious crimes there will extra pressure on witnesses and in rape particularly aggressive cross-examination of victims. I suspect this is not what most people asked were hoping for.

    That said there is one aspect of the Clarke proposals worry me. Especially for minor crimes there may be pressure for innocent defendants to plead guilty where they have a poor or complicated case. Because of the cutbacks in legal aid, legal assistance in such cases will be limited and a further reduction in sentencing could tempt some lawyers to offer a deal and for defendants to accept it.

  2. It seems to me that the principle at play here is that of accepting responsibility for the crime. If I understand correctly, the terms of getting parole include a requirement that you admit to the crime. Those who plead guilty have effectively already done that.

    Rather than changing the sentence according to plea (which I agree with RM rather acts against the interests of justice for the accused – it’s an inducement to plead guilty even when you aren’t), pleading guilty *some period in advance* might be used as a basis for when prisoners might first be eligible for parole.

    I don’t think the benefit should apply to those changing their plea to not guilty during a trial – it’s apparently very common for a not guilty plea to be adhered to until the trial starts and the defence can see if the prosecution witnesses have turned up.

  3. Just read an interesting piece – Labour’s shrinking lead – on the YG site.

    And also read a piece on Political; betting regarding an Ipsos Mori poll about thwta issues are the most important for people now.

    I recommend both.

    The IM poll shows that the economy (unsurprisingly) is still way out ahead of everything else, but the number placing it first has dropped since the last poll.

    The YG piece attributes the narrowing of the Lab lead over Cons to the improvement in the economy.

  4. “And also read a piece on Political; betting regarding an Ipsos Mori poll about thwta issues are the most important for people now.”

    should read

    “And also read a piece on Political Betting regarding an Ipsos Mori poll about which issues are the most important for people now.”

  5. Mike N

    If you want to look at the Ipsos-MORI trend index, the summary going back to 1997 is here:

    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=56&view=wide

    If you move your pointer over the cryptic abbreviations for each column, it tells you what they mean and you can move the slider at the bottom of each year to see all the categories.

    The latest questions were asked 6-12 May, so things prominent in the news since then will not have had an influence

  6. @MIKE N
    Wonders will never cease, I totally endorse your recommendations regarding Political Betting articles. Very good stuff.

  7. Roger
    Thanks – As Mike Smithson remarked IM has been doing this poll for a long long time.

  8. @ Colin

    God protect us from these people!
    ————————————
    Yes, I agree – & would add: Whatever colour of badge they are wearing!

    It is not the ‘process’ of consultation that gets a good outcome (although process is the legal obligation), it is the spirit of it. Which means, IMO, you take a pay cut &/or resign before you deal badly with those for whom ordinary life itself is a challenge.

    If I were ever to become a local councillor, I sincerely hope I would resign before I’d support a court case against the right of the severely disabled to be properly cared for. I really do not know what these Birmingham councillors were thinking!
    8-)

  9. @ Roger Mexico

    That said there is one aspect of the Clarke proposals worry me. Especially for minor crimes there may be pressure for innocent defendants to plead guilty where they have a poor or complicated case. Because of the cutbacks in legal aid, legal assistance in such cases will be limited and a further reduction in sentencing could tempt some lawyers to offer a deal and for defendants to accept it.
    —————————————————
    This aspect of sentence reduction weighs heavy in my mind too. IMO, those who are mentally ill, uneducated & cannot afford proper representation would be almost fools not to take a 50% deal, even if they are innocent. Anything else is too risky, especially given that continuing to protest one’s innocence after conviction makes it unlikely they will get time off or parole.
    8-)

  10. @Roger Mexico / Amberstar,

    I think you have a quaint and rather cuddly view of people who might admit an offence and plead Guilty to it, despite being innocent.

    Innocent people don’t need to say “I did it”. Innocent people have the luxury of saying “I didn’t do it” and then explaining, in detail, why theyare innocent.

    Personally I am in favour of the 50% reduction, but I believe it should only apply to people who admit their guilt in their police interview. I suppose that means I am pulling in a different direcion from you.

  11. NEIL A

    I’m deeply disturbed by the concept of plea bargaining, which is essentially what any discount for pleading guilty is.

    Where a case is complex, or relies on disputed events, then innocent people can be wrongfully convicted. Witnesses are unreliable, scientific evidence can be misinterpreted and misunderstood, juries bring in their pre-existing prejudices… Should I gamble years of my life against these factors? A real prisoners’ dilemma.

  12. @TheSheep,

    I know that’s the “media narrative” on wrongful convictions, but really they are not nearly so much of an issue as is generally thought.

    The vast, vast majority of miscarriages of justice involve the guilty going free, not the innocent being locked up. Our courts are very thorough.

  13. Amber
    “Yes, I agree – & would add: Whatever colour of badge they are wearing! ”

    Indeed.

    I agree with your thoughts entirely.

    What gets me is the breathtaking incompetence
    of officers who job is to provide services for disabled people, but do not know their obligations under the relevant law.
    Who is going to get sacked over this issue ?…….no one.

    As for the elected “portfolio holder” , whoever he/she is , they should resign-but won’t of course.

    I have rock bottom respect for LA councillors. I know I am old fashioned-but something changed when these people stopped being citizens with a desire for voluntary civic service , and became salaried ( and pensioned!!) & expensed career politicians.

    I spent my working life in Brum. It has a civic pride which derives from the vision of it’s city “fathers ” -notably Joseph Chamberlain.

    He must be turning in his grave.

  14. Laments for the voluntarism of a bygone political age when disinterested local grandees looked after the interests of great citites are surely unhistorical. They over look the squalor and self interest of any and all governing elites. These men were no more philanthropic heroes than their aristocratic forbears in the sixteenth and seventeenth century were dashing democrats on horseback….

    The political world has evolved as has government… the consummerism of our age is a political opiate induscing political inactivity….

    Still the modern expects more and different things from its political class than noblesse oblige and it should never be forgotten that the same men who built bold and big in the great industrial cities also presided over the viscious inequities of the poor law and parish dole.

    Voluntarism is many things: it similarly built the great cathedrals of the middle ages as the town halls of the nineteenth vcentury….but its not a political philosophy and its outcomes are invariably capricious and inequitable. In the early twenty first century it will not serve as an alternative to active government.

    Party politics wasn’t responsible for the demise of the noble service of independents and ratepayers associations in running local government….social and economic change was responsible….

    And ,as ever, romantics lament a bygone age of virtue whose for virtues that never were and whose romance glisters only in the golden eye of hindsight….

  15. John Murphy.

    “These men were no more philanthropic heroes than their aristocratic forbears in the sixteenth and seventeenth century were dashing democrats on horseback….”

    A ridiculous generalisation.

    “Party politics wasn’t responsible for the demise of the noble service of independents ”

    I disagree-Career politics & the Party machine / mafia have replaced civic duty with self interest , mediocrity & incompetence.

  16. @ Colin & John Murphy

    I think the truth of local government lies somewhere between the two, to be honest.

    But I’d think we can all agree, it is not good when professional, salaried politicians cannot execute their duties within legal requirements. When this ‘dispute’ was made known to them – & keep in mind the issue is the care of severly disabled people – rather than voluntarily reconsidering, they proceeded to court & lost.

    If we are paying councillors for professional & considered management of our local services, we’d like to get what we are paying for.
    8-)

  17. @ Neil A

    The vast, vast majority of miscarriages of justice involve the guilty going free, not the innocent being locked up. Our courts are very thorough.
    ———————————————–
    May I rephrase that, please?

    The vast, vast majority of miscarriages of justice involve the [people who the police & prosecution believe are] guilty going free.

    I think there is still the presumption of innocence until one pleads guilty or is convicted; is that no longer the legal situation? Just asking….
    8-)

  18. @Amberstar,

    Suit yourself. You should remember, though, that a great deal of evidence (and other information) doesn’t get before the jury despite being perfectly reliable.

    The presumption of innocence is a matter of courtesy. It’s about how people should be treated. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “the truth”.

  19. SAPPER/ROLAND

    Are you thinking of joining the SSA – Socialist Soldiers Association? This organisation was formed towards the end of WW2 and as far as i know has continued to exist despite the fact that the are a number of documented examples which show that membership is likely to make promotion more difficult.

    Underlying my question is an interest in why military people always seem to be rght wing when he nature of military activity relies on collective action and co-operation?

  20. Neil A

    “The presumption of innocence is a matter of courtesy.”

    What a peculiar statement from someone whose job it is to uphold the law.

    If the police consider that human rights are simply a “courtesy”, then that is deeply depressing.

    We would no doubt agree that the system of justice has little (“nothing whatsoever” is somewhat extreme) to do with “truth”, but the application of a set of rules within which your good selves and the lawyers play a game.

  21. I said the presumption of innocence was a courtesy and nothing to do with the truth, not that “human rights” or “the system of justice” were such.

    Innocence or guilt is, in an absolute sense, a “factual” question. You’re either guilty or not. Whether you’re convicted or not is a different matter. The formulation of the words “innocent until proven guilty” has absolutely no philosophical meaning whatsoever. It’s practical meaning is that someone who committed a crime, but is not convicted of doing so, is entitled to be treated in exactly the same way as someone who didn’t commit a crime at all. (Even this presumption has been seriously eroded by the advent of ASBOs, control orders and other innovations).

    A woman who is raped, but whose attacker claims consent and is acquitted, doesn’t then brighten up and think “oh well, that’s great, I wasn’t actually raped after all”.

  22. Innocence or guilt is, in an absolute sense, a “factual” question. You’re either guilty or not.

    Waits for the northern hordes to descend screaming ‘Not proven’ in 4…3…2…

  23. Neil A

    “The truth” is a fairly nebulous concept itself.

    If you have a set of rules, then it is easier to decide if one of them has been broken or not.

    The current rules apply the label innocent to anyone for whom it has not been decided that they have broken a rule.

    If I pick up a pen which is identical to mine in the belief that it is mine, have I “stolen” it. The truth is presumably little to do with the law. Guilt has no valuable definition prior to some determination that I have broken a particular rule.

    Quoting a rape case (with all the emotional overtones it carries) may not have been the best example to use.

    It makes you so like Victoria Derbyshire. :-)

  24. Roger Mexico

    :-)

    Except that “Not proven” was simply one of two possible verdicts in a Scottish court.

    The prosecution had either “proven” the guilt of the accused, or had “not proven” the guilt.

    None of the nonsense about innocent or guilty until our system became infected with alien concepts.

  25. @ Amber Star and Neil A

    I would prefer that 10 guilty men go free rather than one innocent man go to jail.

    @ Neil A

    ““The presumption of innocence is a matter of courtesy.”

    Maybe for you but not for me. It’s a fundamental right that all people have, not something that’s given out as a courtesy.

    @ Old Nat

    “What a peculiar statement from someone whose job it is to uphold the law.

    If the police consider that human rights are simply a “courtesy”, then that is deeply depressing.

    We would no doubt agree that the system of justice has little (“nothing whatsoever” is somewhat extreme) to do with “truth”, but the application of a set of rules within which your good selves and the lawyers play a game.”

    You know it’s kinda funny because I consider myself a law and order person (might stem from my dad being a cop). However, my conception of law and order is different from that of others. Law and order means that the cops and the government must observe and follow the laws and rules that govern and restrict them.

  26. I totally agree with the preceding comment by Socialliberal.

  27. @ Old Nat

    “Except that “Not proven” was simply one of two possible verdicts in a Scottish court.

    The prosecution had either “proven” the guilt of the accused, or had “not proven” the guilt.

    None of the nonsense about innocent or guilty until our system became infected with alien concepts.”

    Well that’s a relief. We shorten it to ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ but it’s the same thing because ‘guilty’ means that one’s guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt and ‘not guilty’ means that the prosecution failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Last summer, I watched a high profile judge trial where the judge acquited all three defendants but stated that she thought that they were in fact probably guilty. Nevertheless, she had to find them not guilty because the prosecution had failed to meet their burden.

  28. SoCalLiberal

    Not to nitpick (though that’s exactly what I’m doing! :-) )

    “We shorten it to ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’”

    “proven” and “not proven” use exactly the same number of letters as in your system. There’s no shortening there!

  29. Oldnat, if you accidentally pick up someone else’s pen, then obviously you haven’t stolen it. That is a Fact. You are innocent. Even if you were convicted of it, you are still innocent. If you took it deliberately, intending to keep it, then you have stolen it. That too is a fact. You are guilty. Even if you’re acquitted of it, you are still guilty.

    However, if you’re not convicted of it then you are entitled to be treated as if you were innocent.

    I referred to rape, not for its emotional overtones, but because it is one of those crimes that often leave no corroborative evidence whatsoever. The only people that know whether it was rape or not are the victim and the offender. Hence it is very good test bed for hypothetical questions of guilt or innocence.

    @SoCalLiberal,

    Your conception isn’t any different from mine. I completely subscribe to your remark Law and order means that the cops and the government must observe and follow the laws and rules that govern and restrict them.

    As one of those cops I do indeed observe and follow the laws and rules. None of that is inconsistent with what I said about the presumption of innocence.

    This argument is largely semantics, and we’ve drifted a long way from Amber’s original little dig in the context of the discussion about discounts for early pleas. Suffice to say that as someone who actually has very liberal instincts on law and order issues, but who also has a very long and detailed experience of the criminal justice system, I am personally not at all troubled by the concept of encouraging early admissions/pleas by offering discounts on sentences. It is, apart from anything else, an integral part of the “laws and rules that govern” our criminal justice system, and which I observe scrupulously.

  30. @Oldnat/SoCalLiberal,

    At the risk of straying into devolved issues which, as an English bobby, I clearly have no right to have a view on, there are actually three possible verdicts in a Scottish court. Guilty, Not Guilty, and in the middle, Not Proven. There is a lot of debate about the value of Not Proven as an option for the jury. Some fear it is used as a “split the difference” cop-out by juries that, if they tried a bit harder and longer, could actually arrive at a more definitive verdict.

  31. @ Neil A

    Suit yourself. You should remember, though, that a great deal of evidence (and other information) doesn’t get before the jury despite being perfectly reliable.
    ————————————
    I wonder why that is. What sorts of evidence are you alluding to?
    8-)

  32. @ Neil A

    Some fear it is used as a “split the difference” cop-out by juries that, if they tried a bit harder and longer, could actually arrive at a more definitive verdict.
    —————————————————
    It wasn’t. It was to allow a retrial if compelling new evidence comes to light. Exactly like the re-trial of a suspect in the Stephen Lawrence murder.
    8-)

  33. I don’t think that’s right, Amber. There is no technical difference between “Not Proven” and “Not Guilty” when it comes to retrials. Both result in the acquittal of the defendant. It is purely a formulation of words. The funniest description I have seen of “Not Proven” is that it means “Not Guilty, and Don’t Do It Again”.

  34. @ Neil A

    It really wasn’t a dig. I was just asking. I don’t actually follow the detail of domestic law. I wasn’t even fully aware of the change in re-trial law until the ‘Lawrence’ judgement brought it to my attention.

    And I’m not even certain whether or not people still have the right to demand a trial by jury in the Uk (or parts thereof). I know it was the subject of debate a few years ago but I was never clear about the final outcome.

    So the presumption of innocence, in law, could actually have changed & I might not have been aware of it.
    8-)

  35. Neil A

    As you might have adduced from my post, I was referring(somewhat jocularly in response to Roger) to the historical situation prior to 1728, when “proven” and “not proven” were the only verdicts available to a Scots jury.

    In the USA, one Senator tried to vote “not proven” on an article of impeachment of Bill Clinton.

  36. Three kinds of “reliable” evidence don’t get before the jury.

    1) Evidence from legally inadmissable methods. This principally means phone interceptions, but it’s a disciplinary offence to discuss that so I won’t (I don’t want AW getting a sub poena for my IP details!).

    2) Evidence which has been excluded by the judge for some technical reason, or to avoid “prejudice”. Whilst this evidence may sometimes be flawed, often it is simply the judge erring massively on the side of caution, and the evidence itself is sound.

    3) Evidence which is reliable, admissable and non-prejudicial, but which the prosecutor has decided to omit deliberately. Usually this is for tactical reasons (usually to try and “simplify” the case so it doesn’t take so long and isn’t so hard to understand) but often it is just the prosecutor being lazy or incompetent. Our Crown Prosecution Service is one of the most abjectly awful public bodies in the country.

    Often I sit in court and think that the jury would be astonished and appalled if “they knew what I know”.

    That’s without getting into the whole question of police intelligence, which can be extremely persuasive but is inadmissable because the source cannot be disclosed.

  37. @Amber

    On the “right to trial by jury” this was always restricted to certain offences anyway. “Summary only” offences are dealt with by Magistrates, unless they are on the same indictment as an indictable offence.

    There has been talk of restricting the right further, by ordering that very specific types of cases (generally speaking, terrorism and complex fraud) should be heard by judges sitting without a jury. This has been happening in Northern Ireland for decades (the “Diplock Courts”).

    The presumption of innocence has already taken a few hits, with the new “bad character” provisions and the ability of the prosecution to invite inferences from a failure to answer questions. So far, in my opinion at least, we have preserved enough of the spirit of the concept, and enough protections, that our system is still fair.

  38. @ Neil A

    I have no problem with plea bargains that result in lesser sentences provided that the defendant is fully informed of the consequences of doing so. The justice system has to have some flexibility.

  39. @ Old Nat

    “As you might have adduced from my post, I was referring(somewhat jocularly in response to Roger) to the historical situation prior to 1728, when “proven” and “not proven” were the only verdicts available to a Scots jury.

    In the USA, one Senator tried to vote “not proven” on an article of impeachment of Bill Clinton.”

    You know, sometimes you make pre 1728 Scots Law sound like it’s the current Scots Law in 2011. A lot of time has passed since 1728.

    The impeachment was an embarassment. I’m not surprised that a Senator attempted to vote “not proven.” I always thought it was amazing that the Republicans not only failed to get 2/3rds of the vote but actually failed to get a majority on both impeachment counts.

  40. I’m with Neil A on this. As a rampant leftie, I feel that the abuse of the legal system by guilty people is an assault on ordinary people. I have some experience of legal proceedings (but not that much) but my limited experience is that its a game, where obviously guilty people find easy ways to avoid due punishment.

    The gag about seeing 10 guilty walk free rather than 1 innocent banged up? Why? The guilty walking free is arguably a greater assault on society.

    One of my experiences regarding the law was as a witness in a trial of a man who attempted to assault me while in a drunken rage. It was a bit hairy, but I was largely unscathed. Three witnesses, policed evidence of cuts on his fists (tried to punch me through a window) and aggressive behaviour to the arresting officers, but the trial was still touch and go. There were streams of character witnesses saying what a fine chap the man was, and how much he did for charities, but in the end he was convicted.

    It was only when the court heard about his 15 previous convictions (mainly assaults, including two on police) that we heard an alternative view on the man’s character. I still fail to grasp why juries get to hear about all the good stuff, but not the negatives. It’s very biased.

  41. Alec

    “I still fail to grasp why juries get to hear about all the good stuff, but not the negatives. It’s very biased.”

    It does seem odd. I can understand the reasoning for not divulging prior convictions, but if the defence decide to use character witnesses, then the same freedom should be available to the prosecution.

  42. @Alec
    You can adduce evidence of previous convictions if the defendant makes.his previous good character part of his defence, and those convictions are related to that.

    It wouldn’t be just to allow the jury to know of unrelated prior convictions (or where the defendant does not make character an issue) as its the Crown’s job to prove guilt for the specific offence on the charge sheet, not a previous one.

  43. @oldnat – “I can understand the reasoning for not divulging prior convictions…”

    I’m not sure I do.

    Overall, I get the feeling that ‘the law’ has been designed by the equivalent of nice middle class people who have done a bit of philosophy at university but who live in areas of very low crime.

    [Just for the record, I am a middle class person, possibly ‘nice’, I went to university, did some philosophy, live in a very low crime area].

  44. Things have moved on quite a lot. In many cases previous convictions (and even previous allegations that didn’t lead to convictions) can be disclosed to the jury, even if the defendant hasn’t himself made character an issue.

    Things are still biased against the prosecution, which is how it is intended to be (rightly I think), but the bias is less than it used to be.

  45. @Raf – “It wouldn’t be just to allow the jury to know of unrelated prior convictions (or where the defendant does not make character an issue) as its the Crown’s job to prove guilt for the specific offence on the charge sheet, not a previous one.”

    I understand all that, but disagree with it. In all walks of life we judge people on their past performances, whether or not they are directly related to the issue in hand. The law denies us this opportunity, and as a result many guilty people go free.

    If you’ve committed a crime, I feel that’s tough sh*t – everyone should be entitled to know about it, as it’s central to judging the person you are. Include a time limit for sure – I’m absolutely in favour of redemption and forgiveness. But let’s just get real about criminals.

  46. @Neil A – that’s interesting to know. It’s a while since I was last in court so I’m obviously a bit out of date.

    As a leftie greeney, I still say flog the b*st*rds.

  47. The principle is that there are occasions when the way someone has acted in the past can give extremely strong support to the proposition that they have acted that way again.

    In the words of a very great, but slightly professionally isolated judge at Wood Green Crown Court (circa about 1995); “I don’t care if it’s prejudicial, that just means it’s more likely he did it!”

  48. I’ve always believed that the rule of law is paramount. It should be hard fot the state to prove someone guilty of a criminal offence as a conviction could deprive the accused of their liberty, and it should be a big deal for the state to deprive a citizen (or subject) of their liberty.

    This is separate to any discussion on sentencing, punishment, remission and rehibilitation. Thete is no question (for example) that most people think rape senteces (even without discounts) are too low. But that dies nit mean people would not support greater discounts to.secure more xinvictions at an earliet stage, provided that the sentences were significantly higher.

  49. An interesting if somewhat semantic, “dancing on the head of a pin” discussion on innocence and guilt in the eyes of the law. I touched upon earlier it in the case of Strauss-Kahn, but was trying to make a slightly different point about the need to await the examination of evidence in a court of law and the judgement of a jury before rushing to premature assumptions of guilt.

    In the case of DSK, I detected the presumption/assumption of guilt without any knowledge of the case beyond some likely journalistic distortion. I’ve seen it happen in other celebrated cases too where the drooling desire to see someone found guilty sometimes supersedes the proper and fair suspension of judgement.

    We know very little about what actually happened in that hotel room in Manhattan. It’s possible nothing criminal occurred at all, although a prima facie case has been made leading to charges being brought. That is very far removed from proof of guilt and it is quite possible that the accused is innocent. Let’s leave it there until it’s proved otherwise.

  50. I often think that there must be a better way. I think all of the admissable evidence should be pooled, and agreements reached about not just which evidence the prosecution can/will use, but what the defence will say about evidence that isn’t being used.

    Under the current system, the prosecution pare their case down to the basics. The defence then make all sorts of claims, many of them contradicted by the evidence that the prosecution have shelved. The prosecution are technically entitled to call that evidence as “rebuttal evidence” but in practice almost never do.

    As recently as last week I have sat in court, listening to a defence barrister referring to the fact that the prosecution “don’t have any evidence to prove X” when in a box in front of me are a range of statements that actually do “prove X”.

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