Friday, 17 April 2009

On Missing The Point

A comment and several emails ask if I am in favour of anonymity for rape defendants. No, I am not.

Like convictions on anonymous evidence alone, like both pre-trial convictions and pre-trial acquittals by the Crown Prosecution Service, like the secrecy of the family courts (although that is improving), and like the anonymity of adult accusers in rape cases, anonymity for defendants would violate the absolute principle that ours is an open system of justice. The vindication of a public acquittal is as important as the vilification of a public conviction.

The call for defendant anonymity is one of several examples of currently popular missing of the point.

The calls for a referendum on this or that piece of further European integration miss the point that Parliament should do its job properly by just saying no, and at the same time by restoring the supremacy of British over EU law while requiring that the latter pass through both Houses exactly as if it were the former before it enjoyed even that limited application in this Kingdom.

The calls for an English Parliament miss the point that the Parliament of the United Kingdom retains the right (which it need not necessarily ever use for the point to stand) to legislate supremely in any policy area for any part of the United Kingdom, as the devolution legislation assumes that it will do routinely, and as everyone who voted yes in either devolution referendum voted for.

And the banging on about "sleaze" misses the point, as surely as it did in the run-up to the 1997 Election, so spectacularly that one hardly knows where to begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment