Criminal Justice

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 27th February 1997.

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Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard The Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:32 pm, 27th February 1997

If anything, it will prevent miscarriages of justice or reduce them. The report contains a reference by an extremely experienced magistrate, who says that she has never heard an application or representation made for trial on the ground of a blot on someone's reputation. She says that those who opt for trial by jury are experienced criminals who are playing the system, often in the hope that, for a variety of reasons, one of the witnesses in the case might not turn up and that might enable them to get an acquittal, which would be unjust. Although we must strain to ensure that no innocent people are convicted, it is also an injustice if those who are guilty are acquitted. The changes may well have the overall effect of reducing injustice in our system.