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Evening Quickie: Innocent in law, guilty in fact.

The supreme court are to soon decide on a fundamental point of law. This fundamental point of law is being thrashed out in case of Barry George, who was acquitted of killing Jill Dando. He is now seeking compensation for miscarriage of justice, and the government is stalling. I am very lucky as I happened to visit the supreme court a few months ago and, as I sat next to Mr George himself, I heard both sides outline their case.

The fundamental issue of law in question is; is someone not guilty in law considered not guilty in fact.

We all accept that our criminal justice system will sometimes convict an innocent man. We have the appeal courts to try and catch our mistakes and correct them. The issue that always has the public outraged is when someone who is apparently guilty in fact is found not guilty in law. What's worse is when the papers have already taken the role of judge jury and executioner, but that's a discussion for another post.

The fact is, there is no better solution...despite its weaknesses our system is the best in the world and we are right to be very proud of it. For us to continue to be proud of it, we need to have the confidence in its outcomes. If someone is acquitted, they are innocent in law, and in the eyes of the law innocent in fact. It is not the place of the government to second guess the courts without taking some substantive legal steps...stalling is not one of them.