Legal system should serve all

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The statistics are appalling: just 15 per cent of rapes are reported and of these only 5.7 per cent end in a conviction – the lowest rate for any crime.

Again, a study by the office of the children’s commissioner covering 2013/14 found up to 450,000 children were sexually abused with only one in eight victims coming forward.

Arrests have actually fallen by nine per cent.

On domestic violence and other violence against women a further study has shown official statistics have seriously understated such crime.

The real trend is upwards not down.

There is something terribly wrong with a society that continues to treat women and children as second-class citizens, has a media which routinely denigrates victims and, above all, has a legal system where the odds are stacked against those victims.

Anyone who saw the recent BBC documentary Abused: The Untold Story, will not forget the cry of anguish and despair by one victim when a jury acquitted her alleged abuser on counts involving her.

So, I challenge these sacred cows which have held sway for far too long: the jury and the presumption of innocence.

Together they constitute the biggest obstruction of justice in our failing system.

The fact is, juries are singularly ill-equipped to decide on such matters.

Nor is it fair to place them in such a position where the presumption of innocence becomes the fall-back.

Not only is it illogical, it is patently false.

You are either innocent or guilty, one or the other, not one dependent on the other.

We should do away with such bias and prejudice and restructure the legal system to make it a service, serving all equally.

Stephen Jackson

Albert Road
Bexhill

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