Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spot the Allegory

The courts of our land have struggled coming to terms with the modern world. The big question has always been whether they need to change or whether the modern world needs to be educated.

Take the question of robes. Do they get in the way of the work of the courts or are they a sign of an office to be respected?

Now some people make their living in and around courts - the legal professions and court clerks and assistants. They know the language and the necessary style and deference. The lawed.

Some people don't go to court very often, but they have been enough (witness, plaintiff, defendant, juror) to have grasped what to do. Or they watch a lot of legal dramas on TV. The delawed.

But it appears there is a new class of people. We shall call them the unlawed. They have no idea what to do and ask questions. Lots of questions. They have never been to court or seen one on TV.

And eventually there was bound to be a jury that came along where the twelve randomly chosen members were all unlawed.

It is good that they came at all. Maybe they had no choice. But they are very confused. They need a simple explanation of what is going on at every stage.

So even though the words 'reasonable' and 'doubt' are well known words they have never heard the expression 'reasonable doubt' before and don't know if it means what it says or if it has some hidden, special meaning. They ask and are told by the judge, in effect, that they are being stupid. 'A reasonable doubt is a doubt which is reasonable' he says. 'I'm not allowed to help you any more.'

There have been loads of other questions and this has frustrated the judge who is used to being understood.

Just when you thought the Huhne/Price cases couldn't get more entertaining. More next week I gather. Fantastic.


Anonymous said...

It didn't sound to me like a confused jury. It sounded like one juror who got hung up on the significance of wedding vows to the defence of marital coercion.

I am unable to work out which way they would be arguing though. I can make it work either way.

The foreperson, unable to deal with the questions themselves, forwarded them to the judge.

St said...

Nice idea. It does make sense of the facts as well as my suggestion.