Tuesday, 2 January 2007

One in the Eye for British Justice

On 23 August 1996, The Times reported thus:

"The Government is to examine a trial in which a convicted rapist was allowed to cross-examine his victim in court for six days about the intimate details of her ordeal. Ralston Edwards, 42, exercised his legal right to represent himself when he appeared at the Old Bailey accused of raping a 34-year-old mother of two in an attack lasting 16 hours.

The woman, who has waived her right to anonymity, is Julia Mason. After the jury -which included five women- found him guilty on two counts of rape, she said:

'I feel like I have been raped twice: once in his filthy den and once in front of judge and jury in a British court of law. I don't want other women to go through what I have been through. The law has got to be changed'...

Sir Frederick Lawson, a retired Lord Justice of Appeal... questioned whether the trial judge should have allowed Edwards to continue.

'I am just astonished, astonished that this cross-examination has been allowed to go on for six days... I cannot conceive how it lasted that long or how some of those questions could be relevant. The judge can stop irrelevant questions and what is more, a judge has a duty to do so'...

The trial judge, Ann Goddard, QC, will have been aware that too many interventions could also form the basis of an appeal on the ground that the jury was swayed by them...

It was the third time that Edwards has appeared in court charged with rape. In 1984 he was jailed for three years for raping a neighbour in south London after threatening her 16-month-old baby with a knife; and in 1987 he was cleared of a rape charge. In 1991 he unsuccessfully defended himself against two charges of actual bodily harm on women...

After the trial Detective Sergeant Milne Davidson, who was in charge of the inquiry, said:

'There is no doubt he was getting a thrill out of questioning the victim. He was trying to blacken her character and harass her. She admitted to me she was terrified, but he did not intimidate her. It is only through her integrity and determination that he has been convicted.'

The prosecuting barrister in yesterday's case, Stephen Holt, said:

'I am sure that the Criminal Bar Association will be reviewing this case. The situation in which a rape victim is cross-examined by the accused should not be allowed to arise. The problem is that if we deny people the right to defend themselves, we will fall foul of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg'."
The Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg?

That's one of those courts where the Judges, all of them foreign and completely anonymous, don't seem to give a f*** for the victim, but care very deeply for the 'human rights' of the criminal, isn't it?

On 8 January 2001, Judge Ann Goddard, who allowed the monster described above to cross-examine his victim over a six-day period, was attacked in the Old Bailey by a man accused of killing his partner with a Samurai sword.

She was knocked to the floor bleeding after Paul Horgan leaped out of the dock and punched her in the face several times before court officials were able to pull him off. A police officer said:

"He suddenly vaulted over the dock and grabbed a jug of water from the jury bench. He threw it ten feet towards the judge but luckily it missed her and smashed against the back wall. Everyone thought he was trying to escape and blocked off the exits, but instead, he ran down the side of the court and on to the platform where the judge sits."
Judge Goddard was treated in hospital for minor head injuries and shock after the incident.

In April 2000, Horgan had murdered his girlfriend, Sindy Smith, stabbing her 44 times at their flat in Stratford, East London. Sindy had given birth just nine days previously.

After killing her, Horgan dialled 999 and told the operator:

"I took my girlfriend in my flat and killed her. I am willing to give myself up without a struggle."
When police arrived, Horgan, was drinking a cup of tea at the time, told them:

"I am being controlled by a machine. That is why I did it."
This is Judge Goddard:
Nice to know that British justice is still capable of a smack in the eye once in a while, eh?

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