Wednesday 10 December 2008
Justice, Ha, ha, ha............
Just to update you on what happened to the 'nice young men' who attacked my eldest son back in July.
The Crown Prosecution Service, in their infinite wisdom, decided it wasn’t worth the cost of prosecuting, or there just isn’t enough room in the prisons, or they just can’t be arsed, or something, to prosecute the youngest of Nick's attackers, even though he is a persistent youth offender because, in the words of the CPS lawyer, "for what he'd get it just isn't worth it" !
The elder one, who pulled the knife, was prosecuted only for having the knife because he admitted it. Actually he handed it over to the police when they arrested him. Seven weeks after the attack Nick was told he would have to identify his attacker via Viper Identification, where he would see 9 faces on a video screen and had to choose from them. Nick said it was virtually impossible because he only saw a fraction of the man's face at the time, it being obscured by a hood, he got no sense of height, build, mannerisms from the faces on screen and the time lapse had blurred his memory. Consequently he picked out the wrong person. The CPS said they couldn't prosecute the man for the robbery because Nick couldn't identify him.
The fact that the two men were arrested four minutes away from the scene, whilst Nick was on the phone to a 999 operator at the time giving a description, bore no weight. Even the fact that they fitted the description, the elder one had a knife which fitted the description Nick was giving, the younger one admitted they had been involved in an incident, all this bore no weight either.
I immediately complained to the Prime Minister, my MP, the Home Secretary, opposition MPs and anyone else I could think of, which brought an explanitary letter from the local CPS office with the offer of a meeting. Of course we took up the offer - they were only expecting Nick but his wife, MWM and myself turned up with a list of questions to ask.
We rattled them a few times with pertinent questions but all we got were excuses. We asked why if the younger man wasn't being prosecuted he couldn't be brought as a witness against the elder man - the CPS's answer was "we don't have plea bargaining in this country" a downright lie! They admitted that the delay in asking Nick to identify his attacker had prejudiced the case but insisted that they could not prosecute without the identification. We asked how many people were in the area at the time that fitted the description Nick was giving at the time of the arrest; how many addmitted they had been involved in an incident and how many had a knife - they couldn't answer! We asked if the CCTV cameras at the supermarket on the road where the incident took place had been checked - they hadn't but they promised to ask the police to check them - to date this has not been done. I asked if Nick had banged his head when he fell and died from the injury making it impossible to identify his attacker, would they have used the existing evidence to prosecute, they said there would probably be forensic evidence. We pointed out that there would be no more evidence than they had at present so they would have to use that and let a jury decide - they couldn't answer. The truth is it all boils down to cost and statistics and the fact that, thankfully, Nick wasn't murdered! The policeman in charge of the case said in all the time he's been a policeman we are the only people that have ever challenged the CPS and he just wished more people would do it because the CPS do exactly as they want.
The outcome of this fiasco was that the 'knife attacker' was sentenced to 9 months, suspended for 2 years and a 12 month supervision order just for having the knife. It came out in court that he'd previously had a reprimand and a final warning, though what for we don't know, but he is obviously not a previously law abiding citizen.
We feel that the CPS should have prosecuted him for the robbery and left it to a judge and jury to decide whether he is guilty on that count, they were sure of a conviction for possessing the knife. The judge said had he been prosecuted for the robbery he would definitely have been serving time. To add insult to injury the judge also said the man is not capable of doing paid or unpaid work, so Nick is working to keep him on benefits!
Such is justice in this country.
Needless to say Nick has complained about the way the CPS have handled the case, we await their reaction before informing the media of the shortcomings of the Justice system in this case. I'll keep you posted.
On a good note though Nick has just landed a dream job! You may remember when he was incapacitated by the attack he was made redundant and once the plaster was off he took another job working 40 hours a week on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night just to pay the bills. Now he has got this dream job we are thinking whilst what happened in July was terrible, it makes you think "it happened for a reason" doesn't it!
Best Graphics - MySpace/Hi5/Friendster