Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

[Previous entry: "Meanderings"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Full House"]

2001-12-14 Entry: "The Trial And The Submarine"

Last night was looking almost promising - after being at work for far too long (not actually leaving until 6), I was all prepared to settle down and watch the Hunt for Red October (again) - it's not a great film, but Sean Connery's russian accent is fantastic, and random Baldwin manages to play a convincingly clueless Jack Ryan. This is a little suspicious when Patriot Games is supposed to be set before this and yet, where there he'd happily take on trained terrorists, here he can barely hold his own.

Unfortunately the BBC, in their less than infinite wisdom, cancelled it. Now, I'm quite used to the BBC cancelling things - any sport appears that they still have the rights to and all the Sci-Fi is removed from the BBC2 schedules for the duration. It's the first thing cancelled, and as it's about all I watch I tend to notice. The sport isn't even particularly high profile - any sort of athletics, snooker, darts or bowls are the usual culprits, as tennis usually makes it onto BBC1, where Sci-Fi never gets.
Anyway, it wasn't sport that cancelled the film. No, it was a documentary about Sarah Payne and the trial that convicted somebody for her murder. Now, this was a tragic event, but an hour long documentary about something everyone saw on the news for weeks? That only happened a couple of months ago? That they couldn't fit into their less than busy schedules in the run up to Christmas?

I managed to avoid the docu as it would just have rehashed the facts and then discussed the poorly thought out "Sarah's Law" campaign, where members of the public should be told that convicted sex offenders are living nearby. This law is such a bad idea it's scary. Firstly, it wouldn't have made any impact on this particular murder as it wasn't committed anywhere near where the guy lived. Secondly, after seeing the mob that gathered in an estate over the summer to hound out a suspected paedophile, I can't imagine that this law would lead to anything but similar scenes repeated across the country. Which'll obviously drive the offenders underground.

Furthermore, why should sex offences be treated any differently to other crimes? Once you've served the time the court gives you, and they consider you suitably rehabilitated, you're released into the community with a clean sheet. If there's some concern that they'll re-offend, then they're not rehabilitated and shouldn't be let out. I mean "Duh!"

The other suggested law change that came out of this trial was that the jury should be told of previous convictions of a similar nature when making their decision. This is equally stupid. People will be automatically biased to think someone guilty if they've committed previous offences. They want to restrict it to "previous offences of a suitably similar manner" but who decides that? If it was an available option, any previous offence would be revealed to the jury as the police would then succeed in getting more convictions. If you haven't got enough evidence to prove that this guy did it, then you have to let him go. You can't say "He's done something like this before, so he might have done this" to get a conviction, as just because he has committed a similar offence, doesn't mean he committed this one.

Anyway, rant over.

Powered By Greymatter

[ Registered! ]