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Task Suggestion: Anonymous Witnesses

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TheStudentofA
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Post: #1
Task Suggestion: Anonymous Witnesses

Following a string of controversial criminal court cases there has been growing debate among the public about the role of anonymous witnesses in criminal trials. Senior figures are demanding action.

Option 1. "Victims of crime & other witnesses are failing to testify at trial in alarming numbers. These wretches - criminals - will deploy any tactic to try & intimidate witnesses, including violence. Prosecutors alone are best placed to determine whether a witness should be able to give evidence anonymously!" Exclaims the well known right wing prosecutor Jeremy Vile.

Option 2. "Wait a minute, you bloody hound" retorts Dr Pannash who recently had his conviction for murder overturned because the sole piece of evidence implicating him was a report given by an anonymous witness. "I was almost sent to jail for murder based on accusations made by someone who didn't dare & show me their face. The right to confront your accuser is a key safeguard in our legal system & with good reason, people should appreciate the gravity of what they're doing when they give evidence against another! This practice ought to be completely banned or reserved for cases of organised crime!"

Option 3. "I don't want to be rude but you gentleman are both wrong" celebrated regional judge Gayner interjects. "Of course prosecutors cannot decide when a witness shall give evidence anonymously, this would be a severe conflict of interest and an over extension of the practice. But, to suggest that anonymous evidence should be confined to cases of organised crime is also naive; of course witnesses in cases of sexual abuse & violent crime will be vulnerable & the law ought to reflect that. Whether a witness can give evidence anonymously ought to be a matter for a judge to decide on a case by case basis, with strict procedural guidelines in place & the interests of the parties being borne in mind."

Consequences:

Option 1. The criminal courts are swamped with cases as those with grudges can simply make incriminating allegations against others & do not have to have regard to the consequences. As a result of this mayhem judges are reluctant to impose harsh sentences on those who are found guilty & prisoners walk three after a few months.
(Crime rises & civil rights fall)

Option 2. Witnesses cannot be granted anonymity outside of organised crime cases & are thus reluctant to testify. Both innocent and guilty men walk free as a result.
(Crime rises but there is a modest rise in civil rights)

Option 3. Judges allow special categories of 'vulnerable' witnesses to give anonymous evidence securing key convictions, whilst maintaining the general principle that an accused has right to face those testifying against him.
(Crime decreases and there is a more noticeable rise in civil rights as both the accused & the witness are protected)

10.11.2015 14:58
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Helsworth
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Post: #2
RE: Task Suggestion: Anonymous Witnesses

Nice suggestion. I'm for it. Would have chosen option 3 even if you hadn't posted the consequences. Hehe


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This post was last modified: 10.11.2015 16:42 by Helsworth.

10.11.2015 15:56
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