Saturday, 9 February 2013

Coverupland

At the end of the 19th century a famous Portuguese writer, journalist and diplomat Eça de Queiroz, wrote these words regarding his contemporaries:
"In our democracies the aim of the majority of people is to obtain in seven lines utter praise from the newspapers. In order to get those blessed seven lines in print, men and women will resort to any kind of deeds — even good ones."
These words could have been written yesterday. They could also be adapted to present life in general with the amount of bad news we see on a daily basis... "In order to get those blessed targets, men and women will resort to any kind of deeds — even legal ones." It is the Lance Armstrong principle. In order to win, a race, a conviction, a pip in LIBOR, an investigation to a football disaster, a target in an hospital, a cheaper lasagna, a knighted broadcaster, perverting the course of justice... people will use the law to interpose and nullify (as Martin Luther King said 50 years ago) any sense of honesty or decency. 

I am angry today, angry because Frances Andrade died in total obscurity, while the Crown Prosecution Service was playing numbers and tactics to win another case, another victory at the expense of the victim. Frances Andrade lived a life of betrayal, first by her school, then by her school teacher. These failed to protect her, covering up each others actions. She managed to survive that betrayal for 25 years. Then she was betrayed again, this time under the umbrella of securing Michael Brewer's conviction, totally ignored by those who should have cared for her and to whom she deposited her trust. They were oblivious that their actions would be a step too far and something could be detrimental to her welfare. Indeed it was, and in the end they got their phyrric victory. Who will want to stand in court now after the disclosure of this disgraceful outcome? Of course the CPS and others are now coming out with the standard legal excuses, that they followed all procedures, did everything right, this was unforeseen, she had a past of suicidal tendencies, to justify their Pontius Pilate's stance, as if this argument does not give even more weight for their lack of care and disregard! Even the judge that presided to court, Martin Rutland, is coming with another standard excuse saying "the barrister who questioned her could not be criticised. Speaking at the end of the trial, praised all counsel for their conduct in the case, including Kate Blackwell QC, defending Michael Brewer, who cross-examined Mrs Andrade." What else could he say? That he permitted his session to go out of control by allowing the defense to ask inappropriate and slanderous questions to the victim? And why did the prosecution not make any objection to the treatment Frances Andrade was being subjected to? Bizarre judge that allows this to happen in front of everyone and then instructs the jury to record not guilty verdicts in five! counts due to "insufficient evidence". Is it not up to the jury to evaluate the validity of the evidence put in front of them? If not, what is the point of having a jury to start with? But this judge already did this before where he ORDERED the jury to come out with a non guilty verdict. Ordered a jury!

Probably an inquest will be made to the circumstances of Frances Andrade's death. Presided by a judge with a verdict of "misfortune" or "accidental" written all over. All legal, let's all have a good night sleep, all of us with the notion that we all had a good day's work. Pity it is not an honest one.

Maybe an enquiry will be made about this event, by a judge (who else) as the judiciary does not have an IPCC equivalent. And maybe once again for the nth time David Cameron will appear on our TV screens saying the same words we should now get used too "... and for this we are extremely sorry!"




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