With crime rates falling, we Prosecutors have had to turn to our back catalogue of offences by ageing celebrities but with memories lapsing and witnesses dying the evidence in such cases can be questionable.
Should we just wait and hope that crime picks up, or should we press on and take what we can get?
There is no patron saint of hopeless cases, but there are many examples of Prosecutors pulling some very unlikely convictions out of the hat.
For instance, during the Napoleonic wars a ship’s pet monkey was shipwrecked on a beach in the North of England. The locals captured the monkey mistakenly believing it to be a French spy as it was dressed in military uniform.
The monkey was interrogated, tried, found guilty and hung.
In that case, the burden would have been on the Prosecutor to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the monkey had an intention to spy-no easy task.
Let us not forget the defence lawyer’s task of taking clear instructions long before the advent of dedicated Animal Rights Lawyers.
All this, on a windy beach, with the constant chatter of the defendant in the background.
It is work like this which is an inspiration to Prosecutors everywhere.
Ed note: Years ago, I was asked to represent a defendant before a Magistrates Court. I calculated his legal aid contribution, and when I told him that he would need to contribute $2.00 for my services, he decided to represent himself. He gets out next week.
Extract from - I'll have the law on you - The selected letter of John Fytit
(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved.
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