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Re: defendants remorse

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:33 pm
by shootist
3.14 wrote:You make it sound like a good idea for the poor.

From an economist's point of view it is. Not, of course, for those 'poor' who are desperately seeking to improve their lot, but for the percentage of those who are committed to living off welfare and petty crime, and they do exist in significant numbers, it's pretty good. The very first warrant I served for non payment of a fine was for not having a TV licence. All new and shiny I was embarking on an explanation of how the man could borrow some money form friends, instead of listening he said, in a friendly fashion, pausing to pick up his coat, "Phuq off, why do I want to do that? I'll go and spend a few weeks inside, my bird gets an increase in benefits and doesn't have to feed me, and that's that." The easiest warrant I ever served and an education in how some people live.

Re: defendants remorse

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:50 pm
by Maz JP
shootist wrote:Part of the problem is that by contesting a charge you are acting like someone in a casino who increases the bet to try and win more. Even if you have a reasonably good defence it remains a lottery to some extent.

I wholly reject the basis of the comparison. Yes, the courts sadly make mistakes (not always because of their own 'failings'). And here I refer not only to the notable high-profile cases, but also to the several thousand successful appeals in the Crown Courts every year. But no, in context of the overall number of prosecutions launched every year (something like 2 million go through the magistrates' courts each year) the number of mistakes is not large.

The odds in a casino however are in favour, as I sadly know all too well, of the casino. These stacked odds simply cannot be sensibly compared with those of losing a case if you are innocent.

And if you think I am pompously taking your point too seriously, I apologise.

Re: defendants remorse

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:06 pm
by shootist
On a roulette table the house take is 2.7%, Blackjack, if you know the game, the house edge goes down to as little as 0.5%. Take £100 to a roulette table and bet a pound at a time for 100 spins. You stand a good chance of waling out with ££97.30p Not that bad as odds go. I'd probably bet that of all the cases I have seen, the number of poor decisions either way would exceed that percentage.

However, the point I am making is that going to trial or appeal can present the risk of a more severe sentence if you lose. It's not about whether the court gets it right, but is the bet worth it.

An example.

If I was to bet you that I could toss a coin 10 times in a row and get ten heads in a row, you get a pound if I fail, I get a pound if I do it, I suspect you might take that bet. It's a good one from your perspective. Now, make that bet of yours for everything you own, your home, your car, every penny in the bank, against mine. The odds are exactly the same. Care to take it now?

I have known of a few people who have been convicted in magistrates, or in one case, the crown court, who I think had a damned good case for appeal. None of them did because in each case their conviction did relatively little damage to their lives, but it was made clear that there was a distinct possibility, a probability even, that if the appealed and lost they would get a prison sentence. As they were otherwise decent people, such a sentence would have ruined their whole lives. That opinion was from the barrister defending them in each case. Simply not worth the risk.