Dismal news from the criminal justice system where – in a change of great importance – juries are no longer told they must be persuaded ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that a defendant is guilty. They must merely be ‘sure’. These expressions do not mean the same thing. You may be ‘sure’ you want a pepperoni pizza rather than a vegan one. But the word touches a different bit of the brain from the one reached by the nagging, awkward phrase ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
There is some suggestion jurors were finding it hard to understand what ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ meant. Well, my reply to any such juror is that if you don’t know what it means, then you are not fit to sit on a jury, and should stand aside.
Mail On Sunday – Peter Hitchens
TAP. ‘Beyond reasonable doubt’ is the very essence of common law. If there is any doubt left, how can anyone be sent to prison? The system of prosecution is heavily loaded in favour of the Crown Prosecution Service, with Police and so-called forensic scientists and doctors willing to manufacture/slant evidence. The authority of these bodies/professionals wearing suits and ties and paid by the system, is enough to make most people feel ‘sure’. If a defendant cannot defend themselves by finding a hole in their case, he is indeed defenceless. This is the totalitarian state. We were brought up on a belief in the British system of Common Law which we gave to the world. We are the ones now destroying this inheritance. It’s the end of the line.