Don’t you just love “Have Your Say“? What a wonderful place for those without any education, or any concept of the society they live in, to get burning issues off their chest without any fear of being punched in the face.
One of today’s topics is “Should witnesses have the right to anonymity” (link may be dead by the time you read this but it lives in the BBC archives). In a nutshell, the Law Lords upheld a long standing British legal tradition that says you have the right to face your accuser, and now the moaning-right want to abolish it. Ostensibly this is to allow people to give evidence without fear of criminal retribution (which, incidentally already happens and has happened for many, many years).
I think removing this right would be insane. It wouldn’t really help the police as they can already protect a witness under threat, but would allow people to lie without having to suffer the consequences. This is, IMHO, a very bad thing.
Anyway, on HYS there is a healthy mix of reactions. This is good as it means there are sane people out there. Ironically, the pro-anonymity argument seems to wrap itself up in contradictions…
Take this tirade against the law lords for their ruling:
The government is supposed to make the laws in this country, not a bunch of sad, senile old freaks. It’s patently obvious to anyone with an IQ greater than that of a prune that witnesses should be allowed anonymity, otherwise no one in their right mind would ever give evidence against criminal gangs. These idiots should not be allowed to make any more decisions of this kind.
Wow. The elected government (so often the brunt of right-wingers ire) is better a the law than the Law lords? Hmm. I disagree but that is not the issue. From this madness we get on to how the quality of the witness will be determined if the accussed can not challenge them:
The quality of the evidence will be taken into consideration by the judge during the trial. This will determine the validity and the Jury will be directed accordingly.
Wow. Ironic, isn’t it?