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Trial and error?

Francis Fitzgibbon examines the Criminal Justice Bill’s most prominent – and controversial – reforms

10 January 2003

The Criminal Justice Bill has 273 clauses and 26 schedules, and is 293 pages long. It leaves few areas of criminal evidence and procedure, and sentencing, untouched. The Bill is intended to carry out the Government’s policy of ‘rebalancing’ the criminal justice system in favour of victims and witnesses. In a speech delivered in June 2002 the Prime Minister said: “Criminal justice systems, born out of a quite necessary and proper desire to protect at all costs the civil liberties of the innocent, seem cumbersome, out of date and therefore often ineffectual in convicting the guilty.” It is noticeable he does not include the allegedly guilty, who are in theory still presumed innocent, as among those who enjoy civil liberties. Readers will draw their own conclusions about whether the presumption of innocence has survived in any real sense. Investigation, charging, bail Police Powers (Pt 1)
  • Police powers under s 1 of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act ...
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