Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dark and Ugly

In the last few months I have seen some of the dark and ugly side of human behaviour. Since I was dealing only with remands, the early stages of cases, I must say that any of the people I saw might be innocent, and that the decision as to their guilt will not me taken by me.
In deciding bail we must take the prosecution's case at its highest, so we hear a summary of the case as well as background information, and have sight of the defendant's previous record. In one case we saw a man accused of battering his pregnant wife in the street, the assault including a kick to the stomach - she, inevitably, has attempted to withdraw her statement, and was sitting sobbing at the back of the court. The prosecutor told us that the victim had told a neighbour that the attacks had been going on for some time, but that this was the first involvement of the police.
Another time we saw a young man whom I recognised as a regular customer. He has always had a surly and difficult attitude, but this time he was charged with a nasty sexual assault on a young woman. He seemed pretty proud of himself, and had made grossly obscene sexual remarks to female officers on arrest and at the police station. From the five minutes that I saw him I suspect that he may well fall into the dangerousness criteria of the 2003 CJA and end up with an . IPP. As you know, I have reservations about IPPs, but in his case I suspect that the streets will be safer for women while he is inside.

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