Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walking The Walk

Here is an American view on the notorious 'perp walk' that we see on our televisions, usually when some high-profile suspect is marched off in handcuffs or sometimes the chained-hand-and-foot kit that some US officers seem to prefer.

In so many cases the shackles are completely unnecessary, but the press and the authorities are eager to collude in providing good TV pictures. But as the article points out, these people are innocent until proved guilty. It's a contrast to the traditional sight here of an arrested person being placed into a car under a blanket. In cases of non violent crime, much the simplest method is to have the suspect attend the police station by appointment to be arrested, and then to be bailed to an early court appearance.

I also hate to see, as we do in so many countries, accused people literally caged for their trial, which they attend dressed in prison overalls. In my time on the bench I have only ever seen one defendant in handcuffs, and that was because he had kicked off ten minutes into his trial and tried to walk away down the cell steps. He apologised once he had calmed down, and the cuffs came off.

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