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Laurence Inman’s Blog

GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER

07-08-2008

Barry George’s successful appeal for the murder of Jill Dando might have delighted his family and supporters, but left the coppers who convicted him on the defensive. Laurence Inman reckons that’s where they should stay.

Barry George did not kill Jill Dando.

There was never a time when he had killed her. Even when he was said to have killed her, he hadn’t really. That was a mistake. He didn’t kill her to exactly the same extent that everyone else didn’t kill her, apart from the person who did kill her. That person, the real killer is still free.

End of story. That’s what being found not guilty by a properly constituted jury means, and thank God for it.

The police looked particularly affronted afterwards, as they lined up outside the Old Bailey to complain that they were ‘disappointed with the verdict.’ They didn’t go so far as to say that they ‘weren’t looking for anyone else’ but they emphasised how ‘thorough and professional’ their investigation had been.

This is fairly transparent code for: ‘We know what the truth is, but the jury were too stupid to accept it, and now a guilty man has, yet again, got off on a technicality.’ And that’s how the Daily Enema ran it next day.

This case should make us all very angry, but, sadly, we’re getting a bit used to it.

There have been several occasions in the past three or four decades when the police, faced with a horrible high-profile crime, have just turned up the nearest likely-looking candidate and stitched up a case around him.

If the chosen one is a bit slow or, as was claimed with Barry George, is ‘well known as the local nutter,’ then so much the better.

There is a dangerous tendency among those in authority to forget that their authority is only temporarily conferred on them by the consent of the rest of us.

Some of them actually seem to believe that they are not only intellectually, socially and materially better off than those they are supposed to serve (which may very well be true) but also morally superior (which can never be true.) The belief that some people matter more than others leads us straight to the gas chambers.

It cannot be true that Jill Dando was intrinsically worth more, because she had a job reading things on the telly, than Barry George, who is definitely not the type of bloke you would ever want to invite round for dinner.

And yet this seems to be the assumption among those who we trust to do the crucial job of investigating crimes.

Look at other recent cases. Rachel Nickell stabbed on Wimbledon Common.

Very attractive woman. It must have been that odd loner who lives nearby. But just to make sure we’ll get one of our WPCs to promise him a good night out if he confesses. Even the judge saw through it. The police were also extremely indignant after that one.

Stefan Kiszko; he’ll do for the murder of that young girl in Derbyshire. Craig Bentley; no one’s going to miss that loser. Timothy Evans; confessed to something he couldn’t possibly have done – hang him anyway. James Hanratty; was able to prove he was 200 miles away when the A6 murder was being committed – yes, but he’s only a petty crook.

The list goes on. And that’s before we get to the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the McGuires and the Carl Bridgewater killer.

Murderers are walking around free because of the prejudice and incompetence of those we trust to protect us from them.

And still, there are pressures to do away with the only real safeguard we ultimately have against these people: the jury trial.

I would like to take all those lawyers, MPs, coppers and judges who even suggest that we should abandon the jury, in any cases, get them to wrap their proposals in razor wire and shove them up them smug arses. It’s the only language they understand.

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