Tuesday, 27 September, 2005

Many moons ago I wrote about this particular case. Well, after many months of waiting yesterday was the big day. Of course, I've known about this for just over a week and come hell or high-water I was going to show. My Brother is a trainee defence solicitor for, amongst other things, drink drive cases. Apparently, it is very common for cases to be thrown out if witnesses don't turn up.

So like a good little citizen I was there at 10AM just as the letter told me to be. I thought it'd be a simple little job of me going on the stand at 10.10AM, giving my evidence till 10.40AM and be home just in time for lunch. Not a chance! I get there to the accusation that the evidence has been planted and the defence came out trying to have the case thrown out due to dodgy evidence. Their argument was that since we'd introduced a second drive in to the machine and we hadn't set the machine's own drive to work in read-only mode we couldn't be sure that the data hadn't been copied off the inserted drive. That's a polite way of saying we couldn't prove that we hadn't planted the evidence.

Despite having a great deal of knowledge in cryptography and computer security, I would find it incredibly difficult to plant data in a way that would be undetectable to a trained computer forensics expert. Having spoken to the prosecution expert witness in some detail it has become painfully clear that even my best effort to plant data would have been easily detectable. There would have been all kinds of clues on the disk if we'd attempted to do that. Based on that realisation, I would say it is ridiculous to suggest that we planted that material, indeed, there are many perfectly legal ways to sack an underperforming sales representive. Planting such material is not only morally outrageous but completly unneccessary.

This crazy line of argument quickly evaporated as the day wore on. I'm not quite sure what took place in the court room but as far as I know the two expert witnesses on this (one for each side) were ordered to get together by the judge at a previous pre-trial hearing. This had not happened due the London bombings. As a result, the trial was vacated until late in November and I will be required to return for that date. Any hope for closure on this issue was well and truly dashed.

What has been made plainly obvious by yesterday's antics is that this is really all a game to the barristers. They've desensitized so completly to the nature of the crimes these people are accused of committing that it begs belief. To them victory matters over all else regardless of whether they are defence or prosecution. The whole exercise has made me incredibly cynical towards the legal process but as much I could grumble about how it could work swifter you have to appreciate that these people are necessity and that they're only doing what they're being paid a fortune to do.

Being a Barrister earns you a lot of money and commands a lot of respect but it does not save you from having to defend the odd unsavory character. In my view, they're paid so much money to bear the burden of getting someone off the hook who later reoffends and ends up doing something a whole lot worse. You don't know whether to envy them or pitty them, I think in my case I'd choose pitty; I'll keep my programming job thank-you very much.


22:34:24 GMT | #Life | Permalink
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