I believe in the need for a right of the accused to get a fair hearing in front of a jury of their peers: this is fundamental to the delivery and function of a safe legal system and of democracy itself. What I cannot understand is the use of such rights by an accused, who appears to have been caught “red handed”, to frustrate justice or to provide a platform for publicising some ideology, and at public expense. I write here about the case of two men who were alleged to have hacked to death an off-duty soldier in London, with knives and a butcher’s meat cleaver, having first run him down with a car, and all in broad daylight. They were put on trial and pleaded “Not Guilty” despite having admitted the offence, on camera, at the scene.
Subsequently, before the inevitable verdict of guilty, the two killers took the opportunity to justify their heinous crime as “an act of war” against a “legitimate target” – a serving British soldier doing nothing more violent than go to the gym. Disregarding the fact that ‘correct’ Islam does not advocate violence, nor endorse or promote extremism, they were allowed, by the mechanism of simply pleading ‘not guilty’, to propagate their chillingly insane rationale while, at the same time, subjecting the poor bereaved family to horrendous detail, including film, of the butchery of their loved one.
I simply ask how is it possible, how does it serve the ends of justice or democracy, to permit this distortion of due process?