Taking a very broad view it could be argued that the Scots have shown an enlightenment legally and otherwise compared to the English as a candle illuminates the shadows. There was a united Scottish kingdom before William the C made England his home. It can be fairly argued that Scottish writers of stature, inventers, philosophers, economists, scientists have been produced in numbers relative to population in excess of any other country. Hanging for what we now descibe as minor criminality was virtually abolished in Scotland in the early 1800s decades before such social progress was observed south of the border.

Until the early 1700s Scottish law considered a felon`s guilt proven or not proven on the facts of the case. But as a result of a case in 1728 a jury was allowed to bring in a verdict of not guilty when the facts in isolation indicated guilt. And so it developed that juries would bring in verdicts of not proven when the jury was unconvinced that the defendant was not guilty. This is the current situation which led in common parlance to the admonishment, “Not proven but don`t do it again”. A defendant could be considered fortunate to have “gotten away with it” or an innocent person would have a permanent stain on his character and doubt of innocence would be everlasting.

And so to Labour`s “Third Way”. A notion dreamt up by Tony Blair and his acolytes to persuade the British public that socialist Labour of the past was dead and buried. Now in a perverse manner Labour`s idea of not guilty has been split into not guilty but not quite innocent ie not proven. I refer to my previous observations of assault in a “domestic setting” otherwise referred to as Domestic Violence which doesn`t figure on the statute book but as an early symbol of Labour`s unspoken deference to the not proven concept. Prior to sitting on such cases magistrates are required to attend “training” where they are presented with spurious statistics concerning various international analyses of what assaulted women [usually] have undergone from their partner prior to the charge being brought the conclusion being that the Crown Prosecution Service wishes matters other than the evidence presented at trial to be considered. For magistrates with more than about four years experience this is a novel instruction which thankfully is given much less consideration than the powers that be would wish.

Two months ago restraining orders became available for the protection of victims of domestic violence; but not only for those whose partners had pleaded or had been found guilty but also for those aquitted of such charges. This was a matter for the courts` discretion depending on the circumstances. Another example of a not guilty being interpreted as a not proven.

And now we find out that the daddy of all snoopers the newly formed quango The Independant Safeguarding Authority has or will have the power to decide if those seeking registration and with no criminal record nevertheless are a “risk to children”. Its 200 workers whose qualifications are to say the least questionable will have the authority to interview all manner of people ranging from those from wherever who choose to comment on the lifestyle of the particular individual to employers, neighbours and literally anybody the caseworkers wish to contact. This scandal is not just an over zealous government seeking to protect children and vulnerable adults but the most authoritarian peace time government in modern times inducing a weary populous into a state of paranoia where an adult is guilty until proved innocent. The German film “Lives of Others” won the Oscar a couple of years ago for “Best Foreign Language” film. It told of the Stasi`s {the former Communist East Germany`s Secret police} intrusion into all aspects of peoples` lives by cajoling, threatening and blackmailing ordinary people to spy on their families, workmates, friends and neighbours and report their activities to the authorities. Sprechen sie Deutch?



  1. Being pedantic – it is restraining orders that are available, not non-mols.

  2. Thanks DanJP…..I`ve made appropriate edit

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