This is in response to Talk Politics's criticism of Tony Blair's respect speech.
I'm sorry mate, you are wrong and Tony is right.
A man found with 10,000 in cash late at night with no reasonable explanation DESERVES prosecution regardless of whether the police can actually PROVE it is the result of wrongdoing.
If I went out tonight and got blind drunk and caused a nuisance in the street and I was consequently fined 100 pounds, I would deserve it. I would prefer that rather than being prosecuted through the court system for a year (EVEN if I was eventually proved innocent). We are talking practicalities here, you are not living in the real world.
In theory you are spot on to say it's the bureaucracy of the criminal justice system that is the problem NOT the process, BUT you forget 'due process' necessarily involves a high level of bureaucracy, the two are interdependent.
It terms of low level punishment for low level crimes, it is BETTER to punish the innocent than to let the guilty go free.
Being innocent and getting a 100 pound fine is not the end of the world. Dishing out fast and proportionate punishment to the guilty benefits us all by lessening the chance of them progressing to worse crimes.
This is just not possible if you are going to give them the the full legal process which is necessarily expensive and time consuming.
I'm sorry but, principles and tradition mean nothing here. You are going to have to prove to me why, for instance, trial by jury is important in complicated fraud cases when they drastically increase the expense and reduce the success of trial completion let alone prosecution. Prove to me that 'trial by jury' is more accurate. There is a strong scientific case that people like Dawkins have made to show why the jury process is flawed.
Is it good for civil liberties that defence lawyers pick jurors of the basis of whether they are likely to acquit rather than whether they are likely to be fair?
I am not in favour of removing the choice to have trial by jury in serious cases and neither is this government but these questions have to be asked.