Monday 4 August 2008


It is excellent news that Barry George has been acquitted. What we usually see with miscarriages of justice is people who were locked up on the basis of compelling evidence but are later released on the basis of even more compelling evidence. Barry George, on the other hand, has had eight years of his life confiscated by the state on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. One of Tim Worstall's commenters, a Mr Dodgy Geezer, puts it well:

The shocking thing about George’s conviction was that it was NOT based on ANY evidence. He was convicted entirely on circumstantial evidence, which was that he lived in the area and behaved oddly. The ‘particle of residue’ was hardly defended against forensically at all, and could as easily have been a bonfire particle for all the defence knew.

This was the first case I have seen in the UK courts where someone was convicted on no evidence since the end of the witch trials. It was NOT the case that the police constructed a frame-up - they didn’t need to. Everyone just assumed he was guilty, and what circumstantial evidence there was was just there for show. Mr Justice Gage has a lot to answer for…

There was never any excuse for trying this man, let alone convicting him. Some of those responsible for the original trial should be up in court themselves. This wasn't a forgivable mistake.

Let's just remind ourselves how British justice operates in these cases, shall we?

It is the tradition in Britain, when someone is wrongly convicted and locked up, to present them with a bill for room and board when their conviction is overturned. Yes, that's right: if you are locked up for, say, twenty years for a crime you did not commit, when your conviction is finally overturned, the government will present you with a large bill for the luxurious prison bed you slept in and the scrumptious prison food you ate.

So Barry George now has that to look forward to. Nice.

There's such a fine line between clever and stupid.

Not that this strays anywhere near that line, mind you:

[Ged Fulton] said: “I’m a bit disappointed Sean has basically done the same thing as me. But I’m probably the best person to advise him. ..."

Forget the subject matter here. It really doesn't matter what it is Sean has done. If all he'd done was to build a really shoddy sandcastle, that quote there from his dad would still be quite phenomenally stupid.