If CCTV Is The Answer, I Have To Wonder Just What The Question Is…

July 11, 2012 18 Comments
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Chemistry teacher Jack Goodwin lost his job at Beverley Grammar School after being charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

Mr Goodwin, whose father Chris is a former head teacher at the same school, is now appealing the academy’s decision to dismiss him.

The 36-year-old faced a seven-month ordeal waiting for his court case, only to be told on the day of his trial the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was offering no evidence.

And just why was that?

Well…

It followed the discovery of crucial CCTV evidence, which cleared Mr Goodwin over the fight in The Cross Keys pub on November 20 last year.

The ‘discovery’ of it? Where did they find it, down the back of someone’s sofa? Or are they referring to discovery in legal terms?

Surely they aren’t implying someone didn’t check it before they laid charges?

The complainant had alleged Mr Goodwin attacked himas he walked to the dance floor with his partner.However, the CCTV footage showed Mr Goodwin, of Carlton Rise, Beverley, enjoying drinks with his friends when the man approached him aggressively, threatening him.

Good grief!

Mr Goodwin’s barrister, Bernard Gateshill, said: “The CCTV was not received until all the interviews were done and the witnesses had made their statements.”The CCTV undermined what they said.”

Well, indeed! So why did the CPS decide to go ahead without viewing the CCTV, if that is indeed what happened?

Head of the CPS Crown Court Unit, Catherine Ainsworth, said: “The case was charged with a full understanding of the evidential issuesthat would have to be addressed at any trial.”However we believed the evidence provided a realistic prospect of conviction and we could rebut claims of self-defence.”

Pretty hard to rebut the CCTV, though? I mean, there it is, in grainy black and white…

But incredibly, their statement seems to indicate that they’d have pressed on in spite of the CCTV evidence if only the judge hadn’t seen sense and kicked them into touch:

“The Code for Crown Prosecutors states that, in order to prosecute, there must be sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”However, for a jury to convict, that jury must be sure of the defendant’s guilt; two very different tests.

“While we believed the evidence met our test, it was clear the judge did not feel it would meet the jury’s test and gave a very clear indication that he would not allow this case to progress to the jury.

“On further review, we accepted the judge’s assessment and withdrew the case.”

They really do employ the lowest common denominator at the CPS, don’t they?

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18 Responses to If CCTV Is The Answer, I Have To Wonder Just What The Question Is…

  1. July 11, 2012 at 10:10 am

    However we believed the evidence provided a realistic prospect of conviction and we could rebut claims of self-defence.

    So the issue was not innocence but whether a conviction could be secured?

    • July 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

      And how long ago was it that was anything else? Anyone who has faith in the courts would do best to keep well away. My only experience, in a civil case, made it clear to me that what happens in court is not about justice.

    • July 11, 2012 at 11:15 am

      No. The judge’s comment gives it away.

      Recorder Sandeep Kainth told Mr Goodwin he was a free man. He said: “The prosecution will not proceed further with this allegation of grievous bodily harm and formally offer no evidence and I’m very glad to enter a formal not guilty verdict.

      In other words, the case was crap from start to finish and should not have been charged because the investigation was faulty and the original complaint was malicious.

      By offering the CPS a graceful chance to withdraw rather than be booted out, the judge emphasizes that it is not a technical matter of him not wishing to put the evidence before a jury (the one you feared); he’s obliging them to admit they never had any evidence.

      “As far as you are concerned, you are a free man and your character remains intact.”

      Unfortunately, due to having been sacked and because of the CRB system, Goodwin now has an indelible record which means he’d better win his job back and do it. Worse, after this kind of abuse a teacher will often be so damaged that they can’t get back in the classroom or, if they are, are ineffective because they dare not exercise any discipline. They then lose the job anyway.

      If you look carefully between the lines, you’ll notice that the complainants name has been kept out of it and that the school sacked the teacher immediately. That means the complainant was a minor, probably one from the school.

      Having attacked the teacher in the pub, the youth then claimed to be the victim, and the police invariably and stupidly continue to overlook the fact that minors can, and do, often start fights and complain exactly of this, as they did in the case of Fred Brown and so many cases that I’ve lost count.

      What we really need to know is how long before trial the CCTV was disclosed to the defence because this is not the first time either the police or CPS have failed to hand over a tape. There have been several of these where video evidence has forced the CPS to withdraw at the last moment when it was always available, right from the beginning. (As happened in a case which involved the Harrow prosecutor some months ago, only he blamed the police for not giving him the tape).

      This is precisely why nobody will intervene when a youth attacks; everybody knows that the police will arrest the person trying to offer protection and then mess up their life for a year, perhaps for ever, in trying to get a conviction.

      It is crucial now to remove the failed Kier Starmer as head of the CPS, and put in a proper prosecutor, one who will concentrate on crime, not trying to make pet cases and vendettas against footballers. It would also be sensible to hire CPS workers who are literate, minimally logica, capable of asking questions of the files instead of sulkily blaming the police for not being psychic, and able to read their own website which explains the legal background very well.

      The CPS has been engaging in social engineering for at least a decade now and it needs to be cleaned out and rebuilt on ethical lines instead of being a branch of Crims-R-Us.

      • July 12, 2012 at 8:36 am

        Totally agree. The CPS is not fit for purpose, and hasn’t been for a long time.

    • Tatty
      July 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      So the issue was not innocence but whether a conviction could be secured?

      Yes, and you sound surprised. I’m almost disappointed. ;)

    • Furor Teutonicus
      July 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      That is the job of the prosecution service. You want “innocence” ask the “defence” bench, not the “attack.”

  2. Ed P
    July 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

    One hopes he will get his job back, with full pay for the interval and compensation for the stress & slurs on his character.

    Is it possible to sue the CPS over their incompetence?

    • David A. Evans
      July 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      Not a hope on both counts. :sad:

      DaveE.

  3. nisakiman
    July 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Well, not to worry. They only trashed one guy’s life. Guy was probably a loser anyway. Next case…

  4. Peter Whale
    July 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I have been involved with just two cases as a witness where both times the ruling went against justice. I was appalled at the lies and blatant deceit that the judge went along with. I will never now have faith on any judgement made in our legal system.

    • July 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Sometimes they don’t – like the one in this very case.

      The independence of the judiciary is always a two-sided coin; sometimes they are bound to come down heads and knock all their sense out (see Twitter trial) and that is the price of making sure they aren’t the state’s rubber stamp.

      But recently I think that so many faulty cases have been put forward that it amounts to a systematic attempt to discredit the judiciary and to remove what remaining independence – not much – they have left by putting them in impossible situations.

      If they let the trial go ahead – and I won’t bore you with the list – then campaigners will point out that Justice Cocklecarrot should have booted it out and never let it go to a jury. And the campaigners are right.

      The greater danger, from a judge’s point of view, is to be seen to systematically be preventing a jury from reaching a conclusion. If they do that, they are afraid the jury system itself will be undermined. Too late, pet, you might reply.

      The jury system is supposed to be a bulwark against tyranny, but by the time a defendant has had DNA taken, been arrested, identified in public, been sacked and then had to wait for months on end – often, not surprisingly on medication – and sometimes been stitched-up by the complainant conniving with the press to prejudice the outcome, then an acquittal turns out to be a hollow victory, especially when they find they can’t get the records deleted and now have – I repeat – something which will show up on an enhanced CRB check to preclude them working in many capacities. It doesn’t matter that they were acquitted; the accusation will be treated as conviction for these purposes.

      It is a diabolical system which shames and damages England on a profound spiritual level. It is supposed to; it is another way England is being reduced to a banana republic. Which reminds me, must get some thicker tin foil for my helmet.

      • David A. Evans
        July 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm

        something which will show up on an enhanced CRB check to preclude them working in many capacities. It doesn’t matter that they were acquitted; the accusation will be treated as conviction for these purposes.

        I know all about that one. Destroyed a potential relationship too.

        DaveE.

        EDIT: You don’t even have to be charged with an offence either, just arrested for a chargeable offence.

      • Mark
        July 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

        “But recently I think that so many faulty cases have been put forward that it amounts to a systematic attempt to discredit the judiciary and to remove what remaining independence – not much – they have left by putting them in impossible situations. ”

        Now that’s an interesting idea.

  5. Steve
    July 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I trust all those that gave evidence against Mr. Goodwin will be charged with perjury… or does that only apply to some?

  6. Furor Teutonicus
    July 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    XX “On further review, we accepted the judge’s assessment and withdrew the case.”XX

    Oh well, they ACCEPTED the judges assessment! THAT was jolly decent of them.

    They do realise, of course, they do not have the fucking CHOICE? AND that the guy up on the podium in the red dress and spiffy wig is there because he knows MORE about the law than them? NOT because someone thouht it a jolly good idea to give them someone to chat to in the break?

  7. John
    July 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I wonder will we ever reach the point where those anonymous admins at the CPS might be charged with wasting the court’s time.

    Perhaps one or two trials and some personal penalties levied on those whose incompetence is exposed in cases like this would lead to a little more attention being paid at the CPS.

    I mean it’s not like they’re screwing innocent people’s lives up with this stuff is it? And who’s betting that the prosecution will linger on this teacher’s CRB record for years to come?

  8. David A. Evans
    July 14, 2012 at 1:03 am

    I hate arguments but there you go.

    I got involved in one because I said advanced rather than enhanced.

    To me, in context, they mean the same, beyond basic.

    Either way, I will flag positive.

    DaveE.

    • July 15, 2012 at 12:43 am

      link to thesaurus.net agrees with you; if you query ‘enhanced’, advanced is the first synonym it offers.

      I suppose something like this being true as a matter of fact is not relevant?

      Probably none of my beeswax but how on earth did a grammatical dispute escalate to an arrest? I know people feel strongly about grocers’ apostrophes and have proposed that misuse should be a criminal offence, but I assumed this was a grisly joke rather than a serious risk.

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