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What is justice?

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  • What is justice?

    What is justice? How does it work? Is it just a game that lawyers play?

    I was in court for the first time recently, giving evidence at a family hearing which has been going on for some time and is long and complicated. I cannot say too much about it due to confidentiality.

    I had to represent myself or face paying £20,000 for legal representation that I feel would have been of very little benefit, as I am generally articulate and can express myself adequately, and I thought all I would have to do was answer some factual questions and that would be it.

    I gave my evidence to the best of my ability however under cross-examination there was an attempt made to discredit my evidence using various legal arguments that were beyond my comprehension.
    I KNOW for a FACT that the person accused of something is completely innocent of any wrongdoing as I was present with them at the time the incident is alleged to have occurred.
    However I am worried that my evidence was not strong enough to help prove their innocence, especially since the judgement will be based on probabilities and not beyond all reasonable doubt.
    I now fear that a judgement could be made against an innocent person due to the quality of my evidence, and I feel I should have given more gravitas to my evidence to convey the fact that there is no way the person could have done any wrong.

    As I watched the hearing play out in court, my belief in the justice system and how it works has been completely shattered. None of the parties seemed interested in getting to the truth, they all seemed to want to pick out minor details to try and discredit each other. Is this really how the justice system works? Or are judges wise enough to see through all the smoke and recognise the true facts?

    I cannot sleep at night worrying that there will be a miscarriage of justice because of my evidence. In the event that a judgement is made against the person who I know to be innocent, what recourse is there to rectify this?
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  • #2
    Without knowing the details of the alleged wrongdoing it is difficult to say what would happen. Many things are said in family courts to try and discredit the other party but things rarely go further after any decision is made unless it is something very serious, for example if this were a child protection issue then the Court can order further investigations but a person canít be found guilty as with the criminal system on the basis of evidence provided in a civil private matter.
    It may open doors for investigations but that is a separate matter. The court would also have to authorise any evidence given in the case to be released, which is uncommon.
    Try not to worry too much once you have the final judgment then you can see what needs to be dealt with.
    I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply.
      This was a fact finding hearing into a very serious non-accidental injury suffered by a young child within a time period. I was present with one of the parents during their entire time with the child during that time period and there is absolutely no way that they could possibly have caused the injury, even accidentally. However some legal arguments were presented to court to make it appear as if this parent is possibly responsible for the injury due to inconsistencies, in part due to some of my own recollection of events.
      I understand a person canít be found guilty as with the criminal system in a civil matter, and I am not worried about separate investigations as there is no evidence that I can see to support a criminal investigation. I am 100% certain that the parent did not and could not have caused the injury in any way.
      What I am concerned about is the outcome of the hearing which could affect the child's placement and so on. My weak evidence and vague recollections may result in an innocent person not seeing their child grow up. To see an innocent person punished in this way is unbearable.


      • #4
        Hi Logical,
        It must be worrying for you. As far as the Court is concerned the welfare of the child is paramount. All I can suggest is that the parent does everything asked of them. The Court will make a decision on the facts. Even if the Court made a finding that prevented your friend from seeing their child that doesnít mean contact canít be set up with protections in place such as at a contact centre. Indirect contact should be maintained, cards and letters for example and with time building up to direct contact.
        This is of course if the Court decides there is an issue and the child needs protection. This may not happen. It wonít just come down to your evidence.
        Hopefully you are worrying unnecessarily.
        I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

        Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

        If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.


        • #5
          Well it appears my fears were justified.

          The person who I know could not possibly have injured the child has not been cleared at the end of the hearing, however the person who likely done it has been cleared and may even be allowed to look after the child.

          My evidence was obviously weak and not enough to clear an innocent person. I know I could have answered a lot of the questions better if I had time to consider my responses and now I feel like this is all my fault. The person who was cleared has a history of violence including rape (charges were not proceeded with) and much more, however none of that was deemed relevant to the case and could not be submitted as evidence.

          I know the decision had to be based on a balance of facts, and I know that if I had to make a decision based solely on the facts that were presented I would probably have reached the same conclusion.
          The innocent party will now seek an appeal but I do not know if that will be successful.
          I know that if it was me who was accused of doing something that I didn't do, I would be at my wits' end.

          I keep thinking if I had just paid for legal advice at the start then things might be different as I would have been more prepared. But I also don't see why justice depends on how much you can pay.

          I am at a loss as to what I can do to right this wrong.


          • #6
            I'd just like to follow up on this and see if anyone agrees with me that the justice system is not working correctly in this case?

            I understand that the welfare of the child is paramount, however i also KNOW that the person found to have possibly injured the child could not possibly have done so as I was personally present throughout.

            As I see it, there are two injust outcomes of this case:
            1. An innocent mother may now be prevented from seeing her child
            2. Another party who possibly committed the injury is not prevented from seeing the child.

            Throughout the case I thought that justice would prevail, the truth would out. That has clearly not happened.
            Had I known this was going to be the outcome, I could have presented more relevant evidence about abuse and deception carried out by the father, but I did not want to complicate the case further, and I cannot submit new evidence now.

            As a lay person I have no idea what avenues are open to me without incurring expensive legal advice.

            Should I just turn my back on what has happened and accept it, or is there anything I can do to ensure that justice does indeed prevail?


            • #7
              Hi Logical. The family court system is seriously flawed and inadequate when it comes to justice. In my experience (2 cases) the courts glaze over any paperwork or evidence without actually paying attention. All they see is allegations and the fast route is that they judge who is standing in front of them rather than doing the duty.
              With all the advice I have got recently from a high priced legal team, various other agencies and many more is that you can not fight the system. Do not even try because it will reflect badly on you, and or draw it out longer. You can appeal after a fact finding hearing but im also told there is little point because you can only fight a certain part but not the judgment itself. Best to move on and let it go for now, I feel the pain you must saying that as I too have had issues but can not straighten it out.
              The games legal plays are disgusting I know, using terms and psycholinguistic programming to tilt the balance to their side. In addition to the courts being blind to what is in front of their face. The problem with giving evidence and cross examination is for half of it you are gagged and the other half you are discredited. Bend over, jump through hoops, play the game. There is nothing else to do, injustice is the name of the game. Sadly I have searched every avenue, even a friend who is a magistrate herself says how biased and unjust the system is in family court. The next step will be to prove them wrong without words, show them. I am sorry to hear of your plight.


              • #8
                Yes the system is indeed badly flawed as I have come to realise.
                Unfortunately I placed my trust in it and it let me down. Now how do I go about righting what is clearly a miscarriage of justice? How can this flawed system be fixed?

                Can my MP do anything or can I highlight this in a national newspaper?

                This is starting to badly affect me now, i cannot stop thinking about the wrong that has happened and it needs to be righted again.


                • #9
                  Need advice on what to do next - miscarriage of justice, appeal dismissed. What now?


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