Guilt 'no longer issue in appeals'

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE POLICE Federation has mounted a strong attack on Lord Taylor, the Lord Chief Justice, claiming that 'guilt or innocence is no longer the issue' in the Court of Appeal.

An unsigned article in Police, the magazine of the Federation, says courts are being hoodwinked by criminals whose lawyers 'climb on the bandwagon of alleged police impropriety'.

In the Court of Appeal last month, Lord Taylor, in quashing the Cardiff Three's convictions for the murder of a prostitute, said detectives had 'mentally beaten a suspect over the head' by their tactics during interrogations.

The writer of the article says that detectives 'will now think that the safest course in future will be to believe everything a suspect says, or accept his silence as conclusive proof of innocence, apologise for inconveniencing him and let him go.

'Almost every contested criminal case can now require a 'trial within a trial.' If it doesn't fool the judge and jury in the Crown Court, there is always the Court of Appeal. No wonder the gaols are heaving with hundreds of prisoners now clamouring for a taste of Lord Taylor's elixir of freedom.

'Guilt or innocence is no longer the issue. The question is, can innuendo and ridicule undermine police evidence that persuaded juries to convict? Pass that test, you lucky little villain, and you're on your way out. It would be 'unsafe' to keep you in.'