Letter: Rough justice

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The Independent Online
Sir: The excuse given by Judge William Crawford for his racist remark ("Mackay rebukes `niggers' judge", 27 March) was that he had not intended to offend. But intent is not the issue. Recklessness or ignorance are equally shocking in a man vested with such great powers. What will the next black defendant before Judge Crawford be thinking?

A great number of criminal offences are convictable upon proof of gross negligence or recklessness, it being unnecessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused intended the results of his conduct. Can defendants at Newcastle Crown Court in future rely upon the "regrettable slip" defence or is that a judicial privilege?

Dr GARY SLAPPER

The Law School

Staffordshire University

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