Letter: Woodward trial

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The Independent Online
Sir: Here in America, press coverage of the Louise Woodward trial has focused on the reaction of the British people toward the verdict and sentencing in Massachusetts. The sentiment in the UK seems to be that the trial was a spectacle and that Woodward was utterly incapable of killing the baby boy.

But most Americans accept that even fair trials can result in the wrong verdict, and that anyone, regardless of race or class, can be guilty of murder. While we sympathise with the Woodward family, we know that the system by which Louise was tried was fair, if not perfect in its results.

Americans especially appreciate having cameras in the courtroom, where we can keep an eye on the process to ensure objectivity and fairness.

What we do not want is for our system to emulate yours, where only five per cent of trials are by jury, where the state wields enormous power over the individual through the police and prosecutors, and where there is little or no oversight of the machinations of judicial officers.

PETER FREEMAN

Washington DC

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