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Saturday Sound-Off: Evading Justice

Two items on last night’s news caught my eye: The escalating cost of policing the Ecuadorian embassy whilst Julian Assange holes up there like a cowardly rat, and the fact a bunch of incompetent coppers has been given time to consider their answers to questions from the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In the first case, a man accused of rape has managed to evade trial by seeking ‘asylum’ in the embassy. He protests his innocence and blames Swedish, British and European law enforcers for his ‘imprisonment’, saying he can neither forgive nor forget the fact that ‘they’ have kept him apart form his children. The Metropolitan Police have mounted a guard at the embassy at a cost of more than £10,000 per day.

Rape is notoriously one of the most difficult crimes to prosecute successfully, requiring the subjection of the victim to humiliating scrutiny of her personal lifestyle choices. If this man truly is innocent then the proper course is for him to defend himself in a Swedish court.

Whilst the founder of Wikileaks was availing himself of the comforts of life in a Knightsbridge apartment block, sustained by food parcels delivered from Harrods, just around the corner, by ‘celebrity’ friends, a forty year old British man occupied himself by luring young gay men to his home where he drugged and murdered them, dumping their bodies in a nearby churchyard.

Police repeatedly failed to join the dots, making the assumption that these were unrelated instances of suicide. Ever since Stephen Port’s conviction six month ago, his victims’ families have been waiting for an explanation. The IPCC has provided the officers accused of incompetence with “more than 7,000 pages” of “pre-interview disclosure”.

In what other circumstance would an accused person be granted not a few hours or days, but several weeks to respond to interview questions? The families’ legal representative has pointed out that “the longer this drags on, the greater the chance of evidence being lost or forgotten.” To which a cynic might add that the longer it drags on the easier it will be to hide the truth.

Sources: BBC and Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/19/stephen-port-victims-families-losing-confidence-in-police-watchdog

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39978661

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31159594