You wake up – hearing a crash as the front door to your house is battered down. Shouts and bangs startle you out of bed as police fan out and run through your house. You leap out of bed, only to be forced to the ground by the policeman entering your room. You stay still – not knowing what is going on, but unwilling to be shot during this nightmare.
You are under arrest – for murder.
Maybe you did it.
Maybe you didn’t.
Regardless of your guilt, in our enlightened society you have the right to a trial, the right to be judged by a jury of your peers and the presumption of innocence until the jury says otherwise.
You have the right to present your own case, the right of cross examination and the right to testify in your own defense.
You have the right to tell your side of the story – and tell it in the manner that puts you in the best light.
This right is not bestowed on the crown prosecutors and police, who have to put their case and then listen to yours, and certainly not on the media, who can report the facts but don’t get to decide.
In the court a jury will decide your fate. Not the police that break down your door, nor a corrupt politician that put them there, nor a neighbour with a grudge, the media, you, a fistfull of dollars nor anything else. A jury decides and we abide by their decision.
So I will fight like hell to defend Clayton Weatherston‘s attempts to try to reduce his murder charge to manslaughter. I will defend his taking the stand and saying horrible things about the people involved.
I’ll do that because one day they could be knocking on my door – and I will want the right to be able to put my case and prove my innocence. I would trust that I have a fair chance of putting my case, and that the jury is full of people that can reason, discuss and consider – and avoid making a hasty decision.
It’s been a horrible process for the family of the Weatherston’s victim, and a lurid spectacle for all watching. The media don’t help the family by broadcasting the filth across the land, but they are only doing their job it seems.
But give the guy his day in court, and now that he has been found guilty lock him up, but give him the right of appeal to ensure the process is fair.
If we want a decent society we must treat even our most least deserving citizens with respect.