It was a result of a human right issue

  peter99co 13:56 19 Feb 11

They were thrown to the wolves for shopping a benefits scrounger:

click here

As such statements might be relied on in court, they had to be disclosed to the ‘defence’, otherwise Hannibal’s right to a fair trial would be jeopardised and his ‘human rights’ breached.

I know it a daily mail report but that does not make it right.

  spider9 15:02 19 Feb 11

Here we go again!
A human rights issue??
It was simply a 'fair trial' issue, something I'm sure we all agree with - or do we?
The point appears to be that if you are accusing anyone of a crime, it is necessary to stand by your evidence in court.

Let me be clear, I hold no truck with the alleged benefit cheat - but to describe it under your thread heading as " It was...human rights" is ridiculous.

  peter99co 15:17 19 Feb 11

His ‘human rights’ breached if he did not see the documents.

What about their human rights????

Of course it was caused by adhering to Human Rights

I stand by the title because if this was not the case they would have been safe.

  spider9 15:39 19 Feb 11

The couple had the option of NOT making the statement - they agreed to do so! By doing so the document could then be available in open court, as it must be for a 'fair' trial, surely.

ps 'shouting' doesn't make your case any stronger!

  OTT_B 17:28 19 Feb 11

I don't know the ins and outs of the legal procedures in use, but wouldn't it have been possible for the evidence to be passed to the defence with names removed from the statements?
A system that allows people who 'do their civic duty' to be put at risk seems pretty daft.

I agree with spider9 and fourm member; the accused has a right to a fair trial, and seeing the evidence of the crime that he is accused of is necessary.

  morddwyd 19:41 19 Feb 11

"but wouldn't it have been possible for the evidence to be passed to the defence with names removed from the statements?"

Possible, but unfair.

It is a tenet of British law that you are allowed to face your accusers.

This can be set aside, and sometimes is, but only in very prescribed circumstances.

  john 52 20:24 19 Feb 11

Perfectly summed up fourm member

  peter99co 20:40 19 Feb 11

Whatever the truth, didn’t the DWP have a duty of care towards two elderly people who, at the very least, did not fully understand the implications of coming forward to expose their neighbour? A duty to fully explain the small print?

Many will now refuse to give evidence and just look the other way in the future.

And I don't blame them. How on earth do they expect witnesses to turn up if this happens?

Hannibal has had his monthly benefits cut from £850 to £270; it is the only upside to this story, which was raised in the Commons by MP Robert Halfon, who described his constituents as ‘utterly decent salt-of-the-earth individuals’.
‘In this case,’ he said, ‘the State has stood idly by for four years while an elderly couple have been systematically persecuted. What is the point of laws at all if only the good and decent suffer because of incompetence and bureaucracy?

  OTT_B 20:40 19 Feb 11

The accuser in this case would be the DWP, wouldn't it?

  Forum Editor 00:05 20 Feb 11

"The accuser in this case would be the DWP, wouldn't it?"

Yes, it would. The DWP's counsel would,however, have wanted to introduce the witness statements in evidence, and the Criminal Procedure rules 2010 state that before the court hearing a copy of the witness statements must be provided to the other side, and to the court. In order to be valid a witness statement must contain the full name of the person making the statement.

  Forum Editor 00:31 20 Feb 11

if only the good and decent suffer because of incompetence and bureaucracy?"

The point is that in a just society everyone is entitled to fair treatment in the courts, and that means people who may not fit the popular concept of being 'good and decent.

The price we pay for having our system that way is that from time to time criminals will profit from it.

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