Now I know what you’re going to say, it’s a classic case of “you would say that wouldn’t you”, but hear me out. In all the hype, in all the furore, all the shock, the damnation, the disbelief, indignation, I lost sight of something. I forgot that you don’t know how the criminal justice system works.
Can I just plant a seed of doubt into your trusting mind dear reader, here’s a hypothetical idea. A lad breaks into a flat, goes into one apartment and steals some money. Goes to the second apartment and steals nothing, because there’s nothing to steal. Later, he gets caught. He is charged with stealing money – and jewellery. “Oh” he protests, “I didn’t take any jewellery”. “Hmm” says Mr Policeman and solicitor dragged out of bed to represent him on Legal Aid “you broke in, you stole money”. “Yes” interjects the lad, “but I didn’t take the jewellery.” Look lad, it’s your word against the owners, no jury is going to have sympathy for you, so do yourself a favour and admit the whole lot, the judge will congratulate you for your sense and you’ll get less time inside for admitting wrongdoing at the first instance.” Now, what do you think the lad is going to do? Stand up in front of a jury and run the risk that they might believe that the people he stole from are on an insurance fiddle? He could if he could afford a crusading TV style barrister, but remember, he’s on Legal Aid…… he can’t afford a decent lawyer? Come on now, what would you do if you were on the jury? Might I run the risk of suggesting you would say to yourself “he’s got what’s coming to him, shouldn’t have broken in in the first place – guilty.”
You have then painted that lad as a worse thief than he actually was, because yes, the couple were fiddling their insurance and they knew it was one person’s word against another, and coming from such a bad angle, they knew that no-one would believe our young lad and they could get themselves a nice fat cheque and buy some more geegaws.
Young lad, on the other hand, now has a record for stealing £1,000 of loot, when in fact all the couple had in their flat was £500.
It’s an interesting predicament isn’t it. Young lad was clearly in the wrong, but so are we if we are going to fiddle our insurance – but the insurance fiddlers are not the ones on trial are they? It’s one person’s word against another’s and when, like our lad, you are on the back foot, what are you going to do? Admit everything to get a decrease in your prison time.