[Text on screen]: We all have the right to a fair trial. We are all innocent until proven guilty. We all have the right to a lawyer.
Why the right to a fair trial is so important:
The right to a fair trial goes way back…all the way back to our old friend King John when he sealed Magna Carta
[Animation crossing our ‘friend’ and replacing it with ‘fiend’]
The historic document proclaimed:” To no one shall we refuse or delay right of justice.”
Fast forward several hundred years and this right has been solidified in society following the horrors of the Second World War and then later implemented in the Human Rights Convention.
But what does a “fair trial” actually mean?
If you’re accused of a crime, the right to fair trial entitles you to be heard in public by an unbiased judge in a reasonable amount of time. So you shouldn’t be waiting years for a trial, although unfortunately this is often the case.
It also means that you’re innocent until proven guilty and that you are entitled to contact and meet a lawyer.
Whether standing before a judge, jury or magistrate, they must be independent and impartial. But our social media age is making that more and more difficult.
There have been several cases where social media has brought to light information not presented in court. However, Strict Liability, as enforced by the Contempt of Court Act 1981, states it is an offence to publish anything which “creates a substantial risk that the course of justice in the proceedings in question will be seriously impeded or prejudiced.” Initially aimed at televisions and newspapers, the act also covers the scope of social media.
The right to a fair trial is a guarantee of the rule of law and is essential for a just society.
It was one of the first, and still is one of the most fundamental human rights.