Friday, July 24, 2009

Steven Gerrard: acquitted and innocent...

Just over four months ago, I posted this update to a post I wrote in January of this year about the Steven Gerrard 'assault' case.

I will not bore you all by rehearsing the points I made in those posts - the links are there for you to read at your leisure - but forgive me for reminding you that they both referred to the presumption of innocence granted to those charged with offences inthis country; a presumption which many in the press chose to virtually ignore in questioning whether Gerrard was fit to play for either his country or his club, because he had been charged with assault - a matter which was subseuently dropped before it went to trial - and affray.

Well the wheels of justice have now turned, Mr Gerrard has been tried and acquitted of that allegation.

And for those in the press who possibly wanted to see him convicted, allow me to point to the words of the trial judge, Henry Globe QC, in discharging and releasing him:

"The verdict is a credible verdict on the full facts of this case, and you walk away from this court with your reputation intact... what at first sight to the casual observer may seem to have been a clear-cut case against you of unlawful violence, has been nowhere near as clear-cut upon careful analysis of the evidence."

And that, in a couple of sentences, is why we have the presumption of innocence; because in a trial situation, when evidence is tested, it is often found to be far more opaque than it first appeared.

I wonder if all those journalists who salivated so obviously over Gerrard's arrest and subsequent trial will have the decency to print articles as large as their sensational originals in apologising to him and declaiming his innocence?

I won't hold my breath waiting for them to appear.


Anonymous said...

Some helpful suggestions to avoid
a charge of assault or affray.

1) Do not get the hump if another individual rejects your unsolicited request to play with their toys.

2)Do not address your peers as "lad", as this will conjure a perception of arrogance and a 'better than thou' disposition.
Whereas, the reality may be that you merely kick a ball around a park, and have less nous and social skills than said "lad".

3)If you are surrounded by a circle of able bodied friends, it is best not to claim that you are in fear of being attacked - if only to preserve your self esteem.

4)If you genuinely fear being assualted, move away - do not deliver several pre-emptive punches before your perceived assailant has even said "boo".

5)Do not assume you will receive the support of your jurors.

The chants outside Court of "Ar Stevie's a 'lejun'" are completely irrelevant to the facts of this case. Mike Gatting's immortal words about a test umpiring decision were far more apt -"THERE'S ONE RULE FOR THEM, AND ONE RULE FOR US"

O J Simpson said...

Congraulations Steve - I always knew you were innocent.

Anonymous said...

Well done Stevie, you have restored the fine reputation of scousers and footballers everywhere - we orways new yer wuz innucunt.

This Royal Throne of Kings said...

Anonymous @ 10.43,

The purpose of all three posts I have now written on the 'Stevie G' case was not to defend him personally - he has a phalanx of highly paid lawyers to do that for him - but by using his case as an example, to defend a vital concept which was, and in my view still is, in danger of being undermined - the presumption of innocence.

Anonymous said...

Yes - and a 'phalanx of highly paid lawyers' are generally able to couch the facts in a manner that is convincing to any credulous minds, and use their professional wiles to exploit any weakness in technical legal issues. The lesser paid prosecution team should perhaps have sought for a trial in a neutral Court away from Liverpool. Whilst the Gerrard case was minor league in the realm of things, the newspapers yesterday highlighted a case where a man was acquitted on a far more serious charge. DNA evidence incriminated the supsect on a probability of 17,000,000 to 1, yet the suspect was acquitted on a technicality. I suspect we would all know the meaning of injustice, if we were the victim of violent crime in such circumstances.

This Royal Throne of Kings said...

Anonymous at 1.33pm,

It may surprise you to learn that I basically agree with you on both points.

The presumption of innocence is a fundamentally important concept, but so is the adminisration of justice, under which heading I would bracket both your observations.

Clearly, the exclusion of compelling evidence of guilt on the basis that it was incorrectly gathered - not illegally, merely incorrectly - is a nonsense, and that evidence should have gone in front of the jury which tried him, for them to decide on his guilt or otherwise.

And for what it's worth, I believe it would have been more sensible for Gerrard's trial to be held a another (possibly more neutral?) court on the North West circuit, at Preston, for instance.

Then again, what if the jury which tried him in Liverpool had been constituted entirely of dyed-in-the-wool Everton fans?

Anonymous said...

One would anticipate that the defendant in the recently reported incident involving the Mansfield physics teacher would appreciate a similar level of legal representation.

This Royal Throne of Kings said...

Anonymous at 3.36.

Always supposing that the man in question is a member of one of the teaching unions and therefore entitled to 'free' legal representation, I'm sure that he will be very well represented by a more than capable advocate.

Quite whether his counsel will be as gifted as Gerrard's, I cannot begin to guess; but something of which I am confident, is that there is much more to the case you cite than currently meets the eye.

And, yes, irrespective of the tidal wave of publicity suggesting otherwise, I maintain my usual stance that he, too, is innocent until proven guilty by a jury in possession of the full facts of the case.

Assuming he is fit to plead, of course...