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Old 18th February 2020, 01:04 AM   #15
smartcooky
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
It appears to me that the material witness approach makes the most sense. In the USA they would be compelled under oath to testify, but not compelled to incriminate themselves.

The right of silence and against self-incrimination is a key one IMHO. And remember it applies to suspects, not the proven guilty. No doubt some will think that this is a great way to convict the guilty, but it goes against hundreds of years of enlightenment. And the right of silence is an important constraint against legalized torture.

Arguments to eliminate rights always start by citing the very worse crimes. Historically it never stops there. The scene from the movie Man for Allseasons summarizes it best:

Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law?
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And, when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast – man’s laws, not God’s – and, if you cut them down – and you’re just the man to do it – d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.
Our problem here is that we do not have anything like a Grand Jury; we used to have until the 1960s when it was abolished.

In our system of jurisprudence, when a person has been charged with an offence, the case is handed to a Police prosecutor or a Crown Solicitor (depending on the seriousness of the crime) who will decide whether to take the case to court. That's it, there is no check or balance against a crooked or overzealous prosecutor that you get from a Grand Jury.
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