What a timely Blog This Challenge. This post has been brewing in my heart for a number of weeks and then tonight when I decide to write this post only to find the On Your Soapbox Challenge, so here I go.
Injustice riles my heart.
When Justice goes wrong it makes me shake my head in disbelief - no more so than when I see it do more harm than good. Very recently not 1 but 2 of my friends have been on the receiving end of what I consider Justice Getting It Wrong.
Case 1 : My friend's ex daughter in law takes out a AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) against her, my friend's son and my friend's daughter. This was month's ago. Firstly they had to wait over 2 months to get a court date - causing untold anguish to my friend and her family. Let me say I have know this woman for over 35 years and she is the most caring and beautiful women I have ever met. Court date arrives and the 3 accused front up - and then the accuser is a no-show. The Court then sets another date, another few months away - more anguish for the family as they wait for this to stop hanging over their heads. They know they are innocent.
So they all turn up and the accuser is a no-show yet again. Judge is not impressed but instead of dismissing it, sets a 3rd court date. So how is it that a person can accuse someone else of intent to violence and then just not show because she supposedly has issues getting there? Now I understand that no violence has to be committed and that threat of violence is enough. But surely you can't just not decide to come. Where is the innocent until proven guilty part of this justice. Can the judge really look at my friend and she her as a threat to anyone?
Case 2 : One of my 'sisters', minding her own business at work, is verbally abused by a client of her boss. Yelling at her, using the threat of his body to back her into a corner - all the while still yelling right in her face. He returns to the office more than once to continue the tirade and is actually apprehended while on the premises. The police take it to court, not my friend, but she is subpoenaed to testify. What makes it worse is the accused is representing himself and so he gets to cross examine the woman he has terrified, caused to have counselling and who still has nightmares about the assault. He is also allowed to pre-read her witness statement and use it to manipulate her on the witness stand. Is she protected by the judge, oh no, he throws the case out for lack of evidence as it becomes, in his eyes, a he said - she said situation. Now where is the bloody justice in that. My friend is now forced to look for new employment as she has flash backs at work.
I know there are many cases where AVOs and the like are valid - but they can also be used for malice - the system needs to change to protect everyone from this.
I know that not everyone can afford a lawyer and that they should have the right to defend themselves, but what about the victim here - could they not do a video cross examination rather than put her right back in the role of being assaulted, and why oh why did the police bring it to trial if there was not enough evidence - get it right and protect the innocent.
Okay I will now step down from the soapbox until the next time.