If the law is an ass what does that make those who are supposed to uphold the law?
You guessed it.. ar*eholes
In the dispensation of “justice”, judges are faced with the issues of technicalities – on regular bases.
The Prosecution failing to do disclosure timeously, cases being filed late, statute of declaration being done outside the period allowed, etc.
A judge says,
Despite all these preponderant factors; focusing on the technical breach of legal procedures is not enough..
I need to consider the interest of Justice. I need to rise above whether the interest of Justice would be hurt by pronouncing a technical verdict
That is how a layman like me would also want to look at things too. We shouldn’t leave the substance and be chasing shadows – we should take a broader view of things
But… does the law really work like that?
Before coming to a decision, I ask myself the why and how – such as the reason for the lateness in filling.
I consider whether society would be well served if there is a technical verdict, instead of focusing on the meat of the matter. I also look critically at the seriousness of the allegations.
Despite not being in the legal profession, this “judicial submission” somehow doesn’t sound quite right. To say the least, it is surprising.
Is it not common knowledge – even in non-judicial circles – that many a case are won or lost strictly on technicalities, and not “the truth’ ?? At least that is what we watch in courtroom battles on television and read in all those legal novels.
I asked a lawyer,
Is the law really about morality / justice, rather than strict legality?
Morality is a subjective issue, hence there’s really no space for that in legal jurisprudence.
All the same, they sometimes clash. But as for justice, that is the endgame of law.
Lord Denning once said
It is better to have bad laws than bad judges, a country can put up with bad laws, so long there are good judges that will mitigate their harshness and unfairness..
Now I’m totally confused!
Justice is the endgame of the law?
So, how come so many lawyers are usually not interested in the truth (except to help them prepare a defence) but rather what the law says, if that is truly the case?
Former President Obasanjo once said that the law courts are courts of law and not court of justice. Lawyers have also told me on several occasions that the law is not about justice, morals or fairness – but about legality.
I also once asked a lawyer if, as a judge, he actually saw somebody commit murder and that case is brought before him, but there isn’t enough evidence to conclusively prove the murder case, would he set that person free (despite personally knowing that he is actually guilty of the crime)?
The response was that there has to be enough proof to convict an accused. The knowledge of the judge is of no consequence, he told me, in reaching the decision of acquittal or conviction.
Along the same line, I also asked the lawyer if somebody he is defending has confessed to raping someone, would he still go ahead to throw enough doubt to set the rapist free?.
Again the answer was in the affirmative.
Now, why would we keep using the phrase “temple of justice” when those who are supposed to uphold justice don’t seem to be interested in justice being served ?
I am fairly sure that the judge quoted earlier on seems to be commenting for pressmen, saying what the people would like to hear.
Let us examine the dictionary definition of the word – “justice”.
The quality of being just or fair
Judgment involved in the determination of rights and the assignment of rewards and punishments
Is justice merely about enforcing the laws of the land, or about upholding the rights of people?.
In a clash between what is morally right and what is legally expedient, which takes precedence? How decent would it be to trample on the rights of hemans just to uphold the tenets of the law?
Should we follow the thread of what is moral / right or what is just – or, robotically follow what the law says??
I really don’t know.