Sunday, August 9, 2015

A concrete example of how modern social justice can be harmful: Witch trials

Presumption of innocence (ie. "innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt") is one of the cornerstone of modern justice. It means that when a suspect is accused of a crime, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. In other words, it's the prosecution who has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.

The reverse is what could be derogatorily called a "witch trial" (or perhaps "kangaroo court", although that refers more to a court system that disregards and perverts the law, rather than the law itself being perverted.) In other words, the accused is assumed to be guilty by default, and the burden of proof is on the defense to prove the innocence of the accused. If the defense fails to prove the innocence, then the default verdict is that of guilt.

This presumption of guilt is all in itself a mockery of our modern justice system. However, it becomes even more egregious when the thing that has to be proven is intangible, something that's very difficult to prove with tangible physical evidence. Such as consent.

How exactly do you prove that someone gave you "consent" before having sex? In 99.9% of cases it's just your word against theirs, because there can't be physical evidence of this. This means that "you have to prove that she gave consent, or else you will be guilty of rape" is an absolute mockery of the justice system. It gives absolute power to the alleged victim, with the accused having absolutely no means of defense, no matter how innocent he may be. Even if the accused is absolutely innocent, it's physically impossible to prove. This nothing more than a witch trial. "Prove that you are not a witch, or you'll be burned on the stake."

Do you think I'm just exaggerating and hypothesizing? That this will never happen? Well, read this article.
The Labour Party's plan to reform the criminal justice system would mean that the accused in a rape case would have to prove consent to be found innocent -- a change it acknowledges as a monumental shift. [...]
The policy would mean that in a rape case, if the Crown proved a sexual encounter and the identity of the defendant, it would be rape unless the defendant could prove it was consensual.
Welcome back to the Middle Ages.

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