At the end of this post, please click the link to an article on The Independent’s site. It describes how forty-seven prosecutions for sex offenses in the jurisdiction covering England and Wales have been dismissed due to lack of disclosure by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Defense attorneys were kept in the dark about details that could have helped their clients. This happens in many countries, including the United States. We’ll never know how many innocent people have spent time in prison or had their reputations ruined after oversights or corruption interfered with their defense. Likewise, we’ll never know how many dangerous people aren’t held accountable when they benefit from errors/improprieties.
Some of these things happen because of understaffing or ineptitude. Other times it’s a case of an ambitious prosecutor hoping for a conviction without regard for professional standards.
There is nothing the average person can do to change these disgraces. However, we can become more enlightened, and resolve to be alert to what we don’t know. A criminal charge alone does not amount to a conviction, and assumptions about an accuser’s character (“What was she wearing?”) should not convince us the accuser is lying.
Experience can teach us a lot of things, including when to question our own wisdom.