TO TAKE THE RISK AND ACQUIT A PERSON WHOSE INNOCENSE IS QUESTIONABLE BECAUSE OF DOUBT IS FAIRER AND BETTER SERVES THE CAUSE OF JUSTICE THAN TO TAKE THE RISK AND CONVICT AN INNOCENT PERSON

The courts are temples of justice. Those who sit on the bench have the right to decide on matters of life and death, liberty or captivity. They have the lives of people in their hands.

The principle of acquitting in case of doubt is in line with both common sense and justice. First and foremost, it is a mechanism to prevent the conviction of an innocent person. Secondly, common sense teaches that law and the courts are designed to maintain an orderly society and not to make angels of human beings.

In short, if what each person does every day in the privacy of one’s environment is known to all it would become clear that every human being has limitation. However, when one’s behaviour openly infringes the law, to prevent impunity, the law must take its course of action. This serves to restrain impunity. Impunity is contained when citizens and officials strive to do what they ought to do instead of doing as they please.

The two most important agents of public order are the police and the magistrates and judges. The police are the protectors of the law. The magistrates and judges are the enforcers of the law.

Once the courts adhere to the golden rule of proof beyond doubt, justice would be done and would be seen to be done. This is the hallmark of a just criminal justice system.