by David Webb
The news that the parents of Gary Dobson and David Norris, recently convicted for having “murdered” Stephen Lawrence, may face charges into whether they perjured themselves in court by giving their sons alibis strikes me as rather alarming.
While perjury is a serious crime, there has to be real evidence to bring a prosecution of this type. Unless it can be proven that their sons were not home with them that night, I don’t see grounds for prosecution. The government may think that the fact their sons have been convicted is proof enough that they must have been elsewhere, but as we have discussed on the LA blog before, their conviction seemed entirely based on videos of them making uncharitable remarks about black people on other occasions, rather than any incontrovertible evidence of guilt.
If we consider the number of people who are found guilty despite alibis given in their defence, as strong evidence of their guilt is obtained from other sources, we will see that it is very rare indeed for prosecution witnesses to be pursued for perjury. To bring charges of this kind smacks of abuse of process: it will be impossible for people to give truthful alibis to anyone in the future, if they are worried that the person will be convicted anyway, and then their evidence deemed automatically to have been “perjury”. Perjury charges should only be brought in cases of the most serious and blatant kind.
The Daily Telegraph reports that a QC has said that Theresa Norris only made known her son’s whereabouts during a trial 18 years after the death of St. Stephen: but, clearly, it is difficult for anyone to be certain about someone’s whereabouts after nearly two decades, and so this would not constitute perjury, even if the evidence turned out to be unreliable.
What we are losing in this country is a sense of the measured use of power. It was once an important principle that power was exercised reasonably, without attempting to crush resistance totally, and yet now we see the race relations lobby regularly resort to character assassination, destruction of people’s careers and even what appeared in the Stephen Lawrence trial to be an overt attempt by the judge to skew the verdict by allowing the viewing of completely irrelevant material by the jury in order to secure the desired verdict. We appear to have rule by law and not the rule of law: there is something almost Chinese in our new legal system, where the law is used to crush opposition and not to winkle out the truth.