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Jul. 20th, 2005

Is it just me, or are defence cases in high-profile trials getting worse? Yesterday Kamel Bourgass appealed against his conviction for murdering a policeman and stabbing three more, on the grounds that the prosecution mentioned the fact that he was trying to create and spread poisons for the purposes of terrorism. This unduly influenced the jury, claimed his lawyers. Pigs’ tits, responded the appeal judges (I paraphrase): without their knowing he was a would-be terrorist, feverishly plotting in his home-made lab, it would make no sense to a jury that, when cornered, he went berserk and tried and kill every policeman he could see. The fact that he was desperately trying to be a terrorist is directly pertinent to the fact that he went postal when he was found trying to be a terrorist.

This lame attempt to overturn a life sentence for poison-making with intent—which in any event wouldn’t affect his other life sentence for murder—is up there with Francisco Montes’s attempted defence over the appalling death of Caroline Dickinson (“I only meant to rape her”) and Ian Huntley’s jaw-dropping effort at an alibi (essentially, “I turned round—and she was dead!”).

In all three cases, it’s worth pointing out, these defences signally failed, and I feel quite sorry for some of the lawyers who had to try and present this stuff to the court. (Montes’s own lawyer told reporters: “He is deranged. A human being does not act in this way.”)

So the moral here appears to be: if you’re going to commit an atrocity, at least have the grace to concoct a viable—or at least interesting—excuse.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC)
It lives!
This is not an excuse to defend yourself in court.

You ok? I am "working from home" today.
Jul. 20th, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC)
Re: It lives!
> This is not an excuse to defend yourself in court

Well, we'll see how it all pans out.

> I am "working from home" today

It's not a "free" period, it's a "study" period.
Jul. 20th, 2005 12:36 pm (UTC)
Jun. 22nd, 2006 09:43 am (UTC)
Re: Huntley
Magnificent. Although the coding appears to be having a bit of a nervous breakdown.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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