I'm seeing a lot of tweets about the #Belfast verdict, and some of them are outright ridiculous. People are equating "not guilty" with "proven innocent" and calling the victim a liar. #Ibelieveher and I'm going to explain why, using my experience as a juror to inform you.
I was a juror on a trial a few years ago. The case was a restraining order breach. I'm not going to give many details, but we had a frightened victim on a screened witness stand telling us what had happened. Then we watched some CCTV showing a bit of what had happened.
I have no doubt that that victim was telling the truth, she was visibly terrified. I have no doubt that she had good reason to fear the defendant: the restraining order was granted for a reason and he was mocking her from the dock (this is probably why she asked to be screened).
Seeing a lot of "they're innocent til proven guilty" and "this means they are innocent" tweets about #Belfast today, so I thought I'd share what it was like being on a jury for rape and sexual assault.
I was the foreperson on a trial a short time ago, for a rape and sexual assault that happened approx. 2 years prior to the trial. As part of the process, the burden of proof was explained in detail to the jury members, as was our duty in relation to this.
In many cases, balance of probabilities is good enough - i.e. if it seems more likely that scenario A happened than scenario B, you can return in favour of scenario A.
This is not the case for serious crimes, such as rape and sexual assault.
#next, I need your #help, and I mean all of you #please, regardless of party-politics, ideological differences, geo-location, can I have your <3 engaged to help a family, friends, a local community & a student community in their #search for a #MissingPerson#missing since Nov.2nd
3/"His worried relatives believe he may have made his way to another major Irish city, even as far as #Belfast. The vulnerable young man is without his medication." " He could be in #Galway. We’re grasping at straws."