For my entire adult life I have always thought that Justice went something like this:-
- Person reports crime
- Police investigate. In order to establish if a crime has indeed been committed and who may be reasonably suspected of that crime
- Initial investigation establishes whether or not sufficient grounds exist to warrant arresting any identified suspects(s)
- Suspect(s) arrested, interviewed and a decision taken by CPS to charge or not charge suspect(s)
- Case File submitted to CPS in anticipation of Court appearance.
- A Jury is sworn in to hear all the evidence and decide on Guilt or not.
- The Trial Judge would decide, if appropriate, if the defendant is fit to stand trial, having heard all the legal submissions.
- Trial either proceeds or is abandoned due to the defendant being Not Fit To Plead.
However, it seems that I have it all wrong.
Points 4 to 8 are now redundant, CPS decide on Fitness To Plead, Judge is deprived of what was his/her responsibility, defendant never even appears before the Court because it’s apparently not in the Public Interest to prosecute someone who may be unwell.
As a general principle I don’t have a major issue with that, but why oh why can’t the Judge rule on that, as has been the case before today?
On the other hand, it may simply be that I’ve misunderstood my entire life.