One of the reasons the Ram circus has been able to convince so many people that this case is a miscarriage of justice is because in the wake of the Guildford Four and similarly outrageous cases (referred to elsewhere on this site), many people have little faith in criminal proceedings. (1)
Another reason some people will undoubtedly believe Ramís campaigners is because they have themselves experienced at first hand the mendacity of British justice, not from the system itself, which if applied correctly works extremely well, but from the people who control that system. Many people, particularly those in the lower social classes, have first hand experience of how police officers twist the truth, how they verbal up prosecution witnesses to give correct evidence, how they lie under oath with total impunity, how they fabricate incriminatory evidence and suppress exculpatory evidence, how at times this is done with the tacit approval or even with the wilful compliance of the prosecution, and how magistrates and even judges turn a blind eye to such practices.
Although a conviction is legally binding, the fact that an accused has been convicted of an offence does not mean that he did it, even if that conviction has been upheld twice by the Court of Appeal. By the same token an acquittal does not mean that he was innocent, only that he has been found not guilty in law.
The idea that legal proceedings can be used as the basis for writing history is fallacious, else we would have to credit that the Devilís semen is cold, and that witches ride to Sabbat on broomsticks. These too were findings of fact by legally constituted courts in centuries past. (2) Similarly ludicrous findings of fact have been made in courtrooms worldwide in the Twentieth Century.
There are though, guilty verdicts and guilty verdicts, in much the same way that there are acquittals and acquittals.
On March 3, 1991, a motorist in California was captured on film being beaten savagely by a group of police officers. This was the notorious Rodney King case; the acquittal of Kingís assailants on all charges sparked off a wave of riots that left many dead.
In the United States as in Britain, police officers are permitted to use reasonable force to make an arrest. Granted that King was both a big man and a convicted felon, and that he did resist arrest after a fashion, it is difficult to see how any jury could have deemed the gratuitous violence used against this hapless motorist to be ďreasonable forceĒ. Kingís assailants were found legally not guilty, but the fact of the beating has been preserved for posterity on celluloid, and no one could be branded unreasonable or irrational for questioning the verdict.
In the case of former undefeated world light-welterweight champion Terry Marsh though, the acquittal was far from technical. Marsh was charged with the attempted murder of boxing promoter Frank Warren, who was gunned down in November 1989. In spite of the police circulating an identikit drawing which bore a striking resemblance to Marsh (wilfully) and in spite of Marsh being a strong suspect, the forensic evidence - what little there was (3) - indicated that Marsh was not the gunman, (4) and he was rightly acquitted. (5)
It goes without saying that there are on record many cases in which an accused has been even more clearly vindicated than Terry Marsh; there have been cases where an accused had a rock solid alibi for a crime, and cases where the crime alleged was not even committed. (6)
As stated, just as there are acquittals and acquittals, so too are there convictions and convictions. The conviction of Michael Stone for an horrendous double murder (which has recently been quashed), was on the most tenuous of evidence. Even if Stone is convicted on his retrial (scheduled for later this year), it will be reasonable for anybody to have serious doubts about his guilt. Stone has always maintained his innocence, but had the police extracted a confession from him, by fair means or foul, there would still be serious doubts over his guilt in view of his well documented psychiatrist problems.
On the other hand, the conviction of Yigal Amir for the November 1995 murder of Yitzhak Rabin is thoroughly documented. The murder took place in public, and Amir himself admitted freely to pulling the trigger. His claim that he intended only to injure (7) rather than to kill Rabin was rightly rejected by the court. (8)
The conviction of Satpal Ram has far more in common with the conviction of Yigal Amir than with that of Michael Stone. Ram was there, and he did it, nobody disputes that, not even Ram. Nobody disputes the fact that after doing it he left the scene of the crime, or that he went into hiding. With only one (lunatic) exception, nobody disputes the fact that Ram stabbed Clarke Pearce with his, Ramís, own knife.
In order to acquit Ram of murder, one must throw out the entire prosecution case. Throwing out the entire case is not unusual, it happens in courtrooms across the world every day, but what would it entail here?
It would entail throwing out the evidence of all the people in Clarkeís party, including his sister, whose testimony about the knife used and of the attack, was compelling.
There was evidence from the independent witnesses, one of whom, by the Free Satpal Campaignís own admission, testified that Ram expressed satisfaction with his work.
There was forensic evidence that the victim was stabbed repeatedly, and that these wounds were inconsistent with self-defence.
Contrary to the repeated facile assertions of the Free Satpal Campaign, the evidence of the waiters, in particular the evidence of Abdul Mozomil, does not in any way assist their hero.
In addition to the prosecution case, the evidence from the defence does not in any way assist Ram. Evelyn Schneider was a bad witness, and admitted that Ram had used a flick knife.
Finally, there is Ramís own statement to the police, which was simply not credible.
In order to acquit Ram of murder one would have to throw out not only the entire prosecution case, but most of the evidence from the defence as well, and then allow Ram to put forward his version of events (9) without subjecting him to cross-examination. In short, one would have to accept Ramís explanation as a revealed truth. Revealed truth is a tenet of religion, not of English law. Satpal Ram was convicted of murder beyond all reasonable doubt, and that conviction will stand for all time.
April 16, 2001
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