A wrong but interesting verdict

Stuff reports:

A father and son beat and cut the finger off a teenage burglar have been found not guilty on all charges.

William Burr was found not guilty on six charges, and Shaun Burr was found not guilty on four charges in the Hamilton District Court on Wednesday.

The men were discharged without conviction, after being accused of beating and cutting the finger off the teenage burglar ’d stolen from William Burr three times before.

In terms of the law, I thought they were clearly guilty. I could see a defence to beating the burglar, but hard to see a defence to cutting his finger (tip) off. I would have voted to convict (based on the evidence in the media, which to be far may not be comprehensive).

But clearly the jury just decided the burglar was a ratbag and that Burr’s rough justice was not something they would punish him for.

I wonder if part of the reason the jury let Burr off, is because they perceive the justice system as not working for victims. The burglar had already struck three times before, and was already on on despite clear recidivism.

There is a lesson here. You’ll get more and more juries unwilling to convict people for rough justice, if they think the actual justice system isn’t working.

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