Joe O’Reilly

Joe O’Reilly was convicted of murdering his wife, Rachel, and was sent to jail for life.

Now, I think he did it, and every person I talk to thinks he did it. What’s more, the jury thought he did it, and you have to agree, it would be hard to find stronger authority than that, yes? Well, no actually. We live in the age of CSI, when everyone, including jury members, think they’re expert, and I have a great problem with the whole thing.

The criminal justice system in this country requires that the prosecution prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. This is the criminal standard of proof, as opposed to the civil standard, which relies on the balance of probabilities. Without doubt, on the balance of probabilities Joe O’Reilly is a murderer, but that’s not good enough, and people seem to be overlooking this simple fact. When it comes to beyond reasonable doubt, we have a problem. This standard exists, not to protect murderers, but to defend you and me against incompetent or corrupt policemen, and God knows we have enough of them, as one glance at the Morris tribunal reports will show you, pretty damn quick.

Was there any forensic evidence to connect Joe O’Reilly with the crime? No.

This is surprising, given that he was convicted of bludgeoning somebody to death, leaving blood everywhere, on the walls, the floor and the ceiling. Yet there wasn’t a single molecule of blood on his person or in his car.

Was it proved that he was in or near the house at the time of the murder? No.

It was asserted by telecoms technicians who gave evidence that his phone wasn’t where he said it was. Did anyone question the evidence of the technicians? No. Why? Because we all watch CSI, including the jurors and the judge, and we all know that technicians are never wrong.

We’re all in thrall to technology and to geeks, who are the new infallible caste, now that the priests have been shown to be unreliable perverts and the Pope was in the Hitler Youth. Geeks, on the other hand, are outside such questioning because they live for Coca-Cola and pizza and have no hand in moral or ethical issues. The word of a telecom technician is never questioned because technology can never make a mistake, which is why you need never check your credit card statement, your electricity bill or your bank statement. There can’t be an error. Isn’t that right?

Which is why, though Joe O’Reilly is probably a murdering fucker, it wasn’t proven, and he should walk, murdering fucker though he probably is. Otherwise, when a technician gives evidence in a case brought against you by a crooked cop, you might as well just slip on those cuffs right now.


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