Jackson, Juries and Justice: How Tom Sneddon Helped Child Abusers.
Michael Jackson has been found not guilty of all the charges against him relating to the alleged grooming and abuse of Gavin Arvizo. Some would say he was vindicated. The jury in post trial interviews gave a different story. They felt that not enough evidence was presented to convict which is very different from vindication.
Presented with a weak prosecution case reliant on weak witnesses the jury had little choice in reality. There must have been some doubt even in the minds of jury members who felt there was a case to answer here. In this we are presented with a perenial problem of legalistic justice: it is always partial, always conditional.
Much evidence is what people say they heard, saw and thought. Juries must take a view on the voracity of these things. In doing so they can take the wrong view. Evidence is subject to review, updating and new analysis forever. Verdicts can not be continually updated to match.
Justice in the true sense of the word has not been well served in this case. Tom Sneddon, by chasing his own dragon of Jackson’s “Guilt”, has left the scene more difficult for victims of sexual abuse. There will be a little bit less belief and a little bit more reluctance to prosecute than before the trial. Tom Sneddon has hurt abused children and helped abusers – something he surely must regret and which must have been far from his mind when pressing for this ill-advised prosecution.