Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Ipswich Murders Trial - Days 7 and 8.

Various witnesses spoke on Wednesday, building up a picture of the lifestyles of the victims and scattered sightings of them just before they disappeared.

'Chaotic' is the word, used more than once, that sums up the lives of these young women. As always with eye witness accounts, some of the evidence is confused and contradictory. We've got a man in a 4x4, which almost certainly isn't Wright. We've got numerous sightings of Wrights car in the red light district at around midnight and the early hours of the morning.

Perhaps most interesting of all were the glimpses of complicated relationships between the sex workers and their clients. Is a taxi driver who offers an attractive young lady a free lift, then sees her a few weeks later and does the same thing, then has a sporadic sexual relationship with her and buys her breakfast in cafe a true client? Or a friend? Or a fake friend? Or even a boyfriend?

It seemed to illustrate how complex real-life is, and simplistic various approaches to prostitution are - were these girls victims or canny manipulators, or simply making a series of random transactions with a group of men they more or less knew?

More witness statements are due today.

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2 Comments:

Blogger David Young said...

Hi Roger,

I've written about your coverage of the trial on my site (as well as questioning what you wrote on Mel Phillips' blog). Keep up the good work.

Can you tell me what the point of having the victims' families come to court is? How does having the mother testify to her daughters' character help anyone judge whether Wright is guilty or not? I can't say I'm keen on it personally. I fear it creates a mindset in a juror that 'Someone's got to pay for this.' with the concern being that they focus on the 'someone' who is in the dock in front of them.

DY

1:27 PM  
Blogger roGER said...

Hello David,

Yes thanks for your comments and the post on your blog - I've just replied to it.

You asked:

Can you tell me what the point of having the victims' families come to court is?

I've no problem with close relatives coming along to "see justice done" (although I'm not sure how many of them would like to see an acquittal).

However...

How does having the mother testify to her daughters' character help anyone judge whether Wright is guilty or not?

Good point. I'm guessing that because these girls tended to hang out with drug addicts, drug dealers and fellow prostitutes, someone like a Mum is about as trustworthy and sympathetic a person you can find when it comes to character.

But I absolutely agree with you that in an important sense, character is (or should be!) completely irrelevant here. Someone can be the most unlikeable person in the world, but it doesn't mean he or she can be murdered by someone else to satisfy some sexual whim.

"I can't say I'm keen on it personally. I fear it creates a mindset in a juror that 'Someone's got to pay for this.' "

Yes, I wonder if it's some old precedent set decades ago that nobody really challenges.

"with the concern being that they focus on the 'someone' who is in the dock in front of them."

Yes and No.

I don't know if you've read any of the autobiographical work of former QC John Mortimer?

He seemed to be a strong believer in 'reverse psychology.' So for example, if a judge made a very bias summing up at the end of a case, it was actually good for the defence, because the jury felt a responsibility to be objective.

In other words, too much of the 'sobbing relative' thing might be actually counter productive for the prosecution.

This is an interesting case, although I was surprised how upset I was by Gemma's murder and how odd it feels to regularly walk past the house where perhaps she died.

Objectivity is difficult!

3:10 PM  

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