17 September, 2021

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Where Ignorance Is Bliss….

By Upatissa Pethiyagoda

Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda

Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise”, “it is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and provide the proof” “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Despite being thus thrice warned, a TV programme that I have just watched, prompts me to comment on the subject of  “The Laws Delays.”

The number of cases being heard or awaiting attention in our Judicial System, is frighteningly huge, (more than 20,000?) and the number of accused in detention is also scandalous. And many we hear, are in for failure to find sureties for bail determinations. Similarly, many are in for drug related offenses (minor peddlers or addicts). Drug addicts deserve counselling and rehabilitation more than incarceration.

In addition to the inconvenience inflicted on the inmates, the State also spends much in feeding, guarding and housing detainees. The need for reform of the judicial system to obviate procedural delays all along the line, is an urgent need. The mere appointment of more judges, increasing court rooms and strengthening infrastructure facilities, alone will not suffice. The processes will need to be speeded up. It goes without saying that any changes or reforms should not compromise the dispensation of justice. In fact, changes must improve the quality of judicial process, and re-inforce the sanctity and respect for it. Some months ago, it was reported that sentence was for a murder committed in 1999 – one may cynically say “in the last century”! One can only hope that age has not dulled the accused’s recall of his ghastly misdeed. As the cliché goes, “Justice delayed is justice denied”.

The major sticking points against speedy process, stem from seemingly ritualistic formalities. Before a case actually proceeds to trial, much time (of officials, counsel, litigants and witnesses) is needlessly spent on presenting peripherally concerned documents and records – all of which could be procured pre-trial. Long dates (suggestive of crowded diaries), not seldom, straddle political events (e.g Elections) which demonstrably impinge on process and fate. Suspicion of ulterior considerations or influences are to be expected.

There are at least two respects by which the integrity and spirit of the Law could be challenged. Firstly, the outcome of a trial can be distorted either by contrived ambiguity in framing of the law, clumsy wording or fabrication of evidence, to result in either escape of a culprit or penalizing of an innocent. The forensic skill of counsel may determine which outcome. The financial ability to secure such service, is inordinately influential in formulating the verdict.

There are apparently, two major systems followed in different contexts – the “adversarial” and the “inquisitorial.” In the adversarial system, each step in adjudication is subject to the Court’s overview and satisfaction. Supporting documents, evidence from witnesses (where required), cross examinations, arguments, search of relevant jurisprudence, case priorities, addresses of Counsel, judge’s directions to the jury and finally (?) the verdict. All of this process, punctuated by interventions of Court recesses, medical status of the key figures, transfers of judges and “Acts of God” could, as in the case mentioned above, well absorb a quarter of a century of diligent effort. In the “inquisitorial” system, the Court or part of it is concerned with examining the facts of the case, while in the “adversarial” the Court acts as a referee between the contending Counsel. By definition, ours would be the “adversarial” system.

It has to be up to the professionals to determine what suits us best. Perhaps a “hybrid” system that embodies the better features of both, would be the ideal – a ’win-win’ situation or provide ‘the best of both Worlds’. Simply increasing the number of judges, court houses, clerks and stenographers alone may not provide the sought- after, speedier dispensation of the Law. Radical changes rather than mere palliatives, should be the order of the day.

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    Dispensation of Law:
    A lawyer at Massachusetts court argued that the case of “upskirt” photographs taken during a public transport ride should be tossed out, asserting that his client has a constitutional right to take pictures of anything that is not covered up in public. If the skirt provided only partial covering, intentionally or unintentionally, the victim cannot expect privacy.

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      So you are advocating Abaya and Niqab?
      Good and unbias humanbeing you are Nathan.

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      Where total ignorance is bliss, what cant go wrong?

      Gotabaya aka NANDASINI s capabilities are not all its cracked up to be. I thought the bugger would introdcue some good systems that he got to see during his 15 years of refuge in America. Instead bugger et al has done nothing sofar. Not even COVID was contained by his steps taken, even if 39 year old FEMALE leader/ of KIWI land succeeded it as an island nation. THe very same would have been achieved, if our leaders had the brain.
      Instead our rascals, all times criminals by PRIMA FACIE records, focused on getting the last power from the people. They are gotten now, however, 2/3 mandate did not help them at all. If done so, they should have achieved almost so many things as of today.
      :
      Ironically, today almost everything is UPSIDE down because of INCAPABILITIES:
      .
      Not even tiny issues such as control import and export is successful under GOTA administration.
      .
      Please watch out

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasus_(spyware)

      Next days, people’s freedom of speech would be in danger

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    The primary objective of the drafters of the Code of Civil Procedure Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure Act seems to have been to provide a steady and regular income for all lawyers by offering them endless opportunities to drag on each and every case that is filed for as long as possible.

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      @Captain Morgan this is why it is always wise to settle your conflicts outside the courts, the lawyers will always have enough business , it will not deny their income, you can still engage the lawyer to settle it outside

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      Well samething with the UN issue , its a waste of time .

      By engaging directly with the government through Tamil Mps, the Tamils can end the suffering of their people .

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    I couldn’t agree more .
    If there is anything sadistic of any country in whole, it would be countries that lock Humans in cages called jails and Animals in cages called Zoos.
    The people who are law makers of such countries have to be sadistic by large, if the present day Sharia of beheading , chopping hands , whipping and stoning to death are all barbaric, to which I am in agreement unequivocally as barbaric and while for those who believe it to be as sacred , can only be judged as individuals trapped in their own delusions of religous psychosis, while the law makers of any country who continue to waste public funds on maintaining both jails and zoos are guilty of waste of public funds that can be used for those in need and nevertheless to say are guilty of lacking compassion and understanding reality and lack the vision to adress the inhumane practice of subjecting both animals and humans with such brutal infliction on the minds of both human and Animals.
    I can not believe even the corvid 19 lockdowns have not moved the emotions of these men who hold the law to understand the inner pain, of being not able to step out of one’s own home even to get a meal.
    So what more can even a almighty God do any further with such men with hearts of stones .

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    The prisoners who are guilty of minor offences must be released with a special monitoring system , we hardly exploite the modern day advanced tecnology , and those who are drug addicts should be transferred to rehabilitation villages not camps , before rehabilitating , it should be understood , that Alcholics and drug addicts to not end up as Alcholics or drug addicts by abusing Alchohal or drugs , it is because of their mental disorder a more biological illness which is frawned upon by a ignorant and superstitious society that either unconscio

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      My stance is that the government must consider seriously to decriminalize some drugs and make it available in highly control dosage under special supervision.
      This is the only way to discourage the sale of drugs .
      While alchola

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    Either unconsciously or consciously to avoid stigma they abuse Alchohal or drugs, that helps to give temporary relief and only makes them endup as Alcholics or drug addicts.

    The government must 1st engage in consultation and advice from our Specialist psychiatrists,
    we have some of the best in our island and ofcause along with our physicians to evaluate these drug addicts before thinking of rehabilitation, I was told by some addicts I had spoken to , that they were treated like animals by certain Religous organizations, who managed these centres.

    God or spirits can not not heal these people , it’s the medical experts who are needed not forced Religous convertion centres .

    The law enforcement also must be encouraged to treat these addicts with more compassion and not with injury , addicts are victims and not criminals and sometimes the small time street peddellers are themselves addicts and they only do it to get their doses that they can not afford.

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    While Alchohal and ciggerettes too should be controlled with quota and a mandatory health insurance, rather than increasing the prices and profiting from it .

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    Prisons should be shut down and special villages should be created for the prisoners as a way of rehabilitation .
    So with the dehiwala Zoo , the animals must be completely transferred to open territories .

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    LANKA NETIZEN: You have just created a record, which I don’t think will be broken for a long time!

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