05 June 2008

Justice being restored

Excellent first programme in a new series on Channel 4 this week (Tony Robinson's Crime and Punishment 1st June 7pm), describing how the legal system has developed in Great Britain over the centuries. I was particularly interested to hear him say that, from around 597 AD with the arrival of St Augustine, Christianity was a major influence and that our system of law was built on the Ten Commandments.

And fascinated to learn that around 924 AD, when all England was united under one legal system, the primary method of law enforcement was the 'Hue and Cry'. If anyone saw a crime being committed, they were legally obliged to shout 'stop thief' (or murderer or whatever) and everyone over the age of 15 was legally obliged to form a possey to catch the thief. The programme then showed a 'have a go hero' as being the 21st century equivalent. Indeed.

Furthermore, if the criminal escaped the 'Hue and Cry', then they were outlawed - literally, outside the law. If found, they no longer enjoyed the protection of the law.

I am glad to see that the attitude which has prevailed in recent years of political correctness, where it has seemed that the law affords more protection to the perpetrator of a crime than to the victim, is changing. And we are beginning to understand again that each and every one of us is responsible for the well-being of our own community.

The tide is turning in this nation. Justice is being restored.