MUCH has been said and discussed about justice and the fact that justice should prevail for everyone and if possible at all times.
But is it really so? How many times have the people been shown how a smart lawyer can manipulate the courts to get things to go his way for the benefit of his client, the perpetrator of a crime.
Thus, in such a situation can we say that justice has been served?
The victim will be left wondering is that really justice for him?
Examples abound how a criminal who can afford a very good even if a very expansive lawyer can literally get away with murder.
Thus, can we then really say that justice has been served and done; or even that it is, in fact, equal and available for everyone?
Unfortunately, most of us know that the reality is not so simple and straight forward.
It is in fact far from being equal to everyone.
To the ordinary people when a crime is committed then the person committing it must be made to pay for the crime.
It is only then can we really say that justice has been served and done.
Unfortunately from what we have been seeing all these while, it is not so simple and clear cut as that.
Justice can actually be manipulated to suit even a criminal.
It actually depends on what a court decides based on the principle that a person is deemed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.
Of course, everyone expects the courts to always make the correct decision.
But a court can only make its decision based on what is argued before it.
This would mean that nothing is clear cut. Thus, even when to all and sundry a person is known to have committed a crime but if the persecution failed to present a strong and very clear cut case and then compounded by how the counsel for the defence is able to create throw reasonable doubt about his culpability, then the charge against him will not be able to stick.
In such a scenario can we then say that justice has been served? Take a simple but obvious case where A had been robbed by B. He then makes a police report. The police following its investigations arrested B and charged him for the robbery. To the layman, it is a very clear cut case. However if B somehow managed to get a very good lawyer who is able to create just a measure of doubt, for example contending that B was not at the scene when the robbery was committed (whereas he actually was there and did rob A) then the charge against him will not stand and he will be acquited.
In such a situation would justice then be served?
The perpetrator of the crime is set free while A the victim will not get the justice he deserves.
In such a scenario, even the society suffers. Whither justice?
Of course, the example given is simple and may be quite clear cut.
But even in such a scenario doubts can still be created if the robber can get a very good counsel who is able to create a doubt.
Henceforth, the judgement meted out due to the doubt created by the clever lawyer is definitely unfair, especially to the victim who will actually be doubly victimised.
It all boils down to how the system works. For if a very smart lawyer who may even know the truth but because he is paid to defend the criminal he will to the best of his ability try to get his client out of the charge and set free.
Whether it is morally right for him to do, that is something which the counsel himself has to ponder and think about.
If it has come to a situation where he needed to resort to manipulating the truth and substitute it with untruth just to get his client off the hook, that will then be on his conscience that is if he has one. Justice then is just a word.
The layman is not wrong to ask where is the justice then? It actually is “justice be damned”.
Datuk AhmadRejal Arbee has been in journalism for over 40 years, starting as a cadet reporter in the Straits Times in 1963 and heading its Johor Bahru office in 1966. He then moved to Bernama and became its first overseas correspondent to Jakarta in 1972. He also served as the Berita Harian Group Editor and the Editor of The Sun. Currently, he is reminiscing some of his memorable experiences throughout his long career in journalism.