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Business Club Hears Call for Criminal Justice System ‘Health Check’

The criminal justice system needs a ‘health check’ and a more local focus.

That was the call from His Honour Nicholas Cooke KC, formerly Recorder of Cardiff and a Judge who sat in the Old Bailey and the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), when he addressed Cardiff Business Club at a dinner event sponsored by Knight Frank, held at the Parkgate Hotel.

The topic of his lecture was how the current criminal justice system needs a comprehensive health check. He opened with stating how this field of law has changed since he began studying in 1973, becoming more micromanaged and less subjectively determined by judges.

His Honour discussed miscarriages of justice and how they have always happened, the emperor’s clothes mentality surrounding them and how legislation has responded effectively to them, albeit following some pushing. He referenced the Post Office scandal in depth, describing it as ‘the worst miscarriage of justice in Europe’, and read an excerpt from his letter in The Guardian on the topic.

He also used the Post Office scandal to talk about trends, stating that if a judge becomes aware of a trend, he or she should note and respond to it.

His Honour then discussed a need for a more locally focussed criminal justice system and how one has the potential to reduce crime in specific areas, such as gang violence in London. With a local criminal justice system that reflects local needs, the whole system should work better. He questioned whether the British criminal justice system is the fairest in the world as many still believe but retains the hope we can make it so.

The next Cardiff Business Club lunch event will see speaker Anne Jessopp CBE, CEO of the Royal Mint, address the club on 27 June at the Hilton Hotel.

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