‘I want to say one thing to the American people … I did not have sexual relations with that woman …’ [Familiar?]
In a perfect situation, on a perfect day, in a perfect world, everything remains perfectly constant. The law would never need to be reviewed, there would be no appellate courts and the administration of justice would give no regard to social and political influences. Actually our entire justice system would be different as we would be governed mostly by customary law rather than ‘western civil and common law’ systems. Customary law refers to the values and morals of a people that they believe they are legally obligated to follow – that stuff doesn’t even need to be on paper! However as we all know, this is not the case.
This truth is even more harsh for a law student because we have to study so many cases where the judgments sometimes are simply beyond reconciliation.
This post is truly on the backdrop of a scandal that surfaced this week in my home country, St. Lucia. A young lady, less than 20 years of age, was charged with blackmail for threatening to make public, nude photos of a minister of government, who is coincidentally married. This post only seeks to provide perspective on the truth that the Law does not function in a vacuum. I do not possess enough knowledge on the matter to do but that (believe it or not, I have not even seen the alleged explicit photos).
Our justice system needs serious reform; many are left on remand for excessive periods awaiting trials dates. This coupled with other issues such as poor working environments (Courts, etc) has angered the populace who are demanding answers to ‘ why does the law works so fast for some & way better.’
Answer: The Law does not function in a vacuum. External factors such as the environment, the social climate, Government, Parliament, the private sector, other elitists and prominent persons are factors which weigh very heavily on the rule of law – justice for all. This is why it is argued that sentencing for white collar crimes are a joke compared to other violent crimes. How does the loss of thousands of jobs from a fraud or bribery case not be as serious as the offences of a ‘street criminal?’
My kind-hearted daddy, bless his heart, is very supportive of my legal pursuits. However because of my Christian faith, with concerned eyes asked me how I would be able to handle the unethical part of being a lawyer. He could only see lawyers and politicians in one light: unethical. There are many who are proving this to be wrong but sadly not nearly enough.
Lastly we have seen an increase in suicide over the years, something that was almost unheard of in our tropical paradise. Gentle reminder to people to be kind with their words as the individuals directly involved do not exist in a vacuum.
Please share to remind someone – the law does not exist in a vacuum & love can still win.
This post is not to be taken as legal advice and is a general commentary.