Bowing to the weight of public opinion, Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Justice, plans to dismantle our byzantine legal system and replace it with rumour and hearsay.
“For centuries”, he said, “we’ve assumed that a man is innocent until proved guilty, but this ‘burden of proof’ thing is weighing us down. As we’re all perfectly aware, there’s no smoke without fire. The police don’t go round arresting innocent people; it wouldn’t make sense. And people know a ‘wrong ‘un’ as soon as they clap eyes on him. If a man looks like a paedophile, and ‘keeps himself to himself’, then, frankly, he probably is a paedophile and deserves what’s coming to him.
“In times of austerity we need to look at ways of cutting costs. It’s getting harder to justify the expense of trial by jury: assembling ‘twelve good men and true’ and filling a courtroom with lawyers. Do you know how much these people charge? And does a man wearing a wig really know more about justice than a person with a computer, a broadband connection and a borderline personality disorder? I think we all know the answer to that.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, and some of these court cases can drag on for months - even years - merely to tell us what we know already: that a man with his eyes too close together is guilty... of something. And the sooner he’s behind bars the better. For sentencing we could conduct a telephone survey of the readers of Nuts magazine. Or play ‘spin the bottle’. Yes, once we get rid of all that red tape and legal mumbo-jumbo, we’ll be able to dispense instant justice at the drop of a hat. And throw away the key.
“Having made a close study of the letters page of the Daily Mail, I bow to the will of the people in restoring capital punishment to the statute book. We don’t subscribe to the generally held view that ‘hanging’s too good’ for kiddy fiddlers. Hanging's perfect for paedophiles. In fact we’d like to bring back public hangings - they’d be quite a draw for locals and visitors alike - but even death by lethal injection would be a welcome shot in the arm for the country’s ailing economy.
“Finally, this isn’t about lynch mobs armed with pitchforks and flaming torches, marching on the big house. That’s just medieval. It’s about people with silly user names spreading malicious rumours and unsubstantiated gossip, while enjoying the anonymity of an online chat-room. Crowd-sourced tittle-tattle deserves to be heard, and, believe me, your government is listening.”...