Take "Sections 12 and 13 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004" for example.
Before this law came in, a victim of domestic violence would have had to :-
(a) Wait for the criminal case to result in a guilty verdictAfter this came in :-
(b) Apply to the civil courts for a restraining order
(a) Magistrates issue a restraining order at the end of the criminal trial, whether proven or not, if the court considers it necessary to protect a person from harassment.Imagine you're in an abusive relationship - doesn't that sound like an improvement to you?
Even though this act was passed in 2004, for reasons passing all understanding it only came into force last September, and so I only came across it for the first time the other day.
In that case the Defence lawyer contended that even though his client had just been convicted of something that might have killed his soon-be-be-ex wife, this was a one-off and he had no previous violence conviction. Probation had rated him as a low risk of re-offending and the only thing the Restraining Order would achieve would be to make it difficult for him to maintain his relationship with his teenage son. It would be "a sledgehammer to crack a nut".
After a fascinating discussion in the retiring room with two particularly experienced colleagues, we decided that some nuts do need a sledgehammer and granted the restraining order.
Maybe we've just spoiled the relationship between a father and a son, but more likely we've given a man another reason not to hurt a woman.
I'm sleeping fine.