Friday, November 30, 2007

Witnesses and evidence

Last night at the meeting, one of the feeders who came said that there was a neighbour abusing the cats. He said that he had reported a case because someone saw the neighbour walking into the flat with the cat. The next morning the cat was found outside or near the neighbour's flat injured. The police are apparently looking into it but at the same time, they told the man that they may not be enough evidence.

If for example, I am seen with someone the night before going into my home, and the next morning the same person is seen dead on my doorstep, can I be charged for murder? Certainly I would probably be the prime suspect but I cannot be charged on the basis of being seen with the person. Maybe the person came out, tripped on the doorstep and hit their head and died. Maybe someone else came and killed them. Maybe the person had a heart attack as they were leaving. There are many possibilities and the law presumes innocence until guilt is proven. While I understand that it is very frustrating that it is difficult to prove abuse the law is there to protect the innocent - and sometimes that does allow the guilty to get away with it.

What happened after though is that the man we spoke to (and who was complaining the law did not help) said that not one, but several of his neighbours, had seen the same neighbour abusing another cat. This had happened while he was at work - and they had all rushed to tell him when he came home. THAT is direct evidence - and with several eyewitnesses that is good evidence. However he said that none of the neighbours would testify. He said they were frightened, they were uneducated and would not go to the police. I told him that I would go with them - but that they had to be the ones to testify. He told me it was not going to happen.

The other caregivers told him that in that case he should stop complaining since the problem here was not the fact that there wasn't evidence but that the people who witnessed the crime would not come forward.



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