Since Thursday, I haven’t posted.
Writers block. Hit me right in the head. Paralysed the fingers, made me just wish to read.
But even the reading is not going on that well.
Now, instead of being out somewhere else, I am seated on a keyboard, trying to make sense of words.
Last post, we were debating different ideals and ideas. Now, here is another example of a dilemma which is very ‘western’ in concept.
You know about ‘lawyer’s privileges’? A client can tell a lawyer that he or she is guilty. And the lawyer still has to go to court and defend the client. And of course, what the client tells the lawyer is under seal. The lawyer cannot testify against a client.
Well, a pretty story. Two lawyers, with a client. The client was accused of some murders. He was convicted. He told his two lawyers that he was the murderer in another case, in which another man was charged.
The two lawyers felt they could do nothing about this. The innocent man was taken to a sentencing hearing. The two lawyers were there. They were relieved when the man was given a life sentence, instead of death. They knew that he was innocent, but they could not tell anyone.
Time passes. 26 years, that is, before they did manage to get a judge to get their testimony. 26 years when the innocent man was in prison.
Now, because he was proven guilty, he cannot just be released. Bureaucratic red tape and the law. He is still in prison.
If I was one of those lawyers, would I have done that?
I don’t know. I am not sure that I would.
I am of the opinion that ideals are not perfect. We always have to temper them with reason- not follow them always. A guide instead of the roadmap.
But then, I am a Ugandan, an African with my life experience basically African, Ugandan. I cannot sit and judge those lawyers. Though, like the innocent man in prison for 26 years, I wonder, is the integrity of my word worth the life imprisonment of an innocent man?
PS. Strange to observe this, but I think that we as Africans judge guilt differently from the 'western' justice system. The ‘western’ sense is that a person is not guilty until proven so in a court of law. Ours? The burden of proof is usually on the accused.
Why do I think so?
Again and again I have heard that the police are so corrupt that they release thieves taken to them. That they imprison accused persons for a short time and then release them.
That is one of the reasons the common man here seems so distinctly contemptuous of the police. And why mob justice is so rife, I think. Take a thief to the police cells, and he will be out in a couple of days, so reasons the community. Yet, in their eyes, a thief deserves death, and the sooner it is meted out, the better. So, the cry, ‘thief!’ will turn a street of strangers into a mob which will kill one so accused. If he runs, his fate is sealed.