The first of the potential surprises to the casual observer of this dreadful situation involving the killing & dismembering of sixteen year old Becky Watts came yesterday when only four people appeared in the dock. There were six in Court only two months ago accused of involvement and connection with Becky’s death – namely Nathan Matthews, girlfriend Shauna Hoare (both charged with murder), twin brothers Donovan Demetrius and Karl Demetrius, his girlfriend Jaydene Parsons, and a friend Jamie Ireland.
Donovan Demetrius was granted bail yesterday while Karl Demetrius, and girlfriend Parsons (whose home the dismembered remains reportedly were found in) are the two not there facing trial – you can bet your bottom dollar that lawyers have found a way of squandering more of our taxpayers’ money and shielding accused from facing justice.
Oh yes, the trial is truly underway as of yesterday, but not before starting with the defence lawyers trying to upset the apple cart through legal arguments – we have no idea yet if they succeeded. The jury should be selected today, so events might get underway properly tomorrow. The two accused of murder are of course pleading ‘not guilty’ – so no surprise there then?
We in the General Public have no idea yet of the prosecution’s case nor indeed about any evidence they have to present, but we can speculate about the type of defences that lawyers traditionally come up with in murder trials, can’t we?
In the absence of a unbreakable alibi, claim it was an accident, someone died, and we all panicked so disposed of the body. Or perhaps plead ‘temporary diminished responsibility’, or even plead insanity. When there are co-accused, each can deny all, blame solely the other one and in the absence of direct proof both get off; or one party can claim they were coerced by the other. Certainly dispute the veracity of Crown evidence or forensic analysis, or get damming evidence excluded on a technicality. Another favorite is to claim amnesia so the accused remembers nothing. A good and successful ploy is always ‘self-defence’ or killing action taken when in fear of life – then murder is regularly mitigated to manslaughter. A common fallback is ‘provocation’ (strangely enough only available in murder trials). Then there is a defence of a killing happening in direct prevention of a crime. When stuck killers can always rely on drunkenness or drug incapacity. Lawyers have a detailed manual from which to select a suitable (even if not credible) defence against murder, however vile.
This young girl’s family will now be forced to witness weeks of devastating evidence and legal arguments, and doubtlessly the Defence will employ every available dirty trick in the book to get acquittals (and that will include denigrating the reputation and memory of this teenager) – that is the English adversarial legal system for you, isn’t it?
We don’t know if those currently charged are guilty or innocent. What we DO know is that Becky was murdered, cut-up, and disposed of. Somebody did it, didn’t they?
[This trial will unquestionably distress the nation with its revelations, but in the process will Becky Watts get the justice she deserves, we wonder?]