(This article was first published on Ground Report – 21 August 2012.)
This is what happens when police get tunnel vision. They shoot the arrow, then they draw the target. They lose their objectivity and that’s why we have juries. – Raymond Kelly
Many religious fundamentalists, both Roman Catholic and Protestant still believe in the reality of evil and witchcraft. This means that a man like prosecutor Mignini has no difficulty in seeing the work of the Devil in a crime scene and can conjure up an unlikely scenario, untroubled by minor inconveniences like evidence and criminal profiling. It also means that, with God on his side, it may be easy for him to believe that the ends justify the means. After all, someone who rises to the top, perhaps because of a ‘superior’ ability to convict criminals, will not permit dissent when he pronounces. Thus have magistrates, judges and civic leaders behaved though the ages.
Witches are often outsiders
Witches are often outsiders, not well known to the local community and unable to easily call on character references. On the other hand, local petty criminals are often part of the townscape. Their parents and teachers will be known. Their descent into criminality will have been observed, but as locals, they may be allowed some slack.