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Has there there been a thread about the Sian Callaghan/Becky Godden Edwards murder cases?

(8 Posts)
whistlestopcafe Tue 23-Oct-12 10:11:21

I have been thinking about this since the verdicts were announced on Friday. I feel sad and dissatisfied with the legal system in this country. Chris Halliwell murdered Becky Godden Edwards and has got off scot free because of police procedural errors. The defence lawyer also tried to argue that he shouldn't be tried for Sian Callaghan's murder but because of DNA evidence that argument was overturned and he eventually pleaded guilty.

Chris Halliwell confessed to the police that he had murdered Becky Godden Edwards and he took the police to her grave. Because the police had not read him his rights he cannot be tried for her murder. That cannot be right.

Also how can he the defence lawyer have any integrity when he unsuccessfully attempted to
prevent Chris Halliwell from standing trial for Sian Callaghan's murder? The lawyer also tried unsuccessfully to argue that there was no sexual motive for the murder, this was overturned as the judge concluded that bite marks on the nipples and cutting Sian's underwear at the crotch and buttock areas demonstrated that there was indeed a sexual
motive for the murder.

I understand that the Lawyers job is to represent the accused but surely that doesn't extend to helping someone get away with murder? We all know that he killed both women.

This case makes me feel sick and I think that the judicial system needs a desperate overhaul.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 23-Oct-12 10:58:40

The test for murder is that it has to be beyond reasonable doubt and, like every other defendant, Halliwell was innocent until proven guilty. Every defence lawyer tries to create doubt by challenging the evidence. It is not their job to prejudge their client. The prosecution team has to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. The fact that Halliwell was convicted means that the evidence was sound & justice was done. The police error needs to be reviewed but I understand the cicumstances meant that they were not expecting either the confession or to be led to a grave. He will serve a life sentence so he's only 'scot free' on paper.

whistlestopcafe Tue 23-Oct-12 11:07:58

He still will only serve time for the one murder which must be hard for the family to take.

When a person is arrested or charged with murder what happens? Does their lawyer ask them outright whether they committed the crime? I'm just trying to piece together what happened after Chris Halliwell confessed to the police.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 23-Oct-12 12:27:49

The police in the first instance try to establish that there is enough evidence to show they commited the crime and try to get a confession. If the accused pleads innocence then they are saying that they didn't do it. Whoever is defending them has to run with their client's version of events, obviously pointing out any inconsistencies along the way. If the client ends up saying 'I did it' their lawyer will suggest they change their plea but they can't demand a client does something against their will. The wrinkle in this case is that the man confessed to both murders when he hadn't been cautioned and didn't have a lawyer present. As he doesn't seem to have repeated the confession about the earlier murder when under caution and as there was no corroborating evidence, there was no choice but to drop the charge.

whistlestopcafe Tue 23-Oct-12 12:40:34

Thanks for explaining Cogito.

It must be so frustrating and sad for the family and the police. The police were obviously in the wrong to handle it in the way that they did yet I can understand why they they didn't follow protocol. If they had taken CH straight to the police station it is unlikely that either of the women would have been found and Becky Godden's disappearance would not have been resolved. It does still make me feel very uncomfortable though.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 23-Oct-12 14:22:04

The law is there as much to protect the innocent as it is to punish the guilty. There have to be rules or there would be far more miscarriages of justice than there already are. The police on this occasion took a calculated risk which went partially wrong... although the mother of Becky Godden has expressed her gratitude to the officer in charge for at least finding the remains, even if there was no conviction. In the Welsh child kidnap case the police took a similarly calculated risk in going so public with information about the man that was subsequently charged - presumably in an effort to find the child alive. When it comes to court I'm sure it will be argued that this publicity prejudices the chances of a fair trial.

whistlestopcafe Tue 23-Oct-12 16:03:49

I was just reading today's report in The Times. It states:

"Mr Fulcher (Detective) feared that if a solicitor advised Halliwell not to co-operate, the identity of the victim and location of her body would never be known."

I'm obviously naive because I would not have expected a solicitor to advise their client not to co-operate with the police in such circumstances. If it had not been for the presence of Sian's blood in Chris Halliwell's taxi he would most likely have not been tried for Sian's murder because of the way that the police conducted the case. It makes it all seem like a game.

KatieScarlett2833 Fri 26-Oct-12 15:51:20

Her mother was interviewed yesterday on Ch 4 News.

My heart went out to her.

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