As I celebrated the release of Sgt Nightingale from Colchester Prison on Thursday afternoon, it struck me that sometimes (but only sometimes), the rusty wheels of the legal process can be made to run a bit faster. It was quite clear that Sgt Nightingale's sentence was much too harsh, given that the civilian police didn't wish to press charges and there was no evidence at all of criminal intent. Despite the predictable stonewalling of the creepy Attorney General, (the aptly-named Mr Grieve), a Court of Appeal was quickly assembled and a verdict reached. I hope and expect that he will clear his name. (See this, from his SAS Lt Col commander - why would the colonel, a high-flier, put his own career at risk if what he says is not completely true?)
Essex Police received a criminal complaint against Mr Huhne (remember him?) in May 2011. NINE MONTHS later the Director of Public Prosecutions decided there was sufficient evidence to bring charges. ELEVEN MONTHS after that decision, the case is due to be heard, in January.
Huhne exercised his right to remain silent when questioned by the police. He has not entered a plea so far, arguing that he means to have the indictment quashed. Just as I was setting up my deckchair beside the
I have to say I just don't get it. This is not a tricky fraud investigation or an argument over contract law. The charge is straightforward and is admitted by one of the two people charged - mitigated, she says, by marital coercion. Why would a case such as this take so long to be adequately investigated and heard in court? Is it something to do with the fact that this LibDem joker became a Cabinet Minister? Is it something to do with delaying yet more bad news for the LibDems in order to keep the Coalition limping along a bit longer?
We'll know soon enough. And when the verdict is given, I hope we'll be told exactly why this has all taken so long. If the law is to be respected it must be transparent. My bet is that we won't be told.