Trial collapses


because a witness swore on the wrong holy book

This is fucking unbelievable

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

51 thoughts on “Trial collapses

  1. ladysighs says:

    Is this a reliable source?

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  2. Either this is great satire or great, unbelievable, reality. Either way, I find it hilarious.

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    • makagutu says:

      I think it is real and I would love to be in this court

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      • Yes. It is legit, as others here have confirmed. And I agree with you, Mak, swearing on a book not to lie, or on your mother’s grave, in no way convinces me you’re not going to lie any way. It should just be assumed you’re not suppose to lie in court, and if you do, and get caught, it’s perjury. Swearing on books affects a lie neither way.

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  3. john zande says:

    Unbelievable. I’m speechless.

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  4. OK I’m going to dissent here. It would be interesting to hear Sirius’s take on this.

    But, regardless of what we think, everyone has to swear in court to tell the truth. And, if you don’t swear on your own word, or the word of whatever fairy tale compendium you believe in, then it’s a procedural error.

    Now, whether or not it’s duplicitous to swear on the bible if you are an atheist or a Muslim is another matter. Perhaps they could be accused of perjury. Perhaps judges/magistrates should have to start to ask people if they have a religion, if so, what is it, and handle it accordingly. Back when I was court reporting, it was either the bible or affirming. Most of the crims were white, probably nominally Catholics.

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    • makagutu says:

      I am of the view that oaths are useless. If a guy is going to say the truth, the oath is not going to improve his truth and if am going to lie, taking an oath doesn’t improve my lie. I know lawyers may disagree

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      • I totally agree with that, mostly. I would have no qualms lying on an oath taken on the bible or whatever. I would struggle to lie if I gave my word.
        But yes, people who are going to lie will lie whatsoever.
        The issue here is about procedure. Had I been running that court, I would have done the same. It’s how the system works. If someone swears on the bible and later says he’s muslim, his evidence is invalid.
        It may be wrong and illogical but it’s the law. At least it isn’t sharia law.

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        • makagutu says:

          No wonder someone penned the sentence the law is an ass.
          If they decide to do a retrial and he repeats the same but now having taken the oath using a Koran, do is it become truer?

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          • His word would be regarded as being true. If not, and it was proven to be lies, then he could be charged with perjury.

            But I’m no lawyer! Nearly studied it but went for history, although ended up studying it for journalism anyway.

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          • makagutu says:

            as it is, i think you would still make a good one.
            in architecture school we study law of torts and contract law to be a little familiar with issues of law.

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          • Yeah, but I’m not retraining now.

            I’ve been a company secretary and in charge of implementation of government directives and knew the HSWA backwards at one point.

            As chair of our block management committee, the legal onus falls on me. I spent a few hours the other day, composing a brief reply to someone, making sure I had all eventualities tied down.

            Today, I’ve just done an update on a quotation as the client has asked for extras and paid some monies in advance for materials.

            I like things to be clear.

            And, I would still have stopped the case! No option.

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          • makagutu says:

            I, on the other hand, would have ignored that small technicality, I think.

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    • Doobster418 says:

      I have never been called upon to testify in a court of law. But if I were to be called upon to do so, I would refuse to place my hand on a Bible and I would refuse to utter the words, “So help me God.” I would certainly pledge to tell the truth, but doing so on some alleged holy book and swearing to tell the truth in the name of a make believe deity is something I would not do. Even if it meant being held in contempt of court.

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      • You wouldn’t be held in contempt of court. That’s the point of the option to affirm. Always assuming you have that in America!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Doobster418 says:

          I would hope wouldn’t be held in contempt, but I have yet to see anyone refuse to swear on the Bible and to God that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Having said that, almost all of my criminal courtroom experience is what I see on TV, so I could be wrong.

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          • I can’t speak for America. I have seen the odd one or two affirm in the UK. There are/were simple cards that the witness/defendant chooses to read from. For a bible, they put their hand on it and swear an oath. For an affirmation, they speak the appropriate words. Both cards are/were available in the witness box and usually administered by a court clerk. Can’t remember if an affirmed had to hold their hand in the air, a bit like admitting to present on a school register.

            Homework: get down to your local court and watch and report back 😀

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          • Doobster418 says:

            My understanding is that witnesses in American courts do not have to take a religious oath and can instead simply testify on pain of perjury. It’s up to judges to decide what passes for an oath. But I have never heard of an instant where that has happened. And given that only around 2% of Americans admit to being atheists, it would probably require many hours of sitting in a courtroom and watching witnesses being sworn in before I would see something like that happen. Maybe once I retire, I will take you up on your homework assignment.

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          • Barry says:

            I have refused to swear an oath on several occasions. Once when doing jury service, once when appearing as a witness in a trial, and on several occasions when appearing before other tribunals. In all cases a simple affirmation was all that was required. When I was on jury service four of the twelve jurists affirmed instead of swearing. Quite common in NZ.

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          • Doobster418 says:

            Not very common here in the US…at least not that I’m aware of.

            Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        I have never been called as a witness too though I have been on the dock as a defendant for a traffic offence but I didn’t have to take any oaths.
        I don’t know what happens in the courts here but I guess they use bibles mainly and Koran for the muslims

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      • Well, phone books are becoming quite rare, but what about the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ron says:

    Hmmm…

    He promised to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” with his hand placed on an anthology of lies, myths and superstitions that specifically forbids the swearing of oaths.

    How could that have gone so horribly wrong?

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  6. aguywithoutboxers says:

    I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before now! We’re too obsessed with technicalities!

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    • makagutu says:

      that is the law

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, a lot of people do think so, but then again, it’s the technicalities that protect the innocent. If the government didn’t have to actually really prove you did something, well, maybe you didn’t? As for giving the person the wrong book, maybe we Americans anyway, should get rid of the whole swearing on a book thing and just affirm that we know we must tell the truth under penalty of law. Back to that separation of Church and State thing?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Because swearing on ‘holy’ books takes away someone’s ability to lie. That’s never been proven wrong. /sarcasm

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  8. nannus says:

    Oh boy, are we supposed to laugh or to cry here?

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  9. We are a nicely mixed up international bunch, most delightful! I have a question then, are there countries where you HAVE to swear on a Bible? or, for that matter, a Quran? I don’t think any of the other religions have holy books that they would use that way.

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