The big story hitting the headlines here is the recall to custody of Jon Venables. At the age of 10 Jon Venables, along with his friend Robert Thompson, abducted and murdered James Bulger. James Bulger was just two at the time he was killed.
In 2001, at aged 18, Jon Venables was released from Prison on licence. He was given a brand new identity to protect him from vigilantism. As you can imagine, the public’s hatred towards Venables was great at the time of the murder and has not really subsided much.
Venables has been recalled to custody and the mother of James Bulger and the wider public are demanding to know why Venables has been recalled to custody. However, the Government have refused to release any information other than that Venables has been recalled due to serious allegations.
There are several reasons given by the Government as to why they are not releasing the reasons behind Venables’ recall to custody, all of which I whole heartedly agree with. Venables’ new identity is still secret, as far as we know. However, it has been suggested that an investigation was underway as to whether this was the case or not. It costs the public an enormous amount of money to create a new identity for someone. Assuming Venables is found guilty is it likely that he will be released from prison again and allowing Venables’ identity to be known will mean that, should it be decided he is still at significant risk of vigilantism, a further identity will need to be created – at the tax payers cost. Now, as abhorrent as his crime was, he is entitled to face the same due process as everyone else and for the state to ensure his safety. We cannot have a situation where people are allowed to administer their own kind of “justice”. Further to this, Venables still has to be charged and then prosecuted for these offences. It is imperative to ensure the integrity of the justice system is upheld that nothing prejudices the jury in any future trial. The knowledge that they are looking at the person who killed James Bulger might prejudice them and impair the ability for the court to ensure that Venables has a fair trial – a right afforded to him under UK and Intentional Law. Simply because he has been convicted of a heinous crime in the past does not mean that his rights are no longer valid. Human Rights are universal and only are rights if they are universal.
It is also in the interest of the public to ensure that he has a fair trial. Any hint of there not having been a fair trial could mean that any resulting conviction be deemed unsafe. The effect of this would mean that Venables does not face justice for any crimes that he may have committed resulting in his recall to custody. Also, any families affected by Venables’ alleged crimes would not see justice as having been done.
These are of course reasons as to why the public should not have the information released to them. Why, then should the family of James Bulger not have this information released to them? Well, quite simple really: the more people who know, the more likely it is to make it into the public domain.